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More planning needed for McIntyre Creek

Any McIntyre Creek development must be better designed, say critics who oppose the city's plan to build a residential subdivision in the area.

Any McIntyre Creek development must be better designed, say critics who oppose the city’s plan to build a residential subdivision in the area.

The Porter Creek expansion, better known as Porter Creek D, won’t be developed until the Whistle Bend subdivision has filled up - as far as 20 years down the road.

But residents are worried the area, referred to as “the last remaining old-growth centre in the city,” by one resident, will be prematurely carved out for future development.

About 70 people attended council Monday evening to comment on the second draft of the city’s 2010 Official Community Plan.

In it, a backwards L-shaped section of land abutting McIntyre Creek has been marked as a ‘designated development area’ by city planners.

The Yukon College endowment lands have also been set aside for development.

The city is being too hasty, said Porter Creek association president Jeff Marynowski.

“Any decision in this OCP will impact future generations,” he said. “We need to take the time to get this right now.”

Marynowski, and others urged the city to designate the land “future planning” instead.

And there should be more effort to protect wildlife that passes through the McIntyre Creek area, they said.

Bears and moose use the area as a wildlife corridor and they could turn into a problem if their route is blocked by homes.

“Right now, bears move through there silently; they’re never in the news,” said one resident. The bears will be searching through people’s garbage cans and peeking in their windows if people are living in Porter Creek D and in the parcel of ATCO-owned land near Raven’s Ridge also slated for residential development.

John Carney, president of the Yukon Fish and Game association, is worried Copper Haul Road, used mostly for recreation, could become a busy, arterial road for future housing properties.

There’s a conflict between the city encouraging McIntyre Creek to be a recreation and wildlife viewing area as well as a residential area, he pointed out. In a decision that would appears seemingly at odds, the city simultaneously proposed a subdivision and a 3,700-hectare protected McIntyre Creek park in the 2010 Official Community Plan

The city should be calling on experts like Ducks Unlimited, the Department of Environment and Yukon College scientists to study the area to see how development may affect it, said Friends of McIntyre Creek president Dorothy Bradley.

A subdivision might work in McIntyre Creek if the shape and size of the development were reconfigured, she said. But the city should keep McIntyre Creek open for discussion.

Contact Vivian Belik at