A map detailing the 4.5-hectare area in Whitehorse Copper that is being considered by Whitehorse city council for rezoning from a heavy industrial zone to a service industrial one. During a public hearing on the rezoning held at Whitehorse city council’s July 27 meeting, most people spoke in favour of the rezoning. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

More than a dozen speak out on zoning change

Nearly all express support for Pelly Construction’s plans

Pelly Construction’s plans for the rezoning of its Whitehorse Copper lot and eventual move there have drawn comments from both the business community and individuals, with most stating their support.

A public hearing on the rezoning was held at Whitehorse city council’s July 27 meeting. While in-person presentations are not currently happening for public hearings due to COVID-19, written submissions are being accepted with the city receiving 14 in this case. Only two expressed outright opposition to the change with another highlighting concerns around traffic impacts. The remaining 11 favoured the plans.

The rezoning would see the 4.5-hectare lot change from a Heavy Industrial to Service Industrial lot, thus allowing Pelly Construction to move all operations to the site. There it plans to build a 9,204 square foot, three-storey building that would be home to 13 office spaces used by 18 employees. Also planned for the property is the construction of a shop with a washbay that would be used by four employees.

The proposed rezoning would also see a roadway in the northeast corner of the lot retired with the zoning changed from Greenbelt to Service Industrial.

Support for the project came largely from the business community and included one submission from company president Keith Byrom who outlined the plans and another from partner Jennifer Byrom, who also pointed out the family lives next door to the site and therefore she said she is also speaking as a resident.

“My residential property borders the north side of lot 287,” she wrote. “The office will be closer to my residential property then any other. I know that the office building will not deter from the enjoyment of my property.”

She went on to argue the Pelly’s property was zoned for heavy industrial use prior to the Whitehorse Copper neighbourhood being built. It’s her belief that heavy industrial uses such as asphalt/concrete plants, land treatment facilities or natural resource extraction no longer fit with the neighbourhood.

Others in support of the plan highlighted Pelly’s role in the local economy as a long-time business and noted other nearby service industrial areas in McCrae.

“This zoning change will permit the company to keep their operations consolidated so that their offices and repair facility are at the same location,” Jim Cleaver of Lucky 13 Enterprises wrote. “McCrae has long been, and continues to be, an industrial area and this plan by Pelly is consistent with other businesses and usage in the area.”

Cleaver was one of many business owners to write in support with some nearby residents also stating they had no issue with the plans.

As Kelli Taylor and Shawn McLeod, who own property across from the lot stated in their comments: “Over the years, we have not had any issues with noise or disturbances and don’t anticipate any with the construction of an office.”

Meanwhile the three who took issue with the rezoning focused largely on potential traffic impacts.

“Was there a study done to review the impact on traffic,” Michele Campbell questioned. “From the proposed site, they’ll be going onto the Alaska Highway on a blind corner. Will it involve the city putting in a traffic light? Will the highway be upgraded, as it was at the golf course, just down the road? If so, who will pay for the costs? Lastly, how will this affect the widening of the Alaska Highway? The parcel of land seems very close to the highway.”

Along with traffic, Gail Weeks, who also lives in the area, cited noise, potential impacts on the ground water supply, loss of privacy and the change in landscape that she noted will come with the building of a three-storey structure.

A public hearing report is scheduled to come forward Aug. 3 ahead of second and third reading expected Aug. 10.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council