Mount Lorne residents oppose new subdivision

Despite a new pitch from the territorial government, residents of Mount Lorne are still firmly against developing the McGowan lands into a country residential subdivision.

Despite a new pitch from the territorial government, residents of Mount Lorne are still firmly against developing the McGowan lands into a country residential subdivision.

That’s according to 35 comments submitted by residents to the government following a public consultation held in November.

The comments were posted on the hamlet’s website at the beginning of March.

“The proposed McGowan subdivision is a disaster for both residents and wildlife, their corridors and their habitat, within the Cowley, Aspen and Kookatsoon Lakes watersheds and surrounding areas,” wrote one resident who has lived in the area for 43 years.

“My impression, as a long-time Yukoner, is that individuals and families that would enjoy a rural lifestyle want to have the space and silence to enjoy what that offers and not to be crammed into yet another rural residential subdivision,” wrote another. Since 2005, the territorial government has made efforts to develop the McGowan lands, an area south of Cowley Creek, in the northwest portion of Mount Lorne.

In 2010, it presented the hamlet with a technical feasibility study that suggested building between 70 and 140 lots on the land.

But many residents were concerned the project went against the hamlet’s local area plan, which states there cannot be any rural residential subdivision in Mount Lorne.

So they asked the government to review its study, and almost five years later it has come back with a new proposal.

It includes the options of a ‘loop’ concept or a ‘pod’ concept.

The loop concept would yield between 90 and 95 country residential lots at 1.5 to 2.5 hectares in size, and 12 to 14 agriculture lots. The loop road layout, safer than having multiple cul-de-sacs, would be the less expensive option to build.

The pod concept would have a bigger footprint to accommodate larger agriculture lots, while yielding between 80 to 85 country residential lots at one to two hectares each. The cul-de-sacs would provide more open spaces between the pods but the concept would be more costly to build and maintain.

Al Foster, deputy chair of the Mount Lorne advisory council, said the new proposal still isn’t what the community wants.

“Our local area plan is out of date and we’ve been asking for a review, which was supposed to happen every five years,” he said.

“That hasn’t happened yet. As far as meeting the principles of the local area plan, (the proposal) is way out in left field.”

In 2012, a government official said a review of the plan wasn’t practical at the time. That’s because the Carcross/Tagish First Nation had asked for a regional land use plan to be in place before local plans were reviewed.

Created in 1995, the local area plan set a minimum lot size of six hectares in Mount Lorne, while the government wants to reduce that to one hectare for the McGowan subdivision.

Judging from the comments on the hamlet’s website, residents are concerned about the impact that would have on the community.

“That could potentially mean having a dog kennel on every one hectare lot,” Foster said, adding there’s already a high concentration of dog kennels in the hamlet.

The main migration route for the southern lakes caribou herd would be affected, too.

Other concerns include the average pricing for a McGowan lot – about $120,000, which would put it out of reach for most young people, he added.

But residents understand there’s a need for new people in Mount Lorne, where the population is about 410, Foster said.

The local area plan included the development of eight new lots per year, to assure a steady but not overwhelming population growth.

The government has never developed those lots, Foster said.

And now, he said he doesn’t know what the future holds.

A court case has interrupted the process for the time being.

A Yukon miner with active claims in Mount Lorne recently sued the territorial government because it wouldn’t give him permission to mine his claims.

Foster said he hasn’t heard back from the land planning department about what its next step would be, but it’s his understanding the government would have to wait for a court decision first, he said.

Contact Myles Dolphin at myles@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Maria Metzen off the start line of the Yukon Dog Mushers Association’s sled dog race on Jan. 9. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Mushers race in preparation for FirstMate Babe Southwick

The annual race is set for Feb. 12 and 13.

The Yukon government is making changes to the medical travel system, including doubling the per diem and making destinations for medical services more flexible. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Subsidy for medical travel doubled with more supports coming

The change was recommended in the Putting People First report endorsed by the government

Chloe Sergerie, who was fined $500 under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> on Jan. 12, says she made the safest choice available to her when she entered the territory. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Woman fined $500 under CEMA says she made ‘safest decision’ available

Filling out a declaration at the airport was contrary to self-isolation, says accused

The Yukon Department of Education building in Whitehorse on Dec. 22, 2020. Advocates are calling on the Department of Education to reverse their redefinition of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) that led to 138 students losing the program this year. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
Advocates call redefinition of IEPs “hugely concerning,” call for reversal

At least 138 students were moved off the learning plans this year

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Yukoner Shirley Chua-Tan is taking on the role of vice-chair of the social inclusion working group with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences’ oversight panel and working groups for the autism assessment. (Submitted)
Canadian Academy of Health Sciences names Yukoner to panel

Shirley Chua-Tan is well-known for a number of roles she plays in… Continue reading

The Fish Lake area viewed from the top of Haeckel Hill on Sept. 11, 2018. The Yukon government and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced they are in the beginning stages of a local area planning process for the area. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Local area planning for Fish Lake announced

The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) announced in… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Fire damage, photographed on Jan. 11, to a downtown apartment building which occurred late in the evening on Jan. 8. Zander Firth, 20, from Inuvik, was charged with the arson and is facing several other charges following his Jan. 12 court appearance. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
More charges for arson suspect

The Inuvik man charged in relation to the fire at Ryder Apartments… Continue reading

The grace period for the new Yukon lobbyist registry has come to an end and those who seek to influence politicians will now need to report their efforts to a public database. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Grace period for new lobbyist registry ends

So far nine lobbyists have registered their activities with politicians in the territory

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21, 2020. Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to help recover from losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Details released on relief funding for tourism and culture non-profits

Some Yukon tourism and culture non-profit organizations may be eligible to receive… Continue reading

Most Read