No takers on Whistle Bend lottery

A lottery for Whistle Bend lots was cancelled this week because no one was interested. "It's not terribly surprising that the turnout was low," said Mike Gau, the city's director of development services.

A lottery for Whistle Bend lots was cancelled this week because no one was interested.

“It’s not terribly surprising that the turnout was low,” said Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services. But he was surprised to see that there was no interest at all, he said.

“As everyone knows, mining and the economy is down quite a bit. So is building activity.”

The time of year could also have factored in, he said.

“It makes sense that builders aren’t sitting on land over the winter.”

But this is a good news story, said Gau, because the Yukon government has finally met its goal of having a two-year supply of lots ready for development.

“What happened with our shortage is, it was a bit of a perfect storm with mortgage rates going so low, with a population spike, economy spike. We had some developments not approved and we found ourselves in a shortage in a very short period of time. And we don’t want to be there again.”

The lots will be available over the counter as of Monday through the territory’s lands branch.

More than 150 lots from the second phase will join those that have yet to be sold from the first. As of last month, 71 lots from the earlier phase had yet to be sold.

Sandy Silver, interim leader of the Yukon Liberal Party, said he is happy to see a supply of lots for the territory.

“At least there is a stockpile now, which is a lot better than where we were two years ago,” he said.

But ultimately the government needs to get out of the business of lot development and leave it to the professionals, said Silver.

“It’s too bad that the government is content to be a major player in lot development. It’s too bad that they couldn’t see the justification of seeing private sector develop these lots. I think that it would be a lot quicker coming out … and also a lot more cost effective.”

He wondered if disputes with contractors over the development have inflated the price tags for the lots.

“A lot of these prices, they’re going to be bogged down with bureaucracy and with lawsuits,” said Silver.

Lots for single family homes are going for an average of $130,459.

The government will say that the lots are at or below market value, but that argument has no meaning when the government is a major developer that effectively sets the market value, he said.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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