Petition stalled for legal review

Petitioners hoping to create a park around McLean Lake have hit a snag in city administration. The proposed McLean Lake park would surround the…

Petitioners hoping to create a park around McLean Lake have hit a snag in city administration.

The proposed McLean Lake park would surround the entire lake. Its boundary would be 500 metres from the lake’s high water mark.

The petition requires 2,000 signatures to force a referendum on the proposal.

A signature is needed from city administration in order to begin the 90-day period allowed to gather names.

On February 27, Marianne Darragh submitted a letter to Whitehorse director of administrative services Robert Fendrick, informing him of the petition.

However, Fendrick replied that the next step would be to submit the notice of petition for legal review.

He predicted the review could take up to a month to complete.

“I couldn’t understand why it would take over a month for lawyers to review such straightforward criteria,” wrote Darragh in a letter to Whitehorse media.

“And I couldn’t see a requirement for a legal review in the act or the bylaw.”

A release from the mayor’s office outlined three issues that may arise as a result of the petition.

There are three private properties and leases within the area identified for the park.

The legal review will also look into the wording of the petition question — whether its intent is clear enough for a simple yes or no answer.

Fendrick will not sign the notice of petition until the legal review has been completed.

The city expects to have the legal review completed by March 28, 2008.

The McLean Lake area has been under a great deal of legal scrutiny in the past couple of years.

In 2006, Territorial Contracting successfully applied to rezone 14 hectares of land beside the lake to allow for the development of a quarry and concrete batch plant.

A Yukon Environmental Assessment Act screening report on the proposal was completed the previous year and concluded that the project was not likely to cause significant adverse effects.

However, the McLean Lake Residents Association took the city and territory to court, arguing that detailed water testing was not completed.

This testing is required prior to gravel extraction under the Whitehorse Official Community Plan.

Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale ruled in favour of the residents and had the bylaw deemed not valid.

Territorial Contracting submitted a new application, this time requesting the rezoning of only four hectares to allow for the development of a batch plant.

Without the gravel quarry the application no longer required water testing and the bylaw was passed in November.

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