Porter Creek D moves forward

Whitehorse has moved one step closer to developing the McIntyre Creek area. City council approved HB Lanarc's $419,617 contract to do the planning and pre-engineering work.

Whitehorse has moved one step closer to developing the McIntyre Creek area.

City council approved HB Lanarc’s $419,617 contract to do the planning and pre-engineering work for the Porter Creek D subdivision Monday.

Those plans include the subdivision, road and bridge that will span the creek connecting Pine Street to the Alaska Highway.

The council vote was split between the old guard and the new.

Mayor Bev Buckway joined councillors Dave Stockdale, Florence Roberts and Dave Austin in voting to go ahead with the planning process.

Councillors Kirk Cameron, Ranj Pillai and Betty Irwin voted no.

The approval came over the strenuous objections of several community and conservation groups, many of which packed the council chamber with supporters in a last-ditch effort to persuade the city to reconsider the plan.

More than 50 people showed up in a repeat of last week.

“I think that the issue here is that people are not trusting the planning process,” said Karen Baltgailis, the executive director of the Yukon Conservation Society, who also spoke as a representative of the Friends of McIntyre Creek.

“Discussion has been going on for years but our values are not showing up in the reports,” she said. “Every time we suggest something, we’re told it can’t be done.”

Delegate after delegate said they felt the consultation process was seriously flawed and that their concerns were falling on deaf ears.

“The feeling is that the planners are driving the process to a foregone conclusion,” said Noel Sinclair, president of the Takhini North Community Association.

“City planners are doing a good job getting information out, but I don’t think they take some values as seriously as others,” said Mike Tribes, who spoke on behalf of the Porter Creek Community Association. “It’s because of the lenses that they wear.”

All of those groups had been part of the Porter Creek D Working Group, which collapsed last month after the city released the results of a heavily criticized wildlife study of Middle McIntyre Creek.

In recognition of the perceived bias in the consultation process, Cameron put forward a motion to delay the vote until the end of January, so more discussion could take place.

Over the last couple of weeks, Cameron reached out to several of the groups in an effort to get them back at the table.

And while he won praise for his efforts, his motion was ultimately defeated.

“I don’t think that delaying the process will bring any new information to the table,” said Stockdale. “I think we’ve bashed this around long enough and we have to come to a resolution.”

After Cameron’s motion failed, Pillai tabled one of his own.

He called for the re-formation of an expanded working group and the appointment of an independent third party to work with both community groups and the designers to rework the terms of reference for the contract.

Taking another look at the terms of reference would be an inexpensive solution and go a long way towards combating the “trust deficit” that has plagued the process, said Pillai.

“There was a breakdown here,” he said. “But we’ve got everyone back to the table and they want to work.

“I don’t want to shut the door on anybody’s fingers.”

Not surprisingly, Cameron supported Pillai’s motion.

“The only way to go forward is to prove to the public that this is an unbiased process,” he said. “We have to build a process that people trust.”

But not everyone on council was so disillusioned with the process.

“The trust I have is in HB Lanarc,” said Roberts. “Just going for more consultation is not what’s needed here.”

Council was only deciding on whether or not to go ahead with planning, she said. It’s only the next phase of development and a final decision won’t be made for some time.

When it became obvious that Pillai’s motion wouldn’t have enough votes to pass, the public gallery started to clear out.

Many of the people were visibly upset as they left the chamber.

The final vote came as no surprise, four to three in favour of moving on to the next phase.

While planning will move ahead, the decision was a step backwards for the city, said Cameron.

“We had a chance to do something better and didn’t do it,” he said.

Contact Josh Kerr at


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

Just Posted

An avalanche warning sigh along the South Klondike Highway. Local avalanche safety instructors say interest in courses has risen during the pandemic as more Yukoners explore socially distanced outdoor activities. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)
Backcountry busy: COVID-19 has Yukoners heading for the hills

Stable conditions for avalanches have provided a grace period for backcountry newcomers

Several people enter the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 26. The Yukon government announced on Jan. 25 that residents of Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne areas 65 and older can now receive their vaccines. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Vaccine appointments available in Whitehorse for residents 65+

Yukoners 65 and older living in Whitehorse are now eligible to receive… Continue reading

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read