Proposed quarry raises smoke

If council allows a concrete plant and quarry near McLean Lake, air quality and residential property values will suffer, council heard Tuesday.

If council allows a concrete plant and quarry near McLean Lake, air quality and residential property values will suffer, council heard Tuesday.

But councillors Doug Graham and Dave Stockdale criticized that assessment, challenging two men’s opposition to the quarry.

Though the longstanding fight appears to be in its final rounds, the opposition isn’t giving up.

“There are still some clear substantive issues to be addressed before we can consider rezoning,” said resident Bob Kuiper, as he argued against the nearly 20-year-old quarry application by Ron Newsome, owner of Territorial Contracting.

Newsome wants a 14-hectare parcel of land near McLean Lake to use as a quarry and concrete plant.

This recent application has taken four years.

Now, council is close to rezoning the land, which would allow Newsome’s project to proceed.

Kuiper is determined to fight that momentum.

“We have issues of air pollution, potential noise and visibility,” he said, pointing to the proposed Beyond Copper Ridge subdivision in the Whitehorse official community plan, and its proximity to the proposed quarry.

Kuiper used a hand-drawn map to illustrate that the proposed site is too close to the planned subdivision, and that “prevailing winds” will carry air pollution from the site into it.

More than 2,000 lots are proposed in the subdivision. With an average house value of $250,000, the development could see total property values exceed $500 million, said Kuiper.

After discussions with real estate agents, the planned quarry and concrete plant could drastically impact property values, he said.

“Council needs to consider those types of things very, very carefully,” said Kuiper.

He pushed for a “charette-like” forum to take place before council makes a decision on the rezoning application.

To anchor his argument, Kuiper displayed a photograph of Robert Service Way taken from Riverdale, illustrating air pollution from what he called a “similar operation” at Ear Lake.

That got Graham riled.

“What we’re approving is a concrete batch plant,” said Graham. “We’re not approving anything else. I have never seen a concrete batch plant that produced smoke like anything in that picture right there.

“There isn’t a batch plant on this planet that spews smoke into the air,” said Graham later in the evening, as council prepared to vote on a motion to carry the matter forward.

“That’s almost manipulation that you should be above,” he said to Kuiper.

The Beyond Copper Ridge subdivision has yet to be built and might not be, making the arguments about property values an exercise in speculation, said Stockdale.

“We’re not compelled to follow it,” he said of the community plan.

“This is nitpicking.”

And Stockdale had little time for Kuiper’s arguments that due process hasn’t been followed on the rezoning application.

“We’ve had plenty of public opportunities to be involved, and nobody’s been involved,” he said.

Newsome told council a quick decision on the rezoning is crucial for his business.

“It’s critical now because the opportunity is there,” he said. “It will move my business in the right direction by getting a new location and doing a proper development.”

“We’ve been waiting quite a while following the process,” said Newsome.

Asked about potential air pollution after council adjourned, Newsome added: “We don’t have a dust problem right now (at the current Ear Lake quarry), and we’re going to have less of a dust problem (at the proposed McLean Lake site).”

In March, council passed a new zoning bylaw.

That bylaw originally contained the McLean Lake rezoning proposal, but after it became contentious, the matter was removed for further review.

Council hired Gartner Lee to examine whether the correct process for the rezoning application had been followed, and the study found, indeed, that it had.

The motion to bring the McLean Lake rezoning application forward passed unanimously on Tuesday.

Notification of public discussions will now be sent out for hearings in December before the proposal can receive second and third reading, said city administrator Rob Fendrick.

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP concludes investigation into fatal Haines Junction ambulance crash

RCMP spokesperson confirms no charges are being laid

Kaska Dena Council not a rights-bearing group, YG argues in hunting consultation lawsuit

KDC says the Yukon government has the duty to consult before issuing hunting licences for Kaska traditional territory

Yukon COs kill 3 bears attracted to ‘waste’ stored at Whitehorse junkyard

‘If it can smell like food (a bear is) on it, and it’s happening all over the place.’

YG bars Dawson City’s retired dentist from providing emergency services

Government can’t get its story straight over why Helmut Schoener can’t use hospital dental suite

Jessica Frotten captures 4 medals at Canadian Track and Field Championships

‘I’ve had such amazing support system, that’s number one’

Whitehorse dressage show a competition for all ages

‘It’s about being one with your horse and working as a team and celebrating the harmony’

Dawson regional land use planning commission to be restored by fall

Plans were suspended while the Peel planning commission case worked its way through the courts

Great Northern Tournament returns for fourth medieval combat event

‘Every year it grows a little more and we get a little better at it’

Chilkat Challenge Triathlon holds second race

Dozens of racers paddled, biked and ran from Mosquito Lake to Chilkat State Park

YESAB report urges traffic lights at Alaska Highway intersection

Lower speed limits suggested ahead of new gas station construction

Yukon government denies it owes substitute teachers unpaid wages

The Department of Education filed responses July 5 to five lawsuits launched against it by substitute teachers

Some women won the marriage lottery in the Klondike

Others did not fare so well in love

Most Read