A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting an upcoming public hearing on Nov. 23 ahead of second reading on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)

Public hearing set on re-designating Whistle Bend area C

OCP designation passes first reading

Residents will be able, until Nov. 23, to let the City of Whitehorse know their thoughts on a proposed change to the Official Community Plan that would designate a 56.3-hectare section of land for future residential use in Whistle Bend.

Whitehorse city council passed first reading on a bylaw for the designation change at its Oct. 26 meeting, prompting the upcoming public hearing ahead of second reading.

Public hearing submissions can be emailed to the city at publicinput@whitehorse.ca. They will then be published on the city’s website.

The Whistle Bend site — known as area C — is currently designated as green space in the OCP and is one of three areas identified for future planning beyond the initial seven phases of the neighbourhood.

While the other two future areas — A and B — are already designated in the OCP for urban residential use, area C’s green space designation requires a change to urban residential before development can happen.

A land use plan that was included in an earlier report to council showed lower-density development — single-detached and duplex homes — are primarily envisioned for the area with some sections that would be used for higher-density housing such as townhouses and apartments. A park is also proposed with a greenbelt that would wrap around most of area C.

As the city looks at the three future development sites for Whistle Bend, area C is expected to be developed following Phase 7 of the neighbourhood. Development of the other two areas would follow.

“Priority was given to this area over areas A and B for many reasons, including infrastructure cost and cost recovery potential, complexity of the project and impacts on the neighbourhood,” planning manager Mélodie Simard told council at an earlier meeting.

The Yukon government anticipates moving to detailed engineering of the area in early 2021.

“Per council’s 2020 housing strategic priority, the city has committed to continue to work with YG to help residents attain housing. Whistle Bend remains the city’s main growth,” Simard said.

While the city is currently rewriting the OCP, this specific designation change is coming forward on its own to ensure lots be available as soon as possible.

Following Nov. 23, an administrative report will be presented to council on Nov. 30, ahead of second reading on Dec. 7.

With a required ministerial review that can take up to 45 days, it’s expected third reading would not come forward until about Feb. 8, 2021.

Answering questions posed by Coun. Laura Cabott ahead of the vote on first reading, Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, said detailed geotechnical work of the site will be done following the OCP change, ahead of any zoning coming forward.

As he noted, the OCP change needs to happen before the Yukon government, which is developing Whistle Bend, does more to progress the plans for the area.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council

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