Residents huff over Hillcrest townhouse plans

It seems almost every development in Whitehorse meets with some kind of opposition, and a proposed townhouse complex in Hillcrest is no exception. About 20 people showed up at city council's Tuesday night meeting.

It seems almost every development in Whitehorse meets with some kind of opposition, and a proposed townhouse complex in Hillcrest is no exception.

About 20 people showed up at city council’s Tuesday night meeting to voice opposition to the proposed development.

Kirn Dhillon, whose parents own the property, explained they want to tear down their Steelox buildings – prefabricated housing built by the Royal Canadian Air Force in the 1950s – and replace them with up to eight new townhouses.

“The vision for the project comes from the (Official Community Plan),” said Dhillon.

The 10 metre, high-density, energy-efficient buildings would be partially powered by solar panels on the roof.

Trying to repair the existing buildings just isn’t feasible, said Dhillon, whose parents have owned the rental properties for almost 30 years.

“A lot of these things just can’t be addressed through renovations,” he said.

The cost to heat them in the winter is astronomical, he added.

Increasing the density of Hillcrest would increase the tax base. That could help finance much-needed infrastructure improvements in the neighbourhood, said Dhillon.

But not everyone is so enthused about the project.

“I’m not opposed to townhouses or increased density, but doubling the density is too much and three storeys is too tall,” said Jim Gilpin, whose property backs on to the proposed development.

Others worry that this development would set a precedent for the neighbourhood, which is mostly made up of single-storey homes.

“Although it’s in my backyard, it’s not just about my backyard, said Laura Gilpin.

City council candidate Cam Kos was more concerned about the loss of yet another rental property in the city. He repeated his calls for a ban on condo developments that come at the expense of rental units.

The Dhillons own other rental properties in town, but the ones they own in Hillcrest are simply too far gone to remain viable, said Dhillon.

“This isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme for my parents,” he said.

After his presentation, Dhillon spent more than an hour talking to residents outside the chamber, trying to allay their concerns.

He insisted that the proposal he presented was the maximum and there was a good chance that the buildings could end up being smaller as the project goes through more detailed design.

“We’ve been very open about this,” he said.

Emotions ran high, and no one seemed convinced by Dhillon’s explanation.

While the people that showed up Tuesday night were all opposed to the development, Dhillon said he has received letters in support of the project.

A public hearing on the development is scheduled for next week.

Contact Josh Kerr at

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

Just Posted

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 will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision


Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read