The proposed rezoning of a heavy industrial lot in Whitehorse Copper will be the focus of a July 27 public hearing.
At its June 29 meeting, Whitehorse city council passed first reading of the bylaw to rezone a 4.5-hectare lot from Heavy Industrial to Service Industrial.
The change would allow Pelly Construction to move its operations to the site and build a 9,204 square foot three-storey building that will be home to 13 office spaces used by 18 employees. A shop with a washbay is also planned to be built on the property that would be used by about four employees.
As part of the rezoning, a roadway at the northeast corner of the lot that is set to be retired is also proposed to be zoned from Greenbelt to Service Industrial.
In passing first reading of the rezoning bylaw, council moved it forward to the public hearing before second and third reading.
While council was unanimous in passing first reading, Coun. Laura Cabott voiced concerns ahead of the vote over the compatibility of office space in an area of town that is primarily zoned for heavy industrial uses like asphalt plants, fuel depots and the like.
“It seems to me it’s not compatible with offices,” she said.
She went on to highlight the work that goes into zoning various areas of the city and grouping different uses together, noting her thoughts that office buildings should primarily be in the downtown.
“This is contemplating something quite significant and I think, you know, the way that our zoning has worked, those types of activities are downtown,” she said. “They help with our vibrancy.”
She questioned staff on the type of heavy industrial use happening in Whitehorse Copper, whether there are other office buildings and what the maximum number of offices would be. City staff said they didn’t have that information readily available, but would get it to council.
Coun. Dan Boyd, meanwhile, spoke in favour of the change, pointing to the history of heavy industrial use in the area going back to the days of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway in the area. He noted the proposed Service Industrial use would be less intrusive than the current zoning and pointed out Pelly has been using the site to store equipment for years.
“I think the inclusion of office space to go with that business, to me is, it’s not a reach, it makes sense,” Boyd said, later noting that the building will be on a large property.
Other industrial businesses have office space and Pelly is a long-established, reputable business that’s also a major employer in the community, he said.
Coun. Samson Hartland also voiced his support for moving ahead with the rezoning before council voted in favour of first reading.
Written submissions to the public hearing can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to COVID-19, only written submissions are being accepted to public hearings. They will be published to the city’s website and considered in a public hearing report that will go to council ahead of second and third reading coming forward on Aug. 10.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com