Whitehorse city councillors were surprised by the price of two new lots the city is putting up for sale in Mary Lake.
The lots, located on Fireweed Drive, measure 1.36 and 1.38 hectares. Both were valued at $230,000 through market appraisal.
The lots need servicing, including power and telecommunications, which requires an amendment to the capital budget of $250,000.
“I gotta admit I had a little bit of sticker shock when I saw the market price on these lots,” said Coun. Samson Hartland at council on March 19.
“I know when council approved the zoning amendments (in 2017 from non-residential to residential), it was under the auspices that we’d be creating more affordable housing into the marketplace,” said Hartland. “I get that there’s, you know, a movement within the market trajectory, people buying these lots to open up other properties, but still, at $230,000, I find that quite surprising.”
Coun. Betty Irwin said she was also shocked.
“Further down (the report) we have that this supports one of our strategic priorities for affordable housing and I’m sorry, I cannot see that this qualifies in any way for affordable housing,” said Irwin. “So I am really, really surprised at that, although I am delighted to see four lots come on the market. We need them.”
The report said that “disposition of these residential lots supports council’s strategic priorities for ‘planning for growth’ and ‘affordable housing.’ Not approving this bylaw will result in the residential development lots not being completed and the land being retained by the city.”
Coun. Roslyn Woodcock and Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu both said affordable housing was never the intention for these particular lots.
Curteanu said she was under the impression designation of the lots would give people the opportunity to move from existing homes into homes in Mary Lake, thereby freeing up more affordable housing options within town.
Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, told council the Mary Lake lots, as well as two lots in Arkell, on Sandpiper Drive, would be sold by public lottery.
The Arkell lots, which measure 663 square metres and 718 square metres, are valued at $127,300 and $137,900 respectively.
There are also potential lots on Talus Drive in Whitehorse Copper, though further study and design work need to be done before lot development is complete on that location.
Ross told council next steps with the Mary Lake and Arkell lots are capital budget amendment approval. Lots would then be serviced and a lottery would be held, likely in August, depending on servicing work.
That will come before council on March 26.
Contact Amy Kenny at firstname.lastname@example.org
This story has been corrected. It originally placed Talus Drive in the wrong subdivision.