Yukon government wants more time to work on Phase 5 of Whistle Bend

A proposed street name could change

A little less than two years after the Whitehorse city council first approved the subdivision for Phase 5 of Whistle Bend, it is once again considering what the area will look like.

The proposed subdivision renewal was brought forward for council’s consideration at its Jan. 6 meeting.

Subdivision for Phase 5 of the neighborhood was originally approved Jan. 18, 2018 and then granted a one-year extension in January 2019 by administration (as provided for in the original approval), bringing it to Jan. 18, 2020, said Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services.

But the Yukon government’s construction of Phase 5 is incomplete meaning it’s asking for another year-long extension, Ross said.

With the one year extension ending, it is now up to council to consider a further extension.

The territory is currently in the process of releasing lots in Phase 4 of the neighbourhood with the next lottery for 55 single-family lots scheduled for Jan. 27. Commercial properties on Keno Way are expected to be released early in 2020 with the remainder of Phase 4 single-family, townhouse and multi-residential lots anticipated to be available through another lottery later in the year.

The focus would then turn to making lots in Phase 5 available.

That section of the neighbourhood is north of both Phase 3C and part of Phase 4 off of Casca Boulevard and east of what will be Phase 6. Under the subdivision plan, the 20.9 hectares that make up Phase 5 would include 100 single-family lots, 64 townhouse lots, two multi-family lots, three large greenbelts, one institutional lot, and one park lot.

While there’s no change in the renewal for how Phase 5 would be subdivided, Ross did note the name of one of the streets would be changed should council approve the renewal.

The name of what was to be Scout Street would change to Neecheah Street in light of a request from the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (TKC).

Ross said the city works with First Nations when street names are proposed and while the Scout Street name hadn’t come up previously as an issue, when it was brought forward recently the city was open to the change for the street that has the potential to lead to a Ta’an parcel of land that sits behind Phase 5.

Ross noted Whistle Bend streets are named after the riverboats that once plied the territory’s waterways and while the Scout had served as a riverboat so to had the Neecheah.

In an email TKC executive assistant Katelyn Friendship said, “After some research, TKC felt that it was more appropriate to name it Kestral/Neecheah Street, as that particular boat has more appropriate First Nations connections.”

According to the Yukon history website explorenorth.com, the Neecheah was originally christened the Kestral in 1913 when it was registered in Eagle, Alaska.

In 1921, it was purchased by the White Pass & Yukon Route British Yukon Navigation Company and registered in Canada. The name was changed in 1922 when the boat was rebuilt. It then began operating on the Stewart River, hauling ore from Mayo.

It would pass through a number of owners before eventually being donated to the Yukon Transportation Museum in 1997 and is on display outside the museum.

Both councillors Samson Hartland and Steve Roddick said they were pleased to see the request of the First Nation being taken into account.

Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, noted the name for Keish Street also came out of consultation with local First Nations.

According to the explorenorth website, Skookum Jim, of the Tagish First Nation, who is credited the gold discovery that led to the Klondike Gold Rush, was originally named Keish by his parents.

Council will vote on the Phase 5 Whistle Bend subdivision renewal Jan. 13.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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