Welcome to Whistle Bend

Whistle Bend is a spot in the Yukon River where paddlewheelers used to blow a toot before making a sharp turn.

Whistle Bend is a spot in the Yukon River where paddlewheelers used to blow a toot before making a sharp turn.

Now it’s also the working title of a subdivision slated for development in Porter Creek’s Lower Bench — currently in its conceptual stage.

Planners announced a full-service urban residential community expected to quench the city’s thirst for lots over the next 20 years.

And small businesses, schools, places of worship and, of course, plenty of greenspace will be worked into the plan.

More than 10,000 people will call it home after all phases are fully developed.

Its design centres in a wonky loop around a pedestrian mall, which is surrounded by six mixed-residential subdivisions.

“The housing density will be at 35 units per hectare, where transit is feasible and there’s a five-minute rule so that wherever you are living it’s a five minute walk to the loop road,” explained city planning manager Lesley Cabott.

Its total area is 700 hectares, 290 of which are developable.

It includes Mountainview Golf Course and its proposed expansion area.

There is a seven-kilometre paved walkway that loops around the development.

And it includes an environmentally sensitive area called Eagle Bay where there is significant sand erosion from the Yukon River.

The rough subdivision design came from the five-day charette the city hosted from November 5 to 9.

Many people asked what a “charette” is, said city planning manager Lesley Cabott.

Charette is a French word meaning “cart.”

“Many years ago, architectural professors would give their students a difficult problem to solve, then he would come with his cart up and down the study halls and collect their drawings for peer review,” said Cabott.

“That’s what a charette is — there is a difficult problem and a group of people trying to solve it and a peer review.”

Now the term is commonly used in community planning to solve complex problems.

The city’s charette brought together seven teams of 10 people from different backgrounds — city, territorial, federal and First Nation governments, environmental groups, designers and members of the public.

The teams drafted land-use drawings that were put up for public review in the evenings.

Over a five-day period, all the ideas were refined into one final drawing — Whistle Bend.

Pending council approval in 2007, the city will refine the design, undergo a Yukon environmental and socioeconomic assessment, draft a greenspace map and hold an area plebiscite.

Then, in 2008 and 2009, engineers would draft a detailed design, and construction is slated to begin with land available in 2009. (LC)