A worker is seen during construction in the Whistle Bend neigbourhood. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Whistle Bend’s Phase 5 standing by

20-hectare development will have enough lots for 575 units

Whitehorse city staff wants council’s go-ahead to begin the next step of the Whistle Bend project, which involves approving the zoning for Phase 5 of development.

Phase 5 will take up 20 hectares, bordered by Ta’an Kwäch’än Council land on the east and green space to the north. When developed, the site will be home to approximately 575 people. The development will include 44 lots for single family homes or duplexes, 66 lots for townhouses, two lots for apartment buildings, one park site and one recreational or institutional lot for a total of 114 lots.

The design for Phase 5 has slight changes to the original design proposed in 2012, said Mike Ellis, acting manager of planning and sustainability, at the Sept. 18 standing committee meeting. This includes changes to reduce paving by removing single lanes and reconfiguring lots to “improve development potential.”

This development will also include a “green street,” he said, where single-family houses face “onto a landscaped green corridor with a walking path instead of a typical residential street.”

The development will also include commercial lots, he said. That’s something Coun. Betty Irwin said is missing in both Whistle Bend the Granger subdivision.

Development will come, Ellis said, as more people move into the area. The completed development will be comparable to “any other town of 8,000 people,” Ellis said, but it takes “enough people living nearby,” to attract those businesses.

“The great benefit of building at this scale and density is that you should be able to support a wide variety of commercial enterprises,” he said. “That’s the concept. It’s a walkable street filled with shops and commercial uses.”

Council listened attentively to Ellis’ presentation, but when it came time for questions, it wasn’t the zoning they grilled him about, but rather the overall effectiveness of the project.

“This is a really small development in the grand scheme of things,” said Coun. Dan Boyd. “This is barely a year’s supply of lots…. How are we going to meet future demand?”

“Phase 5 is what we’re talking about here, that’s not expected to be available for a few years … and Phase 4 won’t be available until next fall…. We’re still a few steps away from Phase 5.”

Ellis said that over the last few years, developers built 140-150 units of housing, a number that has “remained fairly steady.”

Council approved zoning for Phase 4 in August 2016. Those lots are expected to be on the market by Fall 2018, Ellis said. Phase 3 lots were supposed to be available by now, but have been delayed until spring 2018.

“What’s the hold up (on Phase 3)?” Coun. Rob Fendrick bluntly said.

Ellis said that the decision to delay was based on relations between the government and housing developers, who were unable to get started comfortably before winter and so the decision was made to delay release because “the general preference was to wait.”

Between Phase 3 and Phase 4, 900 housing units will be available for development.

“There’s no available land right now but there’s a lot coming,” Ellis said. “We are underserved … but we should be okay starting next year.”

Boyd flatly disagreed. As the economy picks up speed and mining recovers in the territory, he said, more workers will be looking for housing. Boyd said the city doesn’t have enough.

“I don’t believe what we’re doing will meet demand,” Boyd said. “We have a serious shortage of lots on the market and I would argue this problem isn’t going to go away.”

Coun. Roslyn Woodcock had her own concerns about the size of housing. She asked Ellis for a breakdown of housing sizes and types.

“I thought we were leaning more towards smaller, starter houses, so things would be a bit more affordable,” she said.

Ellis said he didn’t have a response or numbers available, but would look into it.

Several councillors wanted to know if trails going into Phase 5 would allow motorized vehicles. As the News previously reported, there’s been controversy over whether the city should let motorzied vehicles use existing trails.

“I’ll have no problem supporting this as it goes ahead,” said Boyd. “But it would be nice to see (the trail designation) dealt with up front.”

Acting city manager Linda Rapp would said discussion about trail use was “underway.”

Council will vote on first reading at the Sept. 25 regular council meeting. A public hearing on the issue will take place Oct. 23, pending approval of first reading.

Contact Lori Fox at lori.fox@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse tells taxi passengers who feel unsafe to not travel alone

Suggestion criticized by advocates for placing burden of safety on passengers, not taxi companies

Whitehorse’s new emergency room slated to open in early January

40,000-square-foot building will be more efficient, officials say

Judge finds Whitehorse man not guilty of raping teen in 2015 after second trial

Judge Raymond Wyant found Jackie James Kodwat not guilty of sexual assault.

Whitehorse’s sidewalks are a deathtrap

In the interest of safety and simplicity, the city should just plow the sidewalks

Police, coroner investigating suspicious death in Pelly Crossing

Investigators have ordered an autopsy, which will take place in Vancouver Dec. 18

Two Yukon projects shortlisted for the Arctic Inspiration Prize

Projects from Whitehorse, Carcross up for cash

Lower Post, B.C., man suing Yukon RCMP over assault allegation

Suit alleges man ended up with ‘ended up with bruising on his arms, biceps and chest’

Yukon needs a better plan for long-term care

The government can find solutions if it has the will. Does it have the will?

Hard travel over the Yukon’s winter trails

The overland trip to Dawson City today is a cakewalk compared to a century ago

Globalization infiltrates the Yukon’s recycling bins

You’re going to have to do a better job sorting your junk or else China won’t take it

Driving during the holidays

It’s hectic on the roads at Christmastime

Whitehorse council chambers needs new audio-visual equipment

‘More than 10 people’ watch city’s televised meetings

Most Read