The Yukon government’s plans for the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport will be the focus of an Aug. 31 public information session at the Yukon Transportation Museum.
The territory announced the meeting in a Facebook post. Planned safety improvements to the airport in the coming years will include purchasing land from the city of Whitehorse in the Puckett’s Gulch area.
Whitehorse city council passed first reading of a bylaw for rezoning that would see the current environmental protection designation changed to an airport designation as the territory looks to expand a runway by 150 meters to meet Transport Canada regulations. The airport is currently operating the runway with an exemption, but it’s anticipated the larger runway will be needed for 737 traffic as passenger volumes return to pre-pandemic levels.
Ahead of first reading, council members discussed the possibility of having the territory host a public meeting on its plans prior to a Sept. 12 public hearing on the rezoning. Following that discussion, Nils Clarke, the territory’s Highways and Public Works minister, sent a letter to Mayor Laura Cabott stating the Yukon government would host a public information session.
In its Facebook post, the territorial government notes some of the impacts of the project.
“The work we are planning will have no impact to the existing paved airport trail or the Black Street Stairs,” the post reads. “Portions of the unpaved trail will be closed during construction and paved following construction.”
A report to city council ahead of first reading of the rezoning stated a portion of the unpaved trail would be rerouted, with a fence, roadway and manhole to be moved.
Following the public information session and Sept. 12 public hearing, a report will come forward to council ahead of second and third readings on Oct. 11.
If the rezoning goes ahead, a lengthy process for the land to then be transferred to the territory would begin with an amendment to the downtown escarpment land use policy to reflect the zoning change. Disposition, subdivision and the formal land transfer would follow, including a development agreement.
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