Sailing camps take place on Schwatka Lake in 2015. Whitehorse city council voted June 26 to approve the Chadburn Lake Park management plan. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

Whitehorse city council signs off on Chadburn Lake management plan

Councillors approved the wide-ranging plan despite concerns it will constrict future development.

Whitehorse city council voted to accept the Chadburn Lake Park management plan presented by staff at the June 26 regular meeting.

The plan lays out five key goals for the area, which comprises about one-sixth of the city’s land mass. The goals include environmental protection, outdoor recreation and protecting the culture and heritage of the area.

Councillors Samson Hartland and Rob Fendrick were both concerned about what setting aside such a large portion of land as greenspace would mean for future development within the city.

“It’s hard not to look 20 or 30 years down the road and wonder whether such a plan would hamper our growth,” said Hartland. “I can appreciate the recreational values but at the same time, I have a nagging feeling in my head that we risk development issues.”

“It’s a large park,” said Fendrick. “I too question … how much land is being allocated to this park, which may need to be developed in the future.”

Despite these concerns, the plan was adopted unanimously.

“It’s a good plan that I agree with,” said Fendrick.

Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, said that the plan was adjustable and was reflected the wishes of Whitehorse citizens as expressed in the 2020 official community plan. If the city needs more land in the future, he said, the park’s management plan could be adjusted to accommodate that.

“We know that, in the future, we will have a growing city. Our values change, our land needs change, our desires change, you need to be able to respond to the community’s development needs and wants,” Gau said.

The plan is a revised version of the one presented to city council in the fall of 2016. Council rejected that version because of concerns about cultural and land stewardship raised by the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, which refused to sign on to the initial plan.

These concerns are addressed in the new plan, city staff have previously told the News.

The Ta’an Kwäch’än Council has also signed off on the park plan.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com

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