Property lots at 1181 and 1191 Front St. photographed in Whitehorse on Aug. 1. A request by property developers to increase the height limit for a proposed hotel on these lots passed first reading at the Aug. 6 Whitehorse City Council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse council talks hotel height increase

Proposal to build a taller hotel passes first reading

A height limit increase for a waterfront development passed first reading at the Aug. 6 council meeting.

River’s Edge Partnership Ltd. asked for an increase from 15 metres to 20 m for a new hotel and mixed-use development at 1181 and 1191 Front St.

Coun. Samson Hartland was the sole member of council to oppose the zoning amendment.

He reiterated points made at the standing committees meeting on July 30, that he was excited to see development downtown, but worried about this particular request.

“The revitalization of the waterfront, the various uses intertwined, proximity to the cultural centre, all of this stuff for sure is absolutely great and we do want to see that on the waterfront,” he said.

“However, for me, the big hesitation comes to all the people throughout the years, providing their feedback to the city on what kind of waterfront they would like to see and how they would like to see storey heights tapered in the community so that those closest to the clay cliffs can have, you know, a view of the waterfront just like anybody else.”

Hartland said there are empty lots behind the future River’s Edge development, and that their zoning remains below the existing 15 m limit. If one building can go higher, everyone else would have to recalibrate as a result, he said.

“And so logically what’s going to follow?” he asked. “Relaxation throughout the rest of the city is the way that I see it over time. How much time? That’s anybody’s guess, but right now I don’t think I’m prepared to make that change just yet.”

Coun. Dan Boyd said he would approve first reading, but that doesn’t mean he’s satisfied with the height issue either, while Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu said she would like to see River’s Edge speak to property owners to the west of the development as those are the properties that could be impacted by shadows from the build.

The issue will come back before council in the fall. Council is currently off until Sept. 4.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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