An $18-million Yukon Housing project, to be located at Fourth Avenue and Jeckell Street, was the talk of a city council and senior management roundtable discussion Oct. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Whitehorse council wants more involvement in Yukon Housing plans

Planning is underway for a housing project downtown but council hasn’t seen any of the details

As planning continues on a Yukon Housing project at Fourth Avenue and Jeckell Street, stakeholders are getting a first glimpse of potential plans but that doesn’t include Whitehorse city council.

The $18-million social housing project, announced in March, could feature up to 48 units of varying sizes from studios to three-bedrooms and with construction starting in 2020. The entire project, including planning, is expected to take three years.

The project was the focus of a city council and senior management roundtable discussion Oct. 24.

Planning manager Mélodie Simard updated council members on the work, noting stakeholders including city staff have seen early potential concepts.

“They’re early in the design process,” she said, noting that the concepts are not being made available to the public, but rather stakeholders.

While city staff have seen potential concepts for the property council has not.

Count. Laura Cabott, who attended the session by conference call, described the area as the “gateway to the downtown” and said as a councillor she’s feeling a little bit left out that council members aren’t getting to view the concepts.

Coun. Dan Boyd said he wants administration to look into giving council a “preview.”

Following the meeting, Stephen Mead, the vice-president of operations for Yukon Housing, said given the discussion around the table, officials will look at providing council members with a look at the plans.

He noted that right now, Yukon Housing is getting feedback with two meetings held the week of Oct. 21 to 25. While that included the city, it was through administration.

The feedback will go back to those working on the preliminary design to come up with a single option. It’s that option which would likely then be made public for feedback, perhaps with Yukon Housing officials hosting an open house.

Mead suggested that process would take about a month.

Mayor Dan Curtis also wondered about a potential playground or park for the area, noting that while Rotary Park is nearby, there are two major road crossings to get there from Fourth and Jeckell.

All the options, Simard said, include amenity space though it wasn’t clear if all amenity space options include a playspace specifically for kids.

Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, pointed out there are plans to replace the park at Jeckell Street and the escarpment once soil work in the area is complete.

Curtis again emphasized that “we want to be part of the discussion” on the housing project.

The housing project is not anticipated to trigger any processes like zoning amendments that would see it have to formally come forward to council.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

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