Whitehorse looks to new areas for development

The new Official Community Plan will contemplate Whitehorse after Whistle Bend

As Whitehorse city council considers zoning for the final phase of planned residential development in Whistle Bend, officials are also looking at where the next major neighbourhood will be built.

Zoning for the final planned phase of Whistle Bend, Phase 7, came forward at council’s May 27 meeting, proposing 90 properties for larger single detached or duplex homes, many of which could potentially accommodate suites. City planner Kinden Kosick has confirmed the city, Yukon government and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council (which has settlement land in the area) are working on future plans for the few remaining portions of the area not yet planned.

It will still be years before houses can be built in Phase 7 (currently the Yukon government is working to get Phase 4 lots out to market), but Mayor Dan Curtis said the situation highlights the need to identify where the city goes next for development

“We don’t have 20 years,” he said, referencing the outlook an updated Official Community Plan will have.

The OCP, which acts as an overall guiding document for city planning, is being updated with a look at where development may happen next in the city along with considering other planning issues.

Neighbourhood meetings are underway to get OCP input, with a survey also expected to be released in the coming days.

Curtis said two areas — near Long Lake and McLean Lake — are being pondered as the next major areas for development.

The need for more housing in the city is abundantly clear, the mayor said.

“We’re very concerned with trying to keep up. We need every single level of housing,” he said.

As the zoning for Phase 7 is contemplated by the city, the territory is working to develop Phase 4 with 240 lots expected to be released this summer and fall, though no dates have been set for a lottery.

Yukon Department of Community Services spokesperson Bonnie Venton Ross said 132 single detached, 40 townhouse and 14 duplex lots will be available through the lottery with 35 commercial and 19 multi-family sites being put out to tender.

Development of Phase 5 will follow with a lottery anticipated in the spring of 2020.

No dates have been set for the development and lot sales of Phases 6 and 7.

City planner Mike Ellis said Phase 7 is about nine hectares in size and would accommodate approximately 240 residents.

“Phase 7 is planned on the outer perimeter of Whistle Bend, further from transit service and the commercial core/town square,” Ellis told council. “This has resulted in a lower density development pattern that will be able to provide for single family lot demand. Higher density development has been provided along transit routes and near the commercial areas of the neighbourhood.”

Each of the residential properties would be zoned as Residential Comprehensive Single Family 3.

“The perimeter trail will continue around Phase 7 to allow for pedestrian and active transportation links through the neighbourhood,” Ellis said.

A large greenbelt area would be installed over the sewer force main, where development cannot occur.

Council will vote on first reading of the zoning bylaw June 10. If approved, a public hearing would be held July 8. A report on the hearing would then come forward at council’s July 29 meeting with council voting on second and third reading Aug. 5.

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

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