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Zoning for former Macaulay Lodge site considered

Mixed-use development proposed for Riverdale property
The former site of Macaulay Lodge at 2 Klondike Rd. in Riverdale is seen on Nov. 22. The City of Whitehorse is considering a rezoning application from the Yukon government to allow mixed-use development on the now vacant lot. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)

Zoning for housing on the former Macaulay Lodge site in Riverdale is being considered by Whitehorse city council.

The application by the Yukon government to rezone 2 Klondike Rd. to a comprehensive neighbourhood commercial (modified) zone came forward at council’s Nov. 21 meeting.

The former Macaulay Lodge extended care facility was demolished earlier this year with the Yukon government stating it planned to use the site for higher density housing. The new zone would allow a mixed use development with commercial operations on the ground floor and housing units above.

As part of the application, the territory is also seeking to realign a small section of greenbelt space next to the site and consolidate the lots.

City planning and sustainability manager Mélodie Simard explained that the Macaulay Lodge structure had stood on the small portion of greenbelt previously.

“We believe that this was kind of a zoning mapping error,” she said, adding that part of the site had never been used as green space and the larger section of green space next to it would remain in place as green space.

“[Yukon government] intends to sell the consolidated lot through a public method such as a lottery or tender,” Simard stated in her report to council.

“The rezoning, boundary realignment and consolidation would enable a wider range of uses for the purchaser and allow for a larger, more cohesive development.”

Simard pointed out in her report the proposed zoning would complement the area, which already features a number of apartments and higher density housing. She also said the plans align with both the current Official Community Plan designation of residential-urban and with the proposed new plan, which encourages mixed-use areas for neighbourhoods known as urban centres.

“Urban centres consist of higher-density residential and commercial uses co-located in a central area,” Simard said.

“The subject site is within a proposed urban centre. The proposed OCP stipulates that mixed-use buildings proposed in urban centres will have commercial uses on the ground floor with residential uses above.”

The plan is also in line with council’s strategic priorities focused on improving the housing supply and creating more opportunities for commercial land development and fits with the Yukon Housing Action Plan to encourage smaller, more affordable homes.

Answering further questions posed by council, Simard said it’s not clear what type of commercial development the territory is envisioning for the site and that the development would have to adhere to a rear yard setback of 2.1 metres for a two-storey building, plus an additional one metre for any storeys beyond two.

Issues around traffic in the area also came up with Simard noting that may be looked as part of the development permit process.

First reading for the rezoning and lot consolidation will come forward Nov. 28. If that is approved by council, a public hearing would be held Jan. 16, 2023 with a report on the hearing being presented Feb. 6, followed by second and third reading Feb. 13.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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