Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
Council was unanimous Monday evening in voting to approve the conditional use application that will allow for a Yukon government group home for up to 10 youth at 22 Wann Rd. in Porter Creek.
The vote came with no discussion.
All seven members raised their hands in agreement following the recommendation that it be approved for a maximum of 10 residents.
Conditional use approval is among the conditions for the territory to buy the property from the current owners.
Last night’s vote came after council heard both support and concerns over the proposal during a public input process on the proposed group home.
Those voicing concerns over it argued the Yukon government had not consulted with the community on the plans for a home aimed at older youth in government care who are transitioning toward independent living.
Issues over safety, the home’s proximity to liquor sales outlets, whether the water and sewer system can handle an influx of residents, and possible noise problems were also raised. A man was fatally shot nearby in the fall of 2017.
Those anxieties were not, however, enough to convince council that 22 Wann Rd. is not the right place for a group home.
As Mayor Dan Curtis pointed out to reporters after last night’s meeting, crime can happen anywhere in the city – and alcohol is available in any neighborhood.
Those who will be living in the house are there through no fault of their own, Curtis added.
“What we have right now is we have group homes in many communities, in neighbourhoods, and there’s not a rise in crime,” the mayor said.
The city follows the same process for every conditional use application, Curtis stressed.
The issues brought forward were considered and addressed before council’s vote, he added.
“I didn’t see anything at all,” Curtis said of there not being any major issue.
He also stressed the need to support youth in the city.
A report to council on the proposal also cited city policies which promote “densification in existing residential neighbourhoods to enable a compact growth strategy and the efficient use of municipal infrastructure.”
It was also pointed out that the zoning allows for supportive housing as a conditional use, and that the home would be a residence to the youth who live there.
“This residence will be the full-time home for these youths and is more appropriate and effective when placed in a residential neighbourhood rather than a commercial or industrial area,” Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, noted in the report.
“Youth require access to amenities typically found in residential neighbourhoods, such as parks, schools and transit services, etc.
“The size of this home and property is significant and well-equipped to accommodate the 10 residents being proposed.”
The large house, located at the Centennial Street end of Wann Road, was listed for a $1.1-million sales price.
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