Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

DEVELOPMENT ENVISIONED – A local developer is proposing to build 36 townhouses on this site in the Whistle Bend subdivision. Inset Randy Audette

Public hearing set on townhouse proposal

The public will get a chance to tell city council their views on a proposed rezoning of a Whistle Bend property.

By Stephanie Waddell on June 13, 2018

The public will get a chance to tell city council their views on a proposed rezoning of a Whistle Bend property.

The change would allow for a proposed 36-unit townhouse development rather than the current zoning for a 50-unit apartment-style building.

Council was unanimous Monday evening in voting to move ahead with first reading on the rezoning of 11 Tarahne Way – despite a recommendation by city staff that it be defeated.

Local developer Randy Audette is proposing to build the 36 townhouses.

In a presentation to council at Monday’s meeting, Audette reminded council of the architectural drawings he had sent to members.

He noted he has spoken to a number of realtors from several agencies around the city who have confirmed there is little demand for apartment-style condos in Whistle Bend.

Recognizing the site is zoned for higher-density development, Audette has also argued his plans for 36 three-bedroom units would result in greater density than a 50-unit apartment-style condos project.

“We would create 108 bedrooms,” Audette pointed out of his townhouse plans.

City staff had recommended the rezoning proposal be defeated in light of it creating fewer than the maximum number of housing units that could be placed on the property.

Before voting on the amendment, council members voiced their support to at least have the proposal go through a public hearing.

“I do believe this should have due process,” Mayor Dan Curtis said.

He also pointed out that there may be more demand for apartment-style housing once the Yukon government’s $150-million continuing care facility is opened in the neighbourhood this fall. It could be a draw for staff of the new facility who are looking for housing close to work, the mayor noted.

He also pointed to the vision of the neighbourhood in noting that it takes time for that vision to come to fruition.

Coun. Dan Boyd noted the current environment across the country to build and maintain apartment buildings for rentals is difficult. Until those broader issues are dealt with, he said, it’s unlikely many rental apartments will be built.

Highlighting the city’s desire for greater density, Boyd reiterated Audette’s point that the townhouse development could ultimately result in higher density than an apartment complex.

“I think we should give this some serious consideration,” he said.

Coun. Rob Fendrick described himself as conflicted on the issue.

On one hand, the city needs housing. On the other hand, the site was zoned in its current form as part of a larger vision for the neighbourhood, Fendrick said. When the continuing care facility opens, he added, there may be more demand for apartment units.

Coun. Samson Hartland, who attended the session via conference call, observed, “It’s a quagmire that we’re in.”

Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu also voiced her support to at least move to the public hearing portion of the process before deciding on the final two readings of the bylaw.

With council’s decision Monday, the public hearing will now go ahead to July 9. A report will follow on July 16, with second and third readings coming forward July 23.

Comments (10)

Up 2 Down 2

Whistle Bender on Jun 15, 2018 at 4:24 pm

@ My Opinion
You sound a little too close to this story.
Developers don't get to change zoning. If it was zoned for 20-25 units than other developers may have to bid on it. Can you see how that is unfair? Whitehorse NEEDS apartments. It NEEDS entry level housing. It NEEDS affordable housing. It doesn't need to feather Audette's nest over other contractors of those living in Whistle Bend.

@ Paul
Did your 'friend' who used PG not hire a home inspector or even look underneath himself. Something is missing in this story.

Up 1 Down 1

BnR on Jun 15, 2018 at 7:18 am

Ok, CofW, you went through a whole charet process for Whistle Bend. It was like years of planning. The plan was made for a reason and this zoning was arrived upon.
If you're going to go changing the plan every time a developer wants to do it from their own business model, why bother? Save a bunch of time and effort.
Just divide up the area into some lots and let everyone do whatever they want.
Quit caving to every developer that comes along.

Up 1 Down 0

My Opinion on Jun 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm

@Al
Well you are wrong. Just had infill a block away a couple of months ago and I didn't fight it.

@Whistle Bender
Aren't you a nice guy??? What do you do for a living and let us pick holes in you. Find something nice to say about people.

Also for all of you that think there is a lineup of contractors waiting to build apartments for low income units, you are nuts, it is not happening. Go build a building yourself if you think it is viable. Borrow $20,000,000.00 dollars and start collecting 800.00 a month for 20 yrs just to break even. That will never happen. That is why they do condo's so they get their money back and live to build another. Pure economics.

Up 0 Down 0

Whistle Bender on Jun 14, 2018 at 3:54 pm

@ John
I agree 100%

Up 2 Down 0

paul on Jun 14, 2018 at 3:50 pm

@ whistlebender. I agree with everything you say except real estate agents. I sold a home last year with real estate guy ( first time) and it was so easy cost me some money but it was worth it cause I got what I wanted. My buddy bought a house through PG and this spring crawl space was full of water!! The people who sold it knew about it but didn't say anything! That sucks.

Up 0 Down 1

AL on Jun 14, 2018 at 2:10 pm

"My Opinion": I didn't find in your message - "pick me - pick me, you can build beside me home !!

Up 9 Down 1

John on Jun 13, 2018 at 9:48 pm

If the city wants to rezone ( which they shouldn't) then the lot should go back out to public tender because other developers will want the opportunity to purchase that lot. It's not fair if this guy gets to rezone.

Up 6 Down 3

Wes on Jun 13, 2018 at 6:03 pm

Yeah, sure more affordable housing. Like I really need to see another Alberta or Quebec license plate here....

Up 6 Down 2

Whistle Bender on Jun 13, 2018 at 4:15 pm

Developers don't get to decide zoning. Their job is to build within the lot zoning, end of story.

Audette whining about laying off workers and not using suppliers is BS. Build the 50 unit apartment. That end of the market is under served and it will fill up in no time. If not, turn the lot back into the city and someone else will build it.

And Randy, don't take advice from Real Estate agents any more than you would a used car sales man. Don't for a second think their opinion is to assist you, it is so they can line their own pockets, there is a real reason while Real Estate agents are a dying breed.

I live in Whistle Bend and the area is high densification because eventually 8,000 people will be out there and there are commercial lots and a town square around the corner from this location. This area was designed, largely for foot traffic so on week night you can walk to the pub, or on the weekend hit up a coffee shop or what ever. Lowering the densification will only harm the value and potential revenue of those commercial lots.

COW, do the right thing and leave the current zoning in place. Same for that lot owned by McLarnon in Copper Ridge.

Up 8 Down 7

My Opinion on Jun 13, 2018 at 3:15 pm

Here come the NIMBIES I can hear the drum beat already.

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