Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for February 12, 2013

Cowley Creek could boast up to five new lots

The Yukon Horse and Rider Association’s proposed move to the former speedway in Cowley Creek could see up to five new country residential lots added to the market.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

The Yukon Horse and Rider Association’s proposed move to the former speedway in Cowley Creek could see up to five new country residential lots added to the market.

On Monday evening, city council approved first reading of an amendment to the Official Community Plan (OCP) that would allow an expansion of Sockeye Place in Cowley Creek for up to five country residential properties.

The expansion was proposed after the Yukon government determined access to the speedway off the Alaska Highway could not be used permanently because it does not have adequate sight lines.

The equestrian association has been planning to move to the speedway due to the development of the Whistle Bend subdivision in its current location.

With the territory determining the direct access to the speedway unsafe from the highway, city staff are now proposing it be accessed through a 320-metre extension to Sockeye Place.

“To cover the cost of construction, it is proposed that four or five new residential lots be created along the road extension,” it’s stated in a report to council.

“As the KMA (Klondike Motorsport Association) area and surrounding greenbelt are currently designated as future planning in the Official Community Plan, an amendment to the OCP will be required before the project can move forward.”

The proposal has already been met with concerns from local residents who appeared before council at the Feb. 4 meeting bringing forward issues around traffic and the impact on local wildlife.

While council voted in favour of first reading Monday night, as it typically does for such OCP and zoning changes so it can go through a public hearing, it did not come without council members raising their own issues.

Coun. Betty Irwin argued there should be more discussion with the Yukon government on its decision to deem the highway access unsafe.

The horse and rider’s association role in the city is just as important as any other recreational group and facility.

The training and enjoyment of animals in particular is not only important in the Yukon, but everywhere, Irwin said.

With a couple of changes to the highway leading to the former speedway, she added, the road would be safe.

Irwin later wondered if anyone remembered when Mount Sima was opened.

The Yukon government had no problem making changes to the road to make it safer for the increased traffic heading to the ski hill.

Coun. Dave Stockdale noted his agreement with Irwin’s points. He also stated he’s in favour of increasing the number of country residential lots in the area as well.

Meanwhile, Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu said she understands the major issue residents of the area have is with the increased traffic and disruptions that could come when the horse and rider association hosts an event at the site.

There seem to be two different issues, Coun. Kirk Cameron observed.

One is having a safe access to the site. After driving out to the area recently, he said, he thinks better signage would go a long way to solving the sight line issues.

As for opening up more country residential properties in the area, Cameron noted that moving ahead to the public hearing would allow for more public discussion. He said he’s looking forward to the conversation.

Acting mayor John Streicker asked Brian Crist, the city’s director of infrastructure and operations, whether the government would be involved in the public hearing.

Crist noted officials had been contact with a number of questions about the access. The whole issue of the access is being looked at, he said.

With first reading approved, a public meeting on the proposal will be held Feb. 28.

That will be followed by the public hearing nearly a month later, at council’s March 25 meeting.

A report on that hearing will then come forward at the April 2 meeting, with a vote on second reading to follow on April 8.

If that passes, the OCP amendment would then go to a ministerial review.

It’s expected that step would take until the end of May before it comes back to council for third reading around June 10.

and Ainslie Cruickshank
Star Reporters

CommentsAdd a comment


Feb 12, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Good idea, and a win-win situation for everyone but the NIMBYs.

Close off the old highway access, remove the roadway, fill in the gap, and reclaim the area.

stan rogers

Feb 12, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I was recently told the city was moving away from developing country residential lots. What gives?

What will be next. SIMA will likely ask for a get a sweet deal to develop upper end country residential properties near the ski hill.

Thea Rogers

Feb 12, 2013 at 7:01 pm

it’s interesting how the COW is willing to accommodate a user group for what might be considered an elite sport/group (ie not everyone can afford to own horses and recreate with them) yet they were not willing to accommodate dog owners whose training goes towards making dogs safer through effective training and owners more responsible through proper dog socialization.  Seems a double standard, but as well the COW is going to disrupt the lives of how many people who already live happily in their homes where they likely would never have thought would see an expansion of the Cowley Creek area.  I have a suggestion:  use the area on the north east side of the highway which already has vehicle access opposite to Salmon Trail.  I am guessing the COW already owns this area.  It has sufficient space for a user area, and no one is going to have to have a road built beside their house.  Better yet, fill up Whistlebend before you grab money from five new rural lots and disrupt what does not need disruption.


Feb 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Here we go. God forbid there be options for housing out there other than WB. The market might actually reach a rational level if more lots were developed.

NIMBYs Idle No More

Arn Anderson

Feb 13, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Whitehorse needs to develop, but not outwards, inwards. Residents scream that taxes are high, services are high, fees are high, laying more infrastructure outwards for a few suburbia homes doesn’t fix this, just raises taxes. If the city, mayor and councillors don’t have the cahonas to challenge and educate the NIMBY or BANANA (I love that one) behavior in the downtown core, what chance do they have at anything that poses a challenge? Hiding from the real work you were elected to do seems to be the way of the future now…sad, but not as sad as the 30 odd percent that voted the last municipal election.

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