Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for April 23, 2013

Land parcels closer to losing greenspace designation

The designation of five Kwanlin Dun First Nation parcels in the city is now in the hands of the Yukon government.

By Stephanie Waddell on April 23, 2013 at 3:15 pm


Photo by Whitehorse Star

Betty Irwin and Kirk Cameron

The designation of five Kwanlin Dun First Nation parcels in the city is now in the hands of the Yukon government.

In a 6-1 vote Monday evening, council passed second reading of an Official Community Plan (OCP) change removing the greenspace designation from the five pieces of land.

All OCP changes must go to the government for ministerial approval after second reading before they come back to council for third reading.

Coun. Betty Irwin was the only member of council to vote against the amendments. She argued that the document should only be changed when the planned uses of a site are known.

As city staff have reported to council, Kwanlin Dun is not yet at the planning stage for the properties, but requested the OCP to reflect that they are Kwanlin Dun land.

Irwin also pointed out that the First Nation was initially in favour of having the sites designated as greenspace along with the land around it when the OCP was drafted and questioned why it’s no longer interested in protecting those space.

Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, noted the intent behind the proposed new designations is to provide clarity to the public about the five sites.

The First Nation’s final agreement guarantees the Kwanlin Dun the right to use its land as it sees fit, which could conflict with the OCP.

Right now, he said, the First Nation doesn’t know what the other uses might be.

However, until they pass their own legislation on land use, they would have to come back to the city for development agreements and the like to go ahead with any projects.

Meanwhile, other council members voiced their agreement with designating the five properties as Kwanlin Dun land in the OCP.

“This is not just about fee-simple ownership of land,” Coun. Kirk Cameron said. It’s about jurisdiction, he stressed, and in this case, the Kwanlin Dun have jurisdiction over their land.

“We have to get with the program,” Cameron said, emphasizing his “110 per cent” support of the change.

Coun. Dave Stockdale said he wondered what the Green Party thinks of changing the greenspace designation.

Cameron retorted: “This isn’t about green, it’s black and white.”

Cameron and Mayor Dan Curtis also emphasized that the First Nation is a government and should be treated with the same respect shown to any level of government.

While Kwanlin Dun may not be at the planning phase for its settlement land, Coun. John Streicker noted the importance that the general public be informed of what’s happening with its land.

Noting his support for the change, Streicker encouraged the city to continue working with the First Nation so the public has a sense of the ongoing process to plan for the properties.

Coun. Mike Gladish also stated his agreement with Streicker’s comments.’

He later joined the majority of council in voting in favour of second reading.

The properties affected include:

• a 70-hectare site on Grey Mountain Road designated a Recreation Area;

• a 287-hectare parcel on the city’s southwestern boundary designated a combination of environmentally sensitive and green connections areas;

• a 147-hectare piece of land next to the Yukon River across from the Pineridge subdivision, also designated as environmentally sensitive and green connections; and

• a 389-hectare piece of land and another 235-hectare parcel both next to the city’s western boundary along Fish Lake Road, designated environmentally sensitive and green connections.

Maps in the OCP were also amended prior to second reading to reflect the changes, showing the areas as Future Planning sites and removing three of the Kwanlin Dun sites from the Chadburn Lake Park area.

CommentsAdd a comment

Douglas Kerley

Apr 23, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Now that the City has justifiably approved the 2nd reading for the OCP amendment to recognize the KDFN lands and to no longer designate them as green space, I think it is imperative that the City of Whitehorse and its planning department very carefully consider any and all future amendments to the OCP to remove green space designations. Over the years, OCP amendments have continually reduced the amount of green space in the City. On May 6th, City Council will vote on a 2nd reading to amend the OCP for the proposed development of sensitive green areas in the Cowley Creek Subdivision for lot development, and use of the former KMA Speedway by the Yukon Horse Riders Association.

The development is proposed to sell lots in order to finance a road to the former KMA Speedway, so that the approximately 134 members of the YHRA, can have off-highway access for their trucks & trailers to the site. The cost of the road is estimated at over $700,000 dollars.

The City of Whitehorse should soon hire a consultant to create a new logo and slogan to replace its current “Whitehorse the Wilderness City” logo, because, at this rate, there won’t be much wilderness left for the wildlife and residents of Whitehorse to enjoy.

Arn Anderson

Apr 24, 2013 at 11:13 am

Citys like Whitehorse and small towns in the Yukon cannot afford to build suburbia like the big boys in the south. You may have the land but not the infrastructure, terrain, weather or the multiple companies that can invest the capital to do it. Design and plan Whitehorse with what it has and what it can do. Too many communties in the Yukon are building these “subdivisions” that make zero sense.

David Strens

Apr 28, 2013 at 4:18 pm

While green spaces are nice, the parcels belong to the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and as such it is their needs and priorities which should determine how those parcels of land are used. Personally I hope they use them to build rental housing as there are many first nation people (and non-first nation people too) in need of this. First things first.

Jackie Ward

Apr 29, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Leave Chadburn alone. Of all places to consider building houses. What a joke. What about all that land in McIntyre village that just sits there? Our tax dollars paid for that and it just sits there. Chadburn is a recreational area, period. It was designed as a sensitive environmental area. Why wreck it? Why disturb all the animals? I thought First Nations respected the land. Now they are just trying to make a buck like everyone else. Sad. Did I say this already? DO NOT DEVELOP CHADBURN.  And to the readers, do not bother responding with NIMBY bs. This isn’t about that. It’s about protecting what is special over human greed.

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