A new apartment complex planned for Jeckell Street falls way outside good community planning, says a resident of the street.
Ken Bloor appeared before city council Tuesday evening to raise a number of objections about the Yukon Housing Corp. project.
The four-storey building proposed for the corner of Jeckell and Fourth Avenue would create another obstacle to block the view of the
riverfront, said the 32-year resident of Jeckell Street, who owns his own home.
Bloor said it wouldn’t be much of an issue for him because of where his home is located a block away. It would be an issue for many who
would suddenly fall into the shadows instead of having a view of the Yukon River and the winter sunrise, he told council.
The is not the type of community planning that was envisioned in the city’s Downtown South Master Plan that was developed in 2011, he
reminded members of council.
Bloor said he attended all the public charrettes held to discuss the large vacant area in the south end of town when the plan was being
developed. The intent was to build community vibrancy by mixing the housing types throughout the area, he recalled.
“At the city-held charrettes, I was led to understand the dynamics of the neighbourhood would be mixed, that the City of Whitehorse would trade land parcels with Yukon Housing to help create a diversity of housing styles and building neighbourhood dynamics,” he told council.
Bloor said he doesn’t see how concentrating more social housing right next to two other multi-housing units for mixed-income residents inspires community dynamics and empowers changes to lifestyles.
“I’m not against this proposal. I am against the location, height and size of a single large building created for high-density mixed-income
housing and destroying the intention of the Downtown South Master Plan, also the lack of consultation for a project of this scale.”
During the Downtown South planning, concerns were expressed about placing taller buildings in front of lower structures, he told the council meeting.
“Nowhere in the brainstorming sessions did anyone suggest that it was a great idea to surround the Yukon River front with tall buildings
blocking the line of view and access to the river and creating shadows to lower areas.”
The Yukon Housing Corp. has had one public meeting about the proposal, he pointed out, held on a recent weekday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Of the few people, who attended, most were housing corporation employees, he said.
He said they’re proposing to provide parking for 24, or half of the 48 units, with eight stalls for visitors.
Who decides, he asked council, who gets parking?
Bloor said he also has concerns with light pollution. When the Yukon government built the adult group home at the end of Hoge Street, it
came with an obnoxiously bright LED light the spilled over to neighbouring residences, though it has since been shrouded, he said.
The Yukon government’s Department of Health and Social Services built a group home where the Downtown plan identified a corridor for a connector road, he said.
“What happened to the Downtown South Master Plan?” Bloor asked council. “Are Yukon government, Yukon Housing Corp. and other
government departments exempt from the Plan?”
The Star was unable to speak with a Yukon Housing Corp. representative this week.
Instead, the corporation responded to questions by email.
The building is estimated to cost $18.3 million, with construction scheduled to begin next spring.
Public consultation is designed to occur in two stages. The first stage was the noon-hour meeting held at the site on June 18. It was held at
noon to provide a chance for working people to attend.
The next phase will be held in late summer or early fall.
“Our project has been approved and our plans to move ahead will be informed by the public engagements currently underway.”
The corporation said it does own the property, which it added is well-situated to provide community housing development in the downtown core.
The downtown plan is being used as a guiding document.
The proposal is for a mixed-use, mixed-income housing approach, and is the first of its kind for the housing corporation. It has worked well in other urban areas, the email said, and is designed to mitigate concerns over ghettoization.
The city requires one parking stall for every two units, the email said.