Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Whitehorse Star

A BUMPER-TO-BUMPER COMMUTE – A long line of vehicles is seen along Copper Road/Mountainview Drive last Feb. 25, with most drivers headed to the downtown area and Riverdale.

‘More people equals more traffic,’ city reminded

If the city wants to expand the Whistle Bend subdivision, it needs to plan for additional traffic flow, says the Whistle Bend Community Association.

By Chuck Tobin on November 27, 2020

If the city wants to expand the Whistle Bend subdivision, it needs to plan for additional traffic flow, says the Whistle Bend Community Association.

As the city plans to move into what is described as Area C, the association says it needs to plan for another connector road to the Alaska Highway.

It needs to plan for turning Mountainview Drive, Quartz Road and Whistle Bend Way into four-lane roadways, the group says.

The written comments were submitted by association president Amy Ryder as part of the public hearing held Monday by city council into the proposed Area C development.

The 56-hectare area at the northwest corner of Whistle Bend is currently identified as green space in the Official Community Plan (OCP).

The required amendment to the OCP was given first reading by city council on Oct. 26.

“Although estimates of future Whistle Bend populations vary depending on the source you read, we can assume that more people equals more traffic,” says the submission by the community association.

“We, as well as a number of our community residents, are very concerned about the inability of the existing infrastructure to support this traffic. This also presents a safety problem in our opinion. If the community needed to evacuate quickly, it would not be possible.”

The association raised several other issues, including the need to expand the transit services to help reduce traffic congestion.

With Whistle Bend potentially accommodating 20 to 25 per cent of the city’s total population, there is the question of whether there is a capital budget for additional resources such as garbage trucks, buses, snow plows and lawn mowers, says the submission.

The public hearing drew eight written submissions, of which four were opposed and four raised concerns, particularly regarding the trail system at the north edge of Area C that runs along the ridge overlooking the Yukon River.

Area C was originally designated as green space to accommodate the facilities owned and used by the Yukon Horse and Rider Association, says the administrative report presented to council in mid-October.

The association eventually withdrew its interest in the area in favour of a new facility along the Mayo Road.

The city hired a team of consultants in 2018 to look at future expansion options for the subdivision and Area C was identified as the best location.

The proposed expansion has been given the green light by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board and the territorial government.

The 56.3 hectares are designed as primarily a low-density development that will accommodate 2,400 residents.

At its current design, Whistle Bend will be home to 8,000 residents when it’s fully built out.

Already, however, it’s not uncommon to see traffic backed up in the morning from the lights at Quartz and Industrial roads to the middle of the hill on Mountainview – and sometimes almost to the lights at Mountainview and Range Road.

The community association says there is a need to connect the subdivision’s community trail network to the downtown’s network of paved trails to accommodate non-vehicular transportation.

“We are already seeing that the lack of bike routes to town is dangerous for cyclists and it will only get worse,” says the submission.

Those who indicated both opposition and concern were focused on the further loss of green space that defines Whitehorse as the Wilderness City.

If the development is to occur, there must be protection of the existing trail network, said those who raised concerns.

“I just want to be clear that I am not in any way opposed to this development overall,” says one submission.

“From my perspective, it would be a real shame if this well used recreation area trail is not isolated from the development by ensuring that the proposed 30-metre setback is strictly maintained in the natural state it is in right now (don’t cut the trees).

“While there is a proposed ‘pedestrian trail’ within the plan for the subdivision, this does not address the need for those of us who want to walk in the woods in our Wilderness City.”

“While I agree with high-density housing, the loss of more land designated as green space for development is concerning,” says another submission.

Results of the public hearing process will be presented to council at its meeting Monday.

Second reading of the required amendment is scheduled for Dec. 7.

The administrative report notes the Yukon government – the land owner and developer – would like to begin detailed engineering of Area C early next year to ensure there is a continuous supply of housing lots in the years to come.

See related story.

Comments (8)

Up 1 Down 1

TheHammer on Dec 3, 2020 at 10:00 am

While we are on the subject of traffic, I find these yellow/orange hi way lights to be worse than useless, and dangerous. All you have to do is look at the contrast when you come to the odd white light - you can actually see the road.

Up 4 Down 1

unReal on Dec 2, 2020 at 7:42 am

Wilf and Nathan, get a life!
You are using your nitpicking for bait.

You're trolling style won't catch you many fish!

Up 12 Down 4

Dave on Dec 1, 2020 at 6:59 am

Whistle Bend should separate from the Yukon.

Up 11 Down 11

Dave on Dec 1, 2020 at 6:59 am

Simple physics: leave earlier, take public transit, ride a bike and quit your b****ing.

Up 23 Down 7

Josey Wales on Nov 28, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Wilf...beating a dead horse waiting for the King and his merry "persons" to give a rats ass. Those crewing the equipment do, and purdy good job they do. When they are allowed to do it.
As the chins/arses grow, we matter even less...bet they plow out all their new paved parking lot complete with free plug in (we pay) for their staff...as each snow falls.
Austerity (not for they...just us) and meritocracy are like complete hate words for our Lords.

Up 30 Down 9

Wilf Carter on Nov 28, 2020 at 11:19 am

Whitehorse resident and Mayor.
It supposed to be 6 degrees on Wed. and rain.
The City should be plowing the back streets because if not they will be a mess and dangerous to drive on.

Up 26 Down 12

Nathan Living on Nov 27, 2020 at 3:36 pm

I too am concerned the City will wage war on Whistle Bend green spaces then allow what's left to become unofficial motorized trails.
Seems like there is little regard for wildlife or those who want to enjoy green areas near their homes.

Planning should be much more than putting in small overpriced lots without a long term perspective for wildlife and parks and quiet areas.
No wonder a group wants a park in this area to be overseen by GY rather than the city.

Up 24 Down 5

Crunch on Nov 27, 2020 at 3:17 pm

They called it paradise I don't know why
You called this place paradise, kiss it goodbye
Don Henley

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