Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
The Ta’an Kwach’an Council and its development corporation have withdrawn their proposal to build a gravel quarry next to Valleyview.
The withdrawal came Tuesday afternoon – just 3 1/2 hours before city council was to conduct a public hearing on the proposed amendment to the Official Community Plan (OCP).
At the beginning of council’s meeting, Mayor Dan Curtis said the city received notice of the withdrawal shortly before 2 p.m. No reason was given.
Ta’an Kwach’an Chief Kristina Kane did not respond this morning to the Star’s request for comment.
Ben Asquith, the CEO of the Da Daghay Development Corp., said in an email Tuesday afternoon he would not be commenting on the withdrawal of the application at the 11th hour.
The mayor apologized to anyone who had come to city hall to participate in the public hearing.
It appeared efforts by the city and others to pass on news of the withdrawal through social media were successful, as it looked like there was just one individual in the public gallery who was there for the public hearing.
The application raised the ire of the Valleyview Community Association and area residents. They were concerned that approving the application for a quarry would destroy the community comfort and character the OCP is designed to protect.
The 12.2-hectare parcel of land in question is a piece of Ta’an settlement land, sitting between Valleyview and Hillcrest, off the Alaska Highway.
Da Daghay was proposing to quarry the area over several years as a means of lowering the site elevation.
Currently, Da Daghay maintains, the ground elevation is too high to allow for its proposed residential and commercial development because of its proximity to the airport and federal flight regulations.
The development corporation was proposing to quarry the site over five or so years, depending on market demand for gravel.
Once the elevation was lowered, it would be available for some form of development, the corporation maintained.
The parcel is currently designated urban residential. Da Daghay was seeking to have the site designated natural resources, which would allow for quarrying operations.
It was also seeking a reduction in the normal 300-metre buffer zone between quarries and residential subdivisions.
Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, explained after the council meeting the development corporation can’t return with the same application for a year, unless city council votes to agree.
Gau pointed out the Ta’an Kwach’an Council has the ability, under its self-government agreement, to take down authority over planning and zoning.
But any planning or zoning initiative inside the city would require city hall’s approval, he said.
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