City of Whitehorse to sell Ogilvie Street escarpment lots
Some residents wanted land to be public park
Whitehorse City Council has decided to sell two lots on Ogilvie Street despite calls for the land to be used for a park and extension of a nearby community garden.
Council voted 4-3 Tuesday night to sell the lots.
Lots 706 and 708 on Ogilvie Street are the only undeveloped plots of land north of Main Street. The city bought the lots at the base of the cliffs from private owners in the 1970s when the land was deemed unsafe due to concerns about the integrity of the escarpment.
A current assessment indicates the lots are safe for buildings.
Some councillors like Dave Stockade say it's in line with the city's sustainability plan.
"Let's infill where we can," he said. "You know you have to do these little things in order to follow that particular plan."
Councillor Mike Gladish agrees and points to the upgrades planned for Ogilvie Street.
"I'd say the timing is just right."
But not all members of council agree with the sale and some don't support the current zoning that allows for a six-storey building. Council discussed the possibility of reviewing the zoning before the lots go up for sale.
Sally Wright of the Escarpment Parks Society objects to the sale and development of the lots.
"I think of infill as being between buildings and gaps in our community," she said.
"I wouldn't call this a gap, I would call this more of a neighbourhood resource and a common area. It's the commons and what they're looking at is privatizing our commons."
Wright says there are already plenty of available lots in the downtown area.
At the same meeting, council decided not to sell a pair of lots on Wann Road in Porter Creek. They'll remain vacant for now, with the option for future development.
"It's about timing," says city councillor John Streicker. "So up in Porter Creek we know that Whistle Bend is really starting to pick up and so maybe it's not the right timing to do it there, but we still want to sort of keep it a potential down the road and here council decided that they wanted to go forward."
Streicker didn't vote to open the Ogilvie lots. He says he wants to focus densification efforts in other undeveloped areas like the south end of downtown.
The lots will be sold together for a minimum bidding price of $395,000.