Whistle Bend project underway in Whitehorse
As the City of Whitehorse grows, so will its new subdivision.
Even though nobody lives there yet, consultants and city planners released ideas for the next phases of the new residential subdivision.
Phases 1 and 2 of Whistle Bend are under construction and plans for the next three phases are up for discussion.
The subdivision will eventually house about 8,000 people. The lead planning consultant for the next three phases is focusing on quality of life.
"Key thing is making it a livable neighbourhood, so we want it to be a place that people want to come, raise families, enjoy living in this neighbourhood," said Rob Barrs, HB Lanarc Consultants. "We want it be very walkable, so the pedestrian orientation is very important for us," he said.
Barrs says another feature is a mix of lot sizes and types to encourage the construction of diverse and more affordable housing.
The president of the Yukon Real Estate Association says that makes sense.
"You'll have smaller lots, you'll have townhouses, you'll have duplexes, condominium style homes. The more options that are available, I think people will really appreciate it," said Mike Racz from Yukon Real Estate Association.
Racz says overall it's a good plan, but the area being developed has long been used by nearby residents for biking and walking.
Jane McIntyre, who has been taking in stray dogs for more than 30 years, often walks her dogs in the area. She's unhappy about the development.
"Because of the animals and the wildlife and everything, everything interacts and when we spoil it like this you wonder what's happening," said McIntyre.
Others are unhappy the city is not dealing with the issue of road access during this process. The city is considering building a road through a popular greenbelt area to connect the new subdivision to the Alaska Highway.
Critics say that could be the most contentious issue about the subdivision.
"I’m pretty concerned that the proposed road that would go right across McIntyre Creek isn't being talked about in this context because if they're saying it's an integral part of the Whistle Bend project, people need to hear about it," said Karen Baltgalis from the Yukon Conservation Society.
City officials say their road access plans will be revealed in December. Lots are expected to go on sale by 2015.