North

Whitehorse city council gives 1st reading of Alaska Highway drive-thru application

Whitehorse city council has given first reading to a new zoning bylaw that would allow a drive-thru restaurant near the top of Two Mile Hill.

The proposed business — not named in council documents — would be built on empty lot near airport

The proposed drive-thru restaurant would be built on this empty lot on Range Road, just off the Alaska Highway and adjacent to the airport. City council would first need to approve a rezoning application for the project to move forward. (Paul Tukker/ CBC)

Whitehorse city council has given first reading to a new bylaw considering a zoning application that would allow a new drive-thru restaurant near the top of Two Mile Hill.

The proposed business — not named in council documents — would be built on an empty lot on Range Road, just off the Alaska Highway and adjacent to the airport. The lot's zoning currently allows for an eating or drinking establishment, but not with a drive-thru. That would require an amendment approved by council. 

Councillors have expressed concern about the development, and some say it could take business from the downtown area.

But councillor Dan Boyd says that traffic is the big issue, and also let it slip at this week's council meeting what the development might be.

"It would be 1,000 visits or trips potentially through a busy drive-thru, if you built a Dairy Queen, or whatever this might be, downtown or if you built it at the top of the Two Mile hill," said Boyd.

Whatever the development might be, it has raised questions about long-term planning for the city.

Mayor Dan Curtis says there is only so much space that can be built on, and that the city should think about long-term planning.

"Quite frankly I think our downtown is outgrowing itself. That's not to suggest I want something that enables people to get what they need and keep on going. I don't want that," Curtis said.

"But I think that the services in the capital city and people here and the things they can see and do is going to be the real draw, not the fact there is perhaps a drive-thru on top of the south access or on top of the Two Mile Hill," said Curtis.

The bylaw to rezone the area on Range Road to allow for drive-thru services is now open for public comment.

A public hearing on the proposed development is scheduled for March 22.

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