Yukon gives OK to Takhini Hot Springs housing development
'We have been getting frustrated about the delays,' said Garry Umbrich of Takhini Hot Springs Ltd.
Construction can begin at the Takhini Hot Springs near Whitehorse, after the Yukon government voted this week to approve a rezoning of the property.
The project by Takhini Hot Springs Ltd. would see a new recreational pool facility built, along with nine commercial homes. The nine homes would be built just off of Takhini River Road, on the same property as the current hot springs facility.
The company started constructing the new pools last year, but the project was put on hold when the Takhini Hot Springs Residents Association sued Yukon's Department of Energy, Mines and Resources for signing a development agreement with the company before properly consulting them.
The 2017 Yukon Supreme Court ruling found the government indeed did not properly consult with the residents, and the court forced the project to halt so consultation could happen.
The ruling required there to be a public meeting, a rezoning of the property, and site plans to be released for public input in order the development to move forward.
In June 2017, the company held a public meeting about the property and has been waiting for cabinet approval of the rezoning ever since.
"We have been getting frustrated about the delays," said Garry Umbrich, president of Takhini Hot Springs Ltd.
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The lot was previously zoned to allow for the development of mixed-use/tourism accommodation, with two residential dwellings as part of the lot where a primary commercial use is already established.
"We are very pleased that the government has responded to our concerns and has responded to our assertion that we have the right to develop these homes," said Umbrich.
He said the nine homes are essential to help pay for the development of the new hot springs pools and facilities.
Jerome McIntyre, director of land planning for the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, said it is not uncommon for rezoning applications like this to take a year or longer.
"We don't usually have rezoning applications that are subject to court action or have as much external concern from neighbours," he said.
Umbrich hopes the project will be completed by next year. Then the homes will be put on the commercial market.
He expects the new hot springs facility be open by 2020.