Whitehorse 2040: Official Community Plan Review

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

City Council Review - Whitehorse 2040: Official Community Plan Review

City Council has reviewed the proposed Whitehorse 2040: Official Community Plan. Following their review, they have made a number of amendments which could impact you.

As a result of these changes, a Second Public Hearing was held on November 28, 2022.

Staff will provide a summary of the feedback to Council on January 9th, 2023.

Read the Proposed Whitehorse 2040 Official Community Plan.

The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the City's highest-level planning document, and will set the direction for Whitehorse until 2040.

The OCP process began in 2018, and has included the following phases to date:

  • Phase 1 - Awareness Building: open houses, ad hoc meetings, stakeholder meetings, and a survey;
  • Phase 2 - Explore News Concepts: ideas workbook, neighbourhood workshops, stakeholder meetings, and pop-up events;
  • Phase 3a - Emerging Directions: series of workshops where Council reviewed Administration's preliminary policy ideas for the new OCP. Many sources informed the policy ideas, including OCP public input and existing City plans. This phase cumulated with the production of an Emerging Directions document, summarizing major policy ideas reviewed with previous Council. Input on these ideas was received through a survey, released in August 2021; and
  • Phase 3b - Create the Plan: series of workshops where Council reviewed draft policies for the new OCP. A Draft OCP was released to the public in May 2022, and engagement ran to mid-June. Various engagement opportunities were provided, including online sessions, open houses, and a survey.
  • Phase 4 - OCP Approval
    • First Public Hearing: September 12, 2022.
    • Council Review: Council reviewed the plan on October 3, and at second reading on October 11, Council voted to send it back to Administration following a number of amendments.
    • Second Public Hearing: November 28, 2022.
    • Council Review: Council will review the proposed plan on January 9th, 2023 and at the second and third readings on January 16th, 2023, Council will vote on whether to adopt or send the proposed plan back to Administration with amendments.

Public engagement for this project is now closed.

City Council Review - Whitehorse 2040: Official Community Plan Review

City Council has reviewed the proposed Whitehorse 2040: Official Community Plan. Following their review, they have made a number of amendments which could impact you.

As a result of these changes, a Second Public Hearing was held on November 28, 2022.

Staff will provide a summary of the feedback to Council on January 9th, 2023.

Read the Proposed Whitehorse 2040 Official Community Plan.

The Official Community Plan (OCP) is the City's highest-level planning document, and will set the direction for Whitehorse until 2040.

The OCP process began in 2018, and has included the following phases to date:

  • Phase 1 - Awareness Building: open houses, ad hoc meetings, stakeholder meetings, and a survey;
  • Phase 2 - Explore News Concepts: ideas workbook, neighbourhood workshops, stakeholder meetings, and pop-up events;
  • Phase 3a - Emerging Directions: series of workshops where Council reviewed Administration's preliminary policy ideas for the new OCP. Many sources informed the policy ideas, including OCP public input and existing City plans. This phase cumulated with the production of an Emerging Directions document, summarizing major policy ideas reviewed with previous Council. Input on these ideas was received through a survey, released in August 2021; and
  • Phase 3b - Create the Plan: series of workshops where Council reviewed draft policies for the new OCP. A Draft OCP was released to the public in May 2022, and engagement ran to mid-June. Various engagement opportunities were provided, including online sessions, open houses, and a survey.
  • Phase 4 - OCP Approval
    • First Public Hearing: September 12, 2022.
    • Council Review: Council reviewed the plan on October 3, and at second reading on October 11, Council voted to send it back to Administration following a number of amendments.
    • Second Public Hearing: November 28, 2022.
    • Council Review: Council will review the proposed plan on January 9th, 2023 and at the second and third readings on January 16th, 2023, Council will vote on whether to adopt or send the proposed plan back to Administration with amendments.

Public engagement for this project is now closed.

Questions and Answers

Do you have a question about the Draft Official Community Plan (OCP)? Ask your questions away and a member of the project team will either:

  • respond as soon as possible, 
  • post the answer in the Frequently Asked Questions tool on the right-hand side of the main page, or 
  • consider and incorporate your feedback into our finalization of the OCP. 

You need to be signed in to add your question.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    If a developer wants to built a new high building in south downtown is there any obligation to notify neighbours of the proposal? I'm wondering if neighbours have an opportunity to comment on things like sight-lines, shadows on gardens or solar panels, etc. before the project is approved. I think they do if what is proposed is a "variance" but I wonder when it is a radical change from current but allowed. It would be a lot easier for neighbours to have influence before development approval vs objecting after and to not have to just trust the development approval committee of officials will anticipate all their potential concerns.

    Fred asked 3 months ago

    Thank you for your question about increased Downtown building height allowances and public notifications for new developments.

     

    Under the current development review process, if a new development meets the zoning bylaw requirements, there is no obligation for the City to notify surrounding residents of the development application. 

     

    This question and the concerns expressed will be included in the Second Public Hearing Report for the Proposed OCP, to be considered by Council prior to the adoption of the Proposed OCP. 

     

    Please note that a Zoning Bylaw rewrite will occur following the adoption of the Proposed OCP. You will have another opportunity to voice these concerns during the Public Engagement period of this rewrite.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Are there provisions to reduce dust in the long term? Specifically the clouds of dust generated by the batch plant and sand/gravel operation near Ear Lake. other places too. I see clouds of dust every day when it's not winter, and the south wind brings it downtown and elsewhere. Also, measures to require in springtime the watering of surfaces where dust removal is taking place after a winter of sanding. We witness giant clouds of dust that cover cars, roads, sidewalks, plants, gardens, homes etc when this happens. That could be reduced. Whitehorse does not have to be a "dirty dusty town."

    Citymax2021! asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for your comment about the creation and impact of dust in the community. 

    Your comment will be considered during the final review/ revisions of the OCP and reflected in our summary of what we heard during this process for Council's consideration.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Some country residential areas have restrictive zoning (i.e. RC2x) limiting garden and living suites. I believe these should be removed to increase rental availability. Could this be reviewed with the community plan?

    Charles N asked 8 months ago

    Thank you for your question!

    The actual zoning of specific properties, or the language/ regulations used in the RC2 zone, is captured under the Zoning Bylaw; however, the OCP provides high-level policy guidance to the Zoning Bylaw. 

    For this topic, policies surrounding secondary suites and Country Residential areas can be found in Section 10 Housing and Section 14.15 Residential - Country

    Following the OCP's approval, the Zoning Bylaw will be updated to ensure consistency with the OCP --at that time, specific changes to the RC2 zone, and RC2x sub-zone, may be completed.  

    For now, we will consider your question as feedback as we do final reviews/ revisions of the OCP, and specifically the sections as listed above.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    RE: Pedestrian Safety- Safe Active Transportation What Traffic calming measures will be implemented in all Whitehorse residential neighbourhoods? Implementing traffic calming measures in key areas, such as schools and residential neighbourhoods, can help reduce both driver speed and injuries. For example, reducing the speed limit to 30km/h in a UK residential neighbourhood saw a 67% reduction in crashes with child pedestrians and cyclists, and an overall speed reduction of 15km/h.

    Northstar asked 8 months ago

    The City is not considering new traffic calming in neighbourhoods at this time. 

    The City has heard from residents about the desire for more traffic calming in residential neighbourhoods. Through the development of the Transportation Master Plan, the City is exploring ways to potentially formalize a traffic calming policy with the goal to create an equitable and consistent approach that considers the needs of all road users, maintenance operations, emergency response needs, and impacted residents.

    Keep posted on the Transportation Master Plan project on EngageWhitehorse.ca!

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Why is the City choosing to expand the Urban Containment Area to include Copper Ridge South (more greenfield development and sprawl)? This seems to directly contradict sustainability objectives, sprawl minimization and complete community objectives, and financial management objectives. Why plan for a new area if its not needed. Why don't we just make the most of our existing infrastructure and develop within. Surely this is better for taxpayers.

    9 months ago

    Based on the staff prepared “Accommodating Future Residential Demand in Whitehorse” report published in August 2021, the City needs to ensure opportunities to allow for at least new 6,150 units to accommodate growth to 2040. This number accounts for a number of factors, including a 25 % contingency to 2030. 

    There are many remaining growth and redevelopment opportunities which could accommodate Whitehorse’s housing requirements to 2040 without developing the South Growth Area. These opportunities include redevelopment in the Downtown, residential intensification, completion of Whistle Bend, development on settlement lands and the development of the South Valleyview Area (i.e. Tank Farm and surrounding area). 

    The South Growth Area is proposed to be planned no that it is ready for construction in the case where other development opportunities are not advanced. Acknowledging that planning of a large-scale neighbourhood such as the South Growth Area will take many years, the Draft Official Community Plan calls for further planning and feasibility studies. Once the planning for this area is complete government partners will be in a position to advance the development of the South Growth Area when it is needed. The timing of the development or construction of this area would be informed by the status of other developments and up-to-date population projections.  

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Hi, I am finding this planning process a bit overwhelming in terms of length and exceptionally verbose reading material. I feel like I have to wade through so much planning material, none which is concrete. To this effect, I'm wondering if somebody can help me by answering some basic questions or point me to the plan(s) where it speaks to my questions. 1. There are so many 'plans' all in some stage of draft regarding trails. Is there a plan to have a paved trail WITHIN city limits along the Alaska Highway at some point? I am having a hard time understanding all this commuting / low carbon / active transport jargon however I live in Mt Sima / Whitehorse Copper (city limits - not the urban containment boundary) and there are really no options for me to get to work and my kid to daycare safely besides driving, without biking on the AK highway which really isn't feasible. 2. Will the city ever provide transit hubs or services outside the urban containment boundary? 3. I have a hard time understanding how my taxes have increased almost 20% yet we have received little to no upgrades in services. We have no infrastructure or trail development (there may be one trail planned for Whitehorse Copper?) no sidewalks, we have to walk on the road with kids and dogs. Theres no way to commute besides vehicle. We have no garbage, sewer, water etc, all that happens is snowploughing. I'd like to understand how rural residential areas are actually part of the new City Plan, rather than always being left out. Thanks

    Jennifer Sharp asked 9 months ago

    Thank you Jennifer for your comments and questions. Find below some answers, that hopefully you'll find helpful:

    1. The Alaska Highway is owned and managed by the Government of Yukon. As such, infrastructure improvements are managed by YG. When such improvements are planned, City Administration provides technical comments to YG staff so that the improvements meet the needs of the community by providing active transportation trails as an example.

    Current Alaska Highway improvement projects are described on this page: 

    https://yukon.ca/en/alaska-highway-safety-improvements

    For more information on Whitehorse area improvement upgrades, YG has provided this email : hpw-info@yukon.ca

    2. The City follows the Transit Master Plan. Currently, there are no plans to extend transit services outside of the urban containment boundary. 

    3. The City property tax is a community levy charged across all properties to maintain the programs and services for the entire community as opposed to a ‘fee for service’ like water and sewer or waste pick-up. These services are billed, in addition to property taxes, directly to urban dwellers that receive these services.

    Country Residential taxpayers can enjoy virtually the same services as urban dwellers; commuting in the city center on the same roads, with the same street lights, and having access to the same city departments, including fire, bylaw, and recreation.

    The City strives to keep property tax increases as low as possible and levy only what is needed to maintain services and make improvements where needed. Therefore, your specific property tax bill will vary year by year according to your property assessment and the City’s mil rate. In assessment years, when property values increase, the City typically rolls back the mil rate to offset the full increase in taxes that owners would typically pay. This is in line with the principle that the City will only tax what is absolutely needed to deliver all City services.

    The video below explains how municipal property taxes are calculated based on property assessments and the cost of municipal services. Please note that Yukon properties are reassessed every two years and not every four years as per the video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgGbLotF_QQ

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Reason I disapprove of Holly Street housing is some of the land shown will be very expensive to develop. (Bedrock) Should be drilled and mapped.

    Roy asked 9 months ago

    Thank you Roy for your comment. Your comment will be reflected in our summary public input report for Council consideration.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I noticed that there is a plan to increase density and building heights downtown. I think people are generally open (myself included) to increase in density so long as the City around them provides the things that they trade for tighter spaces. In increased density, I find that people tend to rely more on public spaces to provide them what a "backyard" would provide them. From my interpretation of the OCP, it seems as if density will be increased, particularly in the Downtown, but there is no commitment to increasing community amenity space, parks, greenspace, working with YG to increase schools, child care, and other services that people need in the downtown area when density is increased. Please correct me if my interpretation is wrong. If it is not, please consider this as my feedback (I also added this to the survey) or as a question as to why a significant increase in services and community amenity space was not included. I would love to see a linear park or greenway in the middle of Downtown. Perhaps along 3rd Avenue or Black Street, Wood Street. Or have our park spaces in the Downtown improved. I love Shipyards Park but I think Rotary Park and Jim Light Park could use a bit of love.

    8 months ago

    Thank you for your comments - they will be considered for the Final Draft OCP.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Will the City make a solar policy as a part of this OCP or consider shadow impacts to adjacent buildings on a case by case basis? I am very concerned about raising the building heights so extensively and impacts on shadows. Downtown already experiences high shadow impacts during evenings because of the escarpment and during the winter. I feel as though we should not be building that much higher as the shadow impacts will be very significant. Can we not just continue mid rise, gentle density, 4 story mixed use? Will the towers be confined to set locations?

    8 months ago

    Thank you for your comment. The Draft OCP includes the following policies:

    8.20 To facilitate intensification of uses in the Downtown, the City will:

    ii. Consider increased building heights or lot coverage in selected areas.

    14.8.7 To promote the concentration of commercial and higher-density residential uses within the Downtown, buildings up to 32.5m may be considered.

    Factors that should be reviewed during the consideration of approving taller buildings include: (...)

    • Proposed approach to accommodating parking requirements;

    • Proximity to active transportation and transit routes;

    • Architectural design of the building and visual impact it will have on the streetscape,

    both on the street it is proposed and those surrounding, specifically on Main Street;

    • The transition between the proposed building and allowable development for those surrounding;

    • Creation of shadows to surrounding properties;

    • View corridors;

    • Capacity of the City’s fire response system; and

    • Capacity of the City’s municipal servicing network.

    Through the Draft OCP engagement, we've received a lot of interest on this topic - our next step is reviewing the comments. Please keep posted for the What We Heard report and the Final Draft OCP!

Page last updated: 23 Dec 2022, 08:57 AM