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Growth plan sent back

Lisa Scott
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (July 15/05) - A proposal to implement part of a controversial residential growth plan has been sent back to city administration for more work.

The decision came after a two-and-a-half hour special meeting of council's municipal services committee

The Residential Growth study is heading back to administration to redraft the city's development strategy with several recommendations:

  • Find a long term solution to protect undeveloped land zoned as Nature Preservation
  • Delay any decisions on housing development for three sites in the Taylor Road Area near the Pud Lake tailings pond to 2008.
  • Apply to the territorial government to transfer Tin Can Hill and Con Camp land to city ownership this year, rather than next year.
  • Integrate the recently completed Parks, Trails and Open Spaces study findings and the city's general plan into the growth study.
  • Do an inventory of all green spaces in the city, including details on vegetation and habitat to include in the growth study.
  • Start the next phase of the Niven Lake subdivision this year.

  • Tuesday night, attended by dozens of city residents.

    The meeting wasn't what David Wind, spokesperson for a group of concerned citizens, was looking for.

    "We felt that all the green spaces, particularly those that were in existing neighbourhoods, should be maintained for the value they add to those neighbourhoods," he said.

    Found fault

    Wind was pleased that various councillors found fault with the growth study.

    He said he still hoped the city will apply to the territorial government for access to commissioner's land for new residential development.

    "There's considerable land within the municipal boundaries that is available, presumably, to the city for development," he said.

    That land is zoned "Growth Management" and much of it is being held in reserve for land claims with First Nations groups, such as the Yellowknives Dene.

    The study pinpointed 15 city-owned sites scattered throughout Yellowknife, categorizing their feasibility for housing. Ten of the sites targeted are zoned either parks and recreation or nature preservation.

    Tuesday's meeting picked up where a June 23 session left off - with the recommendation to adopt an implementation strategy decided on after public input and comments were taken into consideration.

    Referred to as "Option #3," the one-page strategy offers short, mid-and long-term development plans for the city, ranging from starting development on the next phase of the Niven Lake subdivision this year to waiting until 2008 to examine housing possibilities in the area known as the sand pits.

    Haggled over options

    Councillors haggled over the options, to cheers or murmurs from the audience.

    Coun. Wendy Bisaro asked to send the plan back to administration and factor in the recently completed Parks, Trails and Open Spaces study and the city's general plan.

    "We have a wealth of knowledge available to us and I think it's great to get those comments and suggestions," she said.

    Coun. Kevin O'Reilly asked for an inventory of all the green space in the city to be done before a decision is made. "I'm not convinced we can make good decisions about any of these sites without that information in front of us," he said.

    Coun. Mark Heyck, well known for his opposition to developing Tin Can Hill, supported approval of the proposal.