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Councillors pick Niven layout

Adam Johnson
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 15, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - Last week, Yellowknife got a first look at the latest phase of the Niven Lake subdivision, and councillors are hoping it will go over better than the last one.

Councillors decided on the final layout of Niven Lake Phase 7 at a Aug. 8 council meeting, choosing from three available options.

"Do we have assurances that we will not have another Niven Lake Phase 6?" asked Coun. Shelagh Montgomery before making her choice.

The last phase of the Niven Lake project raised a furor among councillors and the public, as concerns were raised about the plots being built too close to the existing Niven Lake trail.

"This does seem to be the most trail-friendly (phase) that we've seen," said public works director Greg Kehoe.

The option councillors decided on includes 68 plots for new housing, two parks, additions to existing trails and 2.42 hectares of land set aside for medium-density housing.

While the plan borders the existing snow machine trail, engineers left a "buffer" between it and the planned lots - something Montgomery said she might like to see increased.

"Is it possible to slightly reduce the size of the lots?" she asked.

Coun. Lydia Bardak praised the addition of more affordable housing to the plan, though she acknowledged the subdivision was still "not the greatest for increased density."

Dennis Kefalas, manager of public works with the city, said once council made its decision, the plots could be finalized in October, blasting could begin in April, and the lots would be available as early as July 1 of next year.

"Congratulations on finally realizing the construction season starts in April," said Mayor Gord Van Tighem with a chuckle.

While Coun. Paul Falvo said he supported the plan, he wanted to hear more public input on the design.

"I'd feel much more confident if we didn't put (the plan) before council today," he said.

"There has been considerable public discussion on this already," responded Coun. David Wind. "I would not want to introduce more delay."

He said Yellowknifers are clearly hungry for more land, and council should keep pace.

Councillors voted unanimously to adopt the plan.