Residents adjacent to undeveloped land failed to prevent the municipality from choosing to move ahead with plans to develop residences in their area.
On Jan. 23, council unanimously approved a motion to “direct administration to initiate planning applications… in support of infill and densification development” in affected areas at Burwash Drive, Con Road, School Draw, Niven Drive, Taylor Road and the Niven Phase 8 expansion behind Moyle Drive.
More than 20 people attended in an effort to prevent the development from proceeding in the specified locations.
Resident Jeremy MacDonald made a presentation recommending that the municipality not take the expansion near Moyle Drive into consideration for infill because city dwellers make use the nearby trails and open space, there’s a lack of parking space, and there are drainage issues in the area.
Claire Mennell presented signatures of more than 50 people who live in the Niven subdivision or use the trails in the area.
She also said that she chose to live near Moyle Drive because of all the green space, and that she built a garden in her backyard that relies on the afternoon sun, which she says will be blocked if development in that area proceeds.
City manager Sheila Bassi-Kellett said the primary reason for densification as opposed to building a new sub-division in Yellowknife is mainly because of the tax impact on building new infrastructure.
Coun. Rob Warburton said that Yellowknife needs new homes.
“The reality right now is we have people who have no homes. We have zero vacancies for rentals. We have essentially no properties for sale for families. We’re in a housing crisis,” he said. “We have a 40 per cent vacancy in health and a lot of those positions can’t be filled because we can’t find homes for people to live in. We need new homes.”
Charlsey White, Yellowknife’s planning director, said the population loss from the closure of the Diavik Diamond Mine in 2025 was taken into consideration when deciding if there is a need for new homes in Yellowknife.
The number of housing units the municipality intends to develop has not yet been determined.
White told council that the number of lots to be created and therefore the density of dwelling units, will be determined through the comprehensive land use planning process.