Proposed zoning in a new area of the city called Kam Lake South is raising the hackles of some residents concerned over the placement of new lots for sled dogs.

The district, which encompasses parts of the existing Kam Lake industrial park but also the new residential area at Grace Lake and undeveloped land along the west shore of Kam Lake, would be home to quarrying, residences, agriculture and dog lots. Hearing the draft report’s presentation in committee on Monday, city councillor Niels Konge expressed several concerns over the zoning proposal.

Coun. Niels Konge expressed some concerns about the new plan on Monday. Nick Pearce / NNSL photo

In a document presented to council, unnamed residents also shared their reservations. One called placing homes next to a low-impact commercial-mix zone and kennels as “absolute lunacy.” Another took issue with the kennel’s placement near Grace Lake, a high-end residential area, while one resident worried that run-off from dog waste and agriculture would contaminate the “pristine” lake. 

The comments further noted issues around noise and odour. 

Explaining that she didn’t find the various uses compatible, Coun. Cynthia Mufandaedza said she struggled to see how “quarrying next to dogs next to agriculture” would work.

Konge said the Grace Lake surroundings were key.

“It’s important that we don’t put incompatible uses right next to each other,” Konge said. “If somebody lives in the downtown, do they want heavy industrial right next door? Do they want a dog lot right next door to them?”

He said the estate-style residential housing in Grace Lake doesn’t work with the uses proposed nearby, adding it’s a large enough area so those concerns ought to be alleviated.

Transferring Commissioner’s Land to the city would freed up more space for zoning. Konge suggested during the plan’s presentation that all the Commissioner’s Land in the area be handed over to the municipality, telling Yellowknifer later that the lack of free-up Commissioner’s Land was hampering city growth.

“We’re handcuffed to these archaic, paternalistic land policies that don’t allow any community to grow,” Konge said.  

Mayor Rebecca Alty speaks to reporters at City Hall on Monday.
Nick Pearce / NNSL Photo

Asked about the situation, Mayor Rebecca Alty told reporters the strategy covers general planning, while an upcoming update will further specify uses.

“It’ll be a bit more to think about how we’re going to balance all the competing needs in a land-locked area,” she said. 

Regarding Commissioner’s Land, the “piece-meal” nature of land transfers is part of the issue, she said. 

“If we don’t know what the land the GNWT’s going to transfer, it’s hard for us to properly plan. We would definitely like to see the GNWT transfer over the untenured Commissioner’s Land,” Alty told reporters,  meaning lands not identified under Akaitcho land claims. 


Nick Pearce

Nick Pearce is a writer and reporter in Yellowknife, looking for unique stories on the environment and people that make up the North. He's a graduate of Queen's University, where he studied Global Development...

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