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Council removes Old Town hotel restriction

Hotels and motels will be conditionally permitted, with any development approvals coming before council.

Old Town will be conditionally open to hotel and motels, but any development would require council approval.
Avery Zingel/NNSL photo

There is a lack of clarity in the bylaw about what “east of Franklin” in Old Town means, said senior administrative officer Sheila Bassi-Kellett.

“It does cause a lot of grief in its interpretation,” she said.

Coun. Julian Morse stated his opposition to the motion.

“Old Town is a very important community to Yellowknife for the character of this town and for tourism. This is something that's important enough that we need to consult with residents on it,” said Morse.

There is an opportunity to do that through the community plan, said Morse.
“Old Town is too important to consider a change this significant without due consideration.”

Any change to the bylaw should clarify what the wording means, said Coun. Niels Konge.

In a letter to the city, resident Lois Little stated her opposition to hotels in the mixed use zone, other than conditional use.

Such use should be “subject to no additional parking requirements, no additional traffic congestion and enhancing rather than diminishing the unique and historic integrity of the neighbourhood that is the Old Town,” she wrote.

Changing minor wording in bylaws can have unintended effects, said Bell, adding that residents will have no assurance that future councils will leave the neighbourhood as-is.

“One or two wrong moves can completely change the character of the neighbourhood and we have to be extremely careful so I will be voting against the motion,” said Bell.

Any development would have to get council approval, though there are no interested developers on the horizon, said Bassi-Kellett.