Yellowknife city council moved its community plan through second reading at a Thursday night special council meeting.
The meeting took place following statutory public hearing and government priorities committee meetings last week that brought forth three main amendments involving whether Curry Drive would remain part of Kam Lake vs. the new Kam Lake South division; the definition of agriculture uses and to what extent Kam Lake property owners can offer tourism operations and services.
The document, which in the end passed unanimously, will now go to the minister of Municipal and Community Affairs for approval before being taken to Indigenous governments for consultation and brought back to council for third reading.
Mayor Rebecca Alty stated that now that the community plan is complete, there will be more work in the new year on updating the city’s zoning bylaw and getting into specifics around permitted uses of land.
She said it is to be expected that residents will be passionate about the direction of their neighbourhoods when it comes to land use and said she appreciated feedback and suggestions from residents.
“With community plan discussions and all planning and zoning discussions, I think you will find that people are passionate about their community and how they want to have uses in the community,” she said. “I would be concerned if people were apathetic and didn’t come out and didn’t care or didn’t express how they wanted their community to develop.”
Council discussion on Thursday night focused on community plan portions concerning Kam Lake and Kam Lake South and had councillors debating and seeking reference with administration officials over a nearly two-hour period.
Curry Drive loop
City council voted against adding Kam Lake’s Curry Drive loop to the Kam Lake South neighbourhood which had been been proposed by city administration in the community plan.
In a close vote, Couns. Niels Konge, Cynthia Mufandaedza, Steve Payne, Robin Williams and Rommel Silverio successfully kept the loop in that neighbourhood. Mayor Rebecca Alty and Couns. Shauna Morgan, Stacie Smith and Julian Morse opposed.
The biggest impact this decision will have is that it will mean no further dog kennels to be constructed in Kam Lake, said Alty.
“If Curry Drive is included in Kam Lake South, kennels will be allowed because kennels are allowed in Kam Lake South,” Alty said Thursday. “If Curry Drive gets put into Kam Lake, no further kennels (than the ones that exist) will be allowed.”
Those that do exist will be grandfathered, she added.
Kam Lake South will be a multi-use area with its main intent being to provide future lots that have dog kennels with residences and accessory units. Kam Lake South will also allow tourism and commercial recreation operations, some quarrying, along with agriculture.
Konge had attempted to restrict increased agriculture use in the Kam Lake area due to its close proximity to the different businesses and residents. He later withdrew the motion as most councillors indicated that it made more sense to present restrictions to specific practices when council looks at updating the zoning bylaw.
Coun. Robin Williams also successfully removed a clause that restricted tourism operations in Kam Lake with an amendment to the city’s plan. Only Morgan, Alty, and Konge opposed.
His amendment had largely been based around a presentation by Kam Lake businessman Eric Sputek the week before which had limited property owners in Kam Lake and their ability to develop as they see fit.
Rommel Silverio, a city councillor who lives in Kam Lake and was a candidate for the district in October for the territorial election said he tried to make decisions that would allow for Kam Lake neighbours to get along. Given that there was some differences in views between dog mushers trying to protect their cultural practice in the area and nearby homeowners trying to protect their property values, he thought council did as best as it could.
“It was reasonable because we are not kicking out anybody in Kam Lake,” he said. “We are just trying to make sure there are enough buffers there.
“It is not perfect and I don’t think we will make it perfect. We just want to try to make sure everyone gets along because it is a neighbourhood and we need to live with our neighbours. We need a good relationship with each other and to be civil with each other.”