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NNSL photo/graphic

David Wind and his neighbours are joining forces to battle city hall. They are challenging a plan in the residential growth study, which calls for re-zoning green spaces. This green space is just behind Wind's home.

Green vanishing trick

Kent Driscoll
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (June 08/05) - An ad hoc group that wants to save Yellowknife's vanishing pockets of green space hopes to turn city council away from a plan to zone it for residential development.

NNSL photo/graphic

Commercial and industrial needs are expected to consume 88 hectares over the next 15 years.

Space for 2,000 dwellings needed to house an anticipated 5,600 new residents will take up to 203 hectares by 2019.

Green space totals 51.14 hectares scattered throughout Yellowknife.

  • Total Hectares within Municipal boundaries: 13,660
  • Total Hectares land: 10,297
  • Total Hectares water: 3,363
  • Total Hectares not in use: 5,556
  • Total Hectares Deemed unsuitable for development: 1,667
  • Total Hectares Deemed suitable for development: 3,889

    Source: Yellowknife General Plan

  • "The land lends character to the neighbourhoods," said David Wind, a retired businessman who is spokesman for the group. Wind was also a candidate in the last territorial election.

    "You're reminded that Yellowknife is a city on the Canadian Shield, north of 60."

    Wind wants to know why the city's latest residential growth study looks to infill on 51.14 hectares of scattered green space instead of using 3,889 hectares so-called growth management lands.

    All the land outside of central Yellowknife - but within municipal boundaries - is zoned "growth management."

    City bylaws state that the goal of growth management zoning is "to protect undeveloped areas from premature sub-division and development... so that future development may proceed in an orderly and well planned manner."

    Almost all of the growth management land is also Commissioner's Land - held in reserve to settle unresolved First Nations land claims.

    The territorial government has set a deadline of Sept. 1 to decide which lands go to the Yellowknives Dene and which go to the city.

    Dettah Chief Peter Liske said last month that he would contest all development on Commissioner's Land if the city did not agree to lease an area known as the Sand Pits to the First Nation.

    Chief Liske speaks for the residents of Dettah, a part of the Yellowknives Dene.

    The Yellowknives Dene are members of the Akaitcho First Nations, the umbrella group negotiating with the federal government on unresolved land claims.

    Of 15 sites proposed for re-zoning in the residential growth study, only Tin Can Hill -- territorial government land -- is not owned by the city.

    Wind believes the city is "shying away from dealing with the territorial government" because of outstanding land claims.

    The residential growth study will be discussed at a public meeting at William McDonald School at 7 p.m. tonight (June 8).

    City planner David Widdis and manager of planning and lands Monte Christensen will make the presentation.

    The public will be able to ask questions and provide written comments for the council.

    Written comments will be accepted until June 15.

    They will be discussed at the municipal services committee meeting, at 12:05 p.m. in the lower boardroom at City Hall.