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Kam Lake residents upset area left off survey

Cara Loverock
Northern News Services
Published Friday, October 12, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - Some Kam Lake residents are upset with the city's latest blueprint for expansion.

The Smart Growth Redevelopment Plan - unveiled last March - does not include the Kam Lake area, the city's main industrial zone but home to numerous residents as well.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Carol Beck stands in front of some of her kennels at her home and business, Beck's Kennels, in the Kam Lake area. - Cara Loverock/ NNSL Photo

Carol Beck, a Kam Lake resident and business owner, said she was surprised that Kam Lake was not included in the city's plans for future development.

"I think it's a significant part of the city" said Beck, owner of Beck's Kennels.

"There are a lot of businesses out there and I think that it should be included in the plan."

A survey was sent out to Yellowknife residents last month in order to get more input from the public on future development.

"When I filled out my survey I personally made an extra little box for Kam Lake and added some suggestions and that sort of thing," said Beck, adding, "I'm not sure why it was left out but I think it's a big loss that it was."

Beck's home and business has been in Kam Lake since 1985, and she said she has witnessed a lot of development in the area.

Future development could potentially raise safety issues in some places, said Beck. She said access to the waterfront on Kam Lake has been an issue and large trucks hauling gravel on narrow Kam Lake Road can be a safety issue, since the road has poor visibility. If Kam Lake was part of a formal plan, said Beck, some of these issues could be dealt with better.

Kam Lake MLA Dave Ramsay said he has heard from a number of property owners in Kam Lake who are upset with the city for excluding the area from the plan.

"If I were a property owner out there I'd be upset with the city as well," said Ramsay. "They pay big taxes and they expect a level of service."

Ramsay said he has spoken with city officials about the plan who told him Kam Lake will be involved down the road, but the city has done a poor job of communicating that to the public.

"If (city councillors) rubber stamp that plan before it goes out, and it doesn't include a communications plan and it doesn't include sections of the city that are going to experience growth, then they're missing the boat, they're missing the point," said Ramsay.

Jeff Humble, director of planning and development for the City of Yellowknife, describes the redevelopment plan as "a term plan the city is looking at for the growth and development to the city. So we're looking for a plan, for a projection of where the city may grow up to a population of 50,000."

There is roughly $600,000 dedicated to the plan through various organizations, including the Department of Education, Culture and Employment, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, in addition to the money Yellowknife city council has already approved.

Humble said the survey did provide the opportunity for outlying residents and businesses, including those in Kam Lake, to give input that relates to their community.

"There are opportunities in there and there will be further opportunities when we get to the focus group sessions to highlight some of those," said Humble.

"But we wanted to direct our focus to issues in and around the downtown core area."

Concerns, Humble said that the city will take into consideration for Kam Lake include transportation, residential use and environmental concerns around Grace Lake.