Whitehorse airport briefing scheduled for August 31

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The Government of Yukon’s plans for the Erik Nielsen International Airport in Whitehorse will be the subject of a public information session on August 31 at the Yukon Transportation Museum.

The territory announced the reunion in a Facebook post. Planned security improvements at the airport in the coming years will include the purchase of land from the City of Whitehorse in the Puckett’s Gulch area.

Whitehorse City Council has passed first reading a rezoning bylaw that would see the current environmental protection designation changed to an airport designation as the territory seeks to expand a 150-meter runway to comply with the regulations of Transport Canada. The airport is currently operating the runway with an exemption, but it is expected that the larger runway will be needed for 737 traffic as passenger volumes return to pre-pandemic levels.

Ahead of the first reading, council members discussed the possibility of the territory holding a public meeting on its plans ahead of a September 12 public hearing on the rezoning. As a result of this discussion, Nils Clarke, Minister of Highways and Public Works for the territory, sent a letter to Mayor Laura Cabott indicating that the Yukon government would be hosting a public information session.

In its Facebook post, the territorial government notes some of the impacts of the project.

“The work we are planning will have no impact on the airport’s existing paved pathway or the Black Street stairs,” the post read. “Portions of the unpaved trail will be closed during construction and paved after construction.”

A report to city council ahead of the rezoning’s first reading said part of the unpaved path would be rerouted, with a fence, roadway and manhole to be moved.

Following the public information session and public hearing on September 12, a report will be presented to council before second and third readings on October 11.

If rezoning goes ahead, a lengthy process for the land to then be transferred to the territory would begin with an amendment to the downtown escarpment land use policy to reflect the zoning change. Alienation, subdivision and formal transfer of land would follow, including a development agreement.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at [email protected]

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