The Plan sets out a vision for Downtown Whitehorse as the heart of our City, a safe, vibrant and attractive centre that is the region’s primary area for shopping, arts and culture, entertainment, services and business. The 2007 Downtown Plan sets out a series of recommendations intended to both support and implement this vision.
Another Plan recommendation was to ensure that the City's major planning documents are consistent. In 2007, the Official Community Plan was amended to integrate the Downtown Plan. Council approved a series of zoning amendments aimed at implementing Downtown Plan recommendations.
The 2007 Downtown Plan includes recommendations to:
- Maintain the single family character of Old Town by removing multi-family residential as a conditional use, and consider reducing the area designated as Old Town.
- Prohibit stand-alone office buildings from locating outside Downtown.
- Allow stand-alone multi-family building along the Riverfront, as a conditional use.
- Set a minimum floor area for retail units in the North End Commercial Service Area.
- Allow for multi-family residential buildings up to six storeys, subject to specific conditions and Council approval.
- Develop a parking management plan.
- Support alternative transportation strategies including public transit, bike lanes and pedestrian connections.
- Promote active public uses along the Riverfront.
- Develop design guidelines for the Downtown.
- Develop a continuous trail system along the escarpment.
- Provide incentives for mixed-use development on sites with high redevelopment potential.
Downtown has seen significant changes over the last number of years including redevelopment along the riverfront with Rotary and Shipyard Parks, and major commercial development at the north end. Future plans for the Motorways property and the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre site will further change downtown.
The Downtown Plan process was an opportunity to ensure that the City’s policies reflect community values. The Downtown Plan is a document that outlines a vision as well as specific strategies, policy recommendations and actions aimed at supporting a vibrant downtown.
Public consultation was a vital part of the process for the development of the new Downtown Plan.
An Open House and Workshop were held in May 2005. The purpose of these meetings was to develop a cooperative assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for downtown Whitehorse. Both the Open House and the Workshop were well attended.
A second series of meetings was held in mid-June 2005. This Open House and Public Workshop were focused on setting objectives and priorities for the Downtown Plan.
The third Open House was held in November 2005. The purpose of this meeting was to present the Draft Plan and get feedback from the public.
Downtown Advisory Committee
An Advisory Committee was established to provide information and advice to the City of Whitehorse and the consultant in the preparation of the Plan. The Committee was made up of representatives from the Downtown Residents Association, Yukon Historical and Museums Association, the Outreach Van, Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Yukon Society, the Yukon Real Estate Association, Artspace North, YTG Culture and Heritage, the Kwanlin Dun First Nation, the Ta’an Kwach’an Council and two citizens at large.
The planning area for this project was from the S.S. Klondike to the north side of the Chilkoot Centre on Two Mile Hill and from the Yukon River to the Escarpment. This includes the core commercial area, the Old Town, the commercial service area in the north end, the Riverfront as well as the mixed-use downtown areas.