Mark Rendell

Civic Briefs: Kam Lake is Heading for Some Big Changes

Here come restaurants and bowling alleys: new zoning amendments are set to change the face of the neighbourhood; plus, who got the City's money and counting the homeless

On Monday, Kam Lake continued its steady march from industrial area to a diverse mash-up of residential and business, with a slew of new zoning amendments that will alter the face of the neighborhood.

The changes, which had almost unanimous support from councillors at Monday’s Municipal Services Committee Meeting, are the result of a year’s worth of consultation with Kam Lake residents.

According to the memo from city administration, “the recommendations address the evolving needs of this community by providing more flexible and appropriate zoning regulations, which will enable Kam Lake to develop in a more pragmatic approach and as a more cohesive community within Yellowknife.”

The recommended changes are as follows:

  • Duplexes and secondary suites will be allowed (though duplexes still have to meet the neighborhood’s “commercial component” rules, with at least 93 square metres of industrial or commercial space corresponding to each unit).
  • Restaurants will be permitted, as will “commercial recreation.”
  • Companies will be able to build permanent housing for temporary workers.
  • The rules about subdividing Kam Lake lots will change, allowing more flexibility when subdividing and selling off smaller chunks of land known as “flag lots.”
  • Bulk fuel storage, heavy industrial uses, kennels and animal shelters will no longer be conditionally permitted uses. (Those already in existence won’t be shut down, but they won’t be able to purchase adjacent lots to expand, nor will new ones be allowed.

The inclusion of kennels in the last change came under fire from Coun. Niels Konge, who said people wanting to start a kennel business had nowhere else to go. Engle Business District was suggested as an alternative location for kennels, but the area’s zoning doesn’t allow for people to live on lots in caretaker suites given their proximity to a number of large fuel tanks.

“When we start restricting these kinds of uses without a plan in place for these kinds of uses, I really think that we are jumping the gun,” said Konge.

His complaints were rejected by other councillors, who pointed out the overwhelming support from Kam Lake residents for banning further kennels – 95 percent of people who came to the open houses, and 54 percent of people who responded online.

The set of changes will be coming to council next week for first reading then will be opened up for public input during a statutory public hearing, likely the following week.

City hands out $97,500 to community groups

Also at Monday’s MSC, City Council finalized their choice of 22 different community groups in town that will be receiving a total of $97,900 in special grants funding.

Among the festivals, charities, sports and arts groups, the biggest winners were:

  • $10,000 – Long John Jamboree
  • $10,000 – The Yellowknife Farmer’s Market
  • $8,000 – The Yellowknife Artist Run Community Centre
  • $8,000 – The North Slave Métis Alliance
  • $7,500 – The Midnight Sun Fly Association
  • $7,500 – Western Arctic Moving Pictures

“You’re hard pressed to find other dollars that are put to better use this year in the entire budget. For $97,000 we’re helping pull off four public festivals and events, much needed equipment for six local sports clubs,” said coun. Dan Wong.

Counting the street community

During the presentation of minutes for the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness, coun. Linda Bussey entreated her fellow councillors to get involved in an upcoming survey of the street community in Yellowknife.

The  “point-in-time count” count will take place on March 11 from 4-7 p.m. In contrast with most point-in-time counts, in which volunteers go out on the streets to survey the homeless population, this one involves inviting people to dinner at four location around the city – one in Frame Lake, two Downtown and one in Old Town – and conducting the surveys there.

“We really want to have a good picture of who our homeless community is,” said Bussey.