Mark Rendell
Mark Rendell

Niven NIMBYs Denied: Public Housing Goes Ahead

An attempt by disgruntled neighbours to stall the construction of a four-storey public housing development in Niven Lake has floundered.

On Thursday, Yellowknife’s Development Appeal Board rejected an appeal from two Niven Lakers, Bryan Manson and Candace Cousineau, who argued that the NWT Housing Corporation’s 19-unit building on Moyle Drive was too tall and more time was needed to study the impact of the building on the neighbourhood.

As the board pointed out, while the building will be 16.18 metres, eight percent higher than the 15 m allowed by the zoning, the development officer has the ability to bend the height rules if it won’t “unduly interfere with the amenities of the neighbourhood or… materially interfere with or affect the use, enjoyment or value of neighboring parcels of land.”

They also pointed out that the development officer who issued the permit had gone above and beyond the legal requirements for notifying neighbours. And while a shadow study had not been completed for the building, a study done for a similar building, Shaganappy Apartments on 49th Ave, showed the height “would not impose excessive shadowing on adjacent properties.”

While the appeal was cased in the language of bylaws and rule following (“My objective is to follow the letter of the law with the development act… My objective is to get fair consultation,” Manson told EDGE ahead of the hearing), there is little doubt some people weren’t pleased with the prospect of sharing their suburban neighbourhood with a public housing project.

Several dozen people had packed the city council chamber on June 18 to support the appellants – a surprising level of interest for a mere discussion of development procedures and height variations.

Whatever the actual motivation for opposing the project, it looks like the residents of Moyle Drive are going to have to get used to having new neighbours.

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