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WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is urging the Liberal government to update Yukoners and the private sector on the process of developing new housing units on the lot located at 5th and Rogers in downtown Whitehorse.
In a Ministerial Statement, the Premier spoke about the Request for Proposals (RFP) issued on March 9, 2023. He claimed, ‘There is a lot of interest’ and that he was excited to see the results. The Premier also said that he would like to see 300 units built on the lot.
The original bid deadline was extended a month to June 2, 2023, but no sale has been announced to date, despite the original bid deadline extension. Since the RFP process closed, there has been little public information available about prospects for the 2.12-hectare lot, even though Whitehorse faces a housing crisis, and the population continues to grow.
“In his 5th and Rogers statement in March, the Premier declared he had completed ‘the fulfilment of a platform commitment in the item from my mandate letter,’” said Yukon Party Housing Critic Yvonne Clarke. “It now appears he may have got ahead of himself, and he has overseen another false start on the site. It’s been six months since the RFP process closed, and we do not see any development plans, let alone shovels in the ground.”
In 2019, the Liberal government’s plan to have housing units developed on 5th and Rogers failed when no organizations moved forward following an expression of interest. During the 2021 election campaign, the Liberals held an on-site press conference, and promised they would ‘continue to work with the private sector to develop the 5th and Rogers land parcel in Whitehorse ensuring the development increases the amount of available housing, including rentals.’
Under the territorial Liberals, there have been numerous delays in developing lots for new housing units. Whistle Bend lots have been rescheduled, faced cancelled contracts, and been tendered prior to completion leaving purchasers unable to access their lots to begin construction while they paid interest. In addition, a change to the land title transfer policy this summer, against the recommendations of the City of Whitehorse, the Yukon Realtors’ Association, and the Yukon Contractors’ Association, potentially increased uncertainty, costs, delays, and red tape for the housing construction industry.