The City of Yellowknife is set to offer a range of incentives to help the Yellowknife Dog Trotters’ Association move out of Kam Lake to a new zone for dog kennels.
This week, city councillors spoke broadly in favour of the latest plans to relocate the association in the Engle Business District, south of the airport.
As Kam Lake takes on a more residential feel – argues a city document prepared for councillors (see p13) – so the presence of kennels in the area has slowly become incongruous.
The city says almost 60 percent of Kam Lake residents surveyed last year wanted the kennels removed, and a bylaw change means no new kennels can be established in the area. However, existing kennels are grandfathered in, meaning they can stay.
In theory, as time passes, kennels in Kam Lake will slowly be replaced by those in the Engle Business District, where the city is set to formally establish a new kennel zone.
The Dog Trotters’ Association, home to well over 100 dogs, leases its Kam Lake lot from the city – as it has done since 1978 – for a fee well below the market value. Now, in keeping with these plans, the city wants the association to move out when its lease is up in 2017.
The city is looking at a range of possible incentives, such as tax breaks and covering some expenses associated with the move, in order to persuade the association to relocate.
One major concern is the contamination of the association’s current lot. While dogs have lived there for more than 35 years, the association only has $8,000 set aside to clean up the lot if and when it leaves. The city believes that’s nowhere near the cost of remediating the land.
Councillor Niels Konge expects the city will have to swallow any additional cost.
“The people of Kam Lake have made it pretty clear that it doesn’t belong there any more,” he said. “That is one of the risks when you’re leasing out land – if you’re leasing to somebody who can’t afford the clean-up cost, you’re kind-of stuck with it.
“I’m not sure how we’re going to get any more out of this user group. We need to ensure that we don’t get into the same position again.”
Councillors appeared agreed that the city is taking the right steps.
“It is exactly what I was looking for as far as a recommendation from administration,” said councillor Bob Brooks. “I’m in full support of this.”
The city expects to have a final recommendation for councillors by August or September this year, following this month’s annual general meeting of the Dog Trotters’ Association.