Whitehorse, the capital city of Canada's northwestern Yukon territory, believes the population could double by 2031. Councillors don't want urban sprawl, but agree that the population has to have somewhere to go.
Now, city council is set to approve research into three possible directions.
The Yukon Government is prepared to provide $600,000 to survey McLean Creek, Long Lake Road and an area south of Copper Ridge. Senior city planner Mike Ellis said they are all potential neighbourhoods.
"They represent potentially very large-scale land development projects," said Ellis.
However, councillor John Streicker said any development is sure to have environmental concerns.
"We should know that creeks are significant wildlife corridors and areas that we must protect, so let's get ahead of the curve if we can here," he said.
Streicker added that there is no harm in a survey.
"For me, the question is sustainability. How will we sustain ourselves as a community, especially if we move into these areas. It's challenging to think about, but I support that we get that first look."
Acting director of development services, Mike Gau, said development would still be years away.
"We are talking more than a decade from now, but this is when it has to start."
If approved, survey work could happen over the next two years.
This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.