Outdoor sports complex plans back before city council

Yukon’s soccer community will be keeping a close eye on tonight’s Whitehorse city council meeting.

Yukon’s soccer community will be keeping a close eye on tonight’s Whitehorse city council meeting.

That’s because members of council will be voting on whether or not they want to discuss the Whistle Bend outdoor sports complex at a meeting in January.

In April, council defeated the voting amendment bylaw that would have given the Yukon government permission to build two full artificial turf fields, a rubberized track, bleachers and changing rooms.

According to council’s procedures bylaw, no decision can be reversed, rescinded or reconsidered for a period of one year unless a written notice of motion is provided, and a minimum of four members vote in favour of the reversal.

Councillor Samson Hartland introduced a notice of motion to bring the issue back to the table on Nov. 23. Tonight, he needs three more votes in order to see the bylaw discussed on Jan. 11.

If the motion is defeated, the situation remains as is and the bylaw is defeated.

Earlier this year, the Yukon Outdoor Sports Complex Association presented its plans to build a sports complex in the Whistle Bend subdivision. The Yukon government has remained committed financially to the first phase of the project.

The facility would be leased to the association, which would manage its day-to-day operations.

It also would be on the hook for the operations and maintenance costs. According to a proposal submitted by Associated Engineering, the cost to operate two fields and one track was estimated at $50,778 per year.

Members of council raised several concerns with the project from the start.

A big one is whether the city could end up on the hook if the newly formed group running the facility wound up in debt.

The Yukon government has promised to financially backstop the facility’s operations, but councillors raised doubts about whether that promise would hold under future governments.

In response to council’s concerns, the government indicated it was willing to scale down and scrap the second phase of the project, which would have featured a 2,000 square-foot multi-purpose building and courts for various user groups.

But that wasn’t enough to sway a majority of councillors in April.

In October, YOSCA President Tony Gaw held an open house to present site-specific plans to the public.

“The ultimate goal would be to have council approve the re-zoning amendment this winter so we can start clearing the land and get ready for construction next summer,” he said in November.

Gaw, former Whitehorse councillor Mike Gladish and Cali Battersby have registered as delegates to address the issue tonight.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com