Alpine Aviation owners Gird Mannsperger and Janet Sanders pose for a photo with their dog Tutshi on dock #11 on Schwatka Lake in Whitehorse on June 4. Mannsperger says an agreement reached with the City of Whitehorse over the dock space means “a little stability” for the company. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

City, Alpine Aviation reach agreement on dock use

Company will continue to use space and assist city with cost in building a new dock

Alpine Aviation owner Gerd Mannsperger says an agreement reached with the City of Whitehorse over dock space on Schwatka Lake means “a little stability” for the company.

“Now we actually have a proper agreement,” he said in a June 4 interview, adding it will allow the company to maintain the services Alpine Aviation has been offering.

The company has been operating out of its Schwatka Lake location for more than 20 years.

In the last couple of years, there have been issues over one of the three use city-issued dock sites used by Alpine Aviation. Last year, it had been expected a portion of Alpine’s dock space would be removed as per the permit for the dock use, but Alpine was granted an extension with the agreement reached this year.

As Mannsperger said the formal agreement will formalize what had been a verbal agreement for many years.

In the last couple of years, there’s been an ongoing dispute between the city and Alpine over the use of the dock with questions about jurisdiction over docks and waterways.

The new agreement will allow Alpine to continue using the dock it’s been at for years in exchange for providing parking for visiting planes, fuel sales and access to a safety boat.

The agreement comes following a mediated session between the city, Alpine Aviation and the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association Yukon Chapter in December to resolve the dispute.

The city described the mediation session as “an opportunity to explore, in greater detail, the operational needs of the company and proposals for public service provision.”

Under the agreement, services are to be reported on and monitored through the City of Whitehorse permitting process for dock use each year.

Alpine will also be contributing to the cost of opening a new dock near it’s own to take pressure off the wait list for dock space. There’s currently 20 city dock sites for float planes on the western side of Schwatka Lake with 19 operators on the wait list.

“The city recognizes the valuable transportation service that Alpine Aviation provides to the residents of the Yukon, as well as its visitors,” said Mayor Dan Curtis. “Council is pleased to see a favorable resolution reached that will benefit all parties involved in the management and usage of the float plane base.”

As Mannsperger gets set for the summer season with an agreement for the use of the dock in place, the company is also facing a very different season in light of COVID-19.

Much will depend on how the reopening of the territory “all shakes out”, Mannsperger said, adding that Alpine Aviation is largely focusing on the local market and promoting opportunities for Yukoners to explore their home territory.

He said he’s hopeful locals will take an opportunity to do some local excursions and noted there are a number of fly-in destinations in the territory for backcountry hiking and paddling.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council

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