City council won’t spare bowling alley

Whitehorse city council has knocked down a plea to save the city's only bowling alley on Monday evening.

Whitehorse city council has knocked down a plea to save the city’s only bowling alley on Monday evening.

Harold Sher, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Yukon, was hoping to convince councillors that the city should take over Mad Trapper Alleys.

Unfortunately, his pitch fell in the gutter.

The alley, located in the Riverdale, hasn’t turned a profit in years and is set to close this spring. The five-pin alley with 10 lanes has been around since 1976.

Sher told council that his group raises more than 20 per cent of its operating budget during its Bowl for Kids Sake fundraiser.

“We respectfully ask that the city begin a study to determine the feasibility and costs associated with providing bowling lanes,” he said.

“We believe thousands of people would applaud the city for getting out in front of this issue and taking the lead to invest in a bowling facility. Once infrastructure is there, operational expenses could be covered by user fees.”

Sher said he’s been told over 90 bowlers use the lanes on a weekly basis, including participants in the children’s league, men’s league and senior’s league.

Mad Trappers is also practice grounds for the teams who compete in the Youth Bowling Canada National Championships every year.

A better building would encourage even more people to come play, Sher said. A new facility could be designed like the one in Watson Lake, which is adjacent to the town’s community centre, he said.

Coun. Kirk Cameron said there is a long history of bowling in the Yukon but he couldn’t recall government ever getting involved to make it work.

“If you look around Canada you have a lot alleys that are run by the private sector,” he said.

“They’re able to turn a profit and the business community makes sure it works. I just wonder if it needs a different business model to make it work here.

“I’m not convinced it should be taken over by government.”

Mayor Dan Curtis echoed Cameron’s statements.

A bowler for more than 40 years, Curtis said losing the bowling alley would be a “great loss to the community.” But a municipality’s key responsibilities are to provide services such as water, sewage, garbage and infrastructure, he said.

“The Canada Games Centre is being subsidized $3 million a year by taxpayers and in that facility there is lawn bowling, which is very popular,” he said.

“We don’t have the space, the funds or the cash to rent a place or redesign one. Hopefully someone can come forward and perhaps look at a new location.

“I’ll be the first one there when it opens. But it’s not something I could in good conscience support.”

Following the meeting, Sher said he felt city council listened to his views but did not hear them.

“The fundamental reason why the current bowling facility isn’t profitable is that over the past 20 years there has been rapid expansion of subsidized city recreational programs and facilities creating competition for discretionary recreational spending,” he wrote in an email afterwards.

“The fact remains there are several user groups who will be without a facility this spring.”

In late September, plaza owner Chris Sorg told the News the arrival of an investor with deep pockets could potentially keep the facility afloat.

“If the community really demonstrated it’s prepared to support it at a level that has not been there – like I said, we haven’t made an arrangement with a future tenant at this point,” he said at the time.

“We have made the decision but barring anything miraculous happening, something unexpected happens, and an investor coming along saying they want to purchase the facility, then we’ll see what happens.”

– With files from Tom Patrick

Contact Myles Dolphin at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Calvin Delwisch poses for a photo inside his DIY sauna at Marsh Lake on Feb. 18.
Yukoners turning up the heat with unique DIY sauna builds

Do-it-yourselfers say a sauna built with salvaged materials is a great winter project

Wyatt’s World

Wyatt’s World for March 5, 2021.

Yukonomist: School competition ramps up in the Yukon

It’s common to see an upstart automaker trying to grab share from… Continue reading

The Yukon government responded to a petition calling the SCAN Act “draconian” on Feb. 19. (Yukon News file)
Yukon government accuses SCAN petitioner of mischaracterizing her eviction

A response to the Jan. 7 petition was filed to court on Feb. 19

City councillor Samson Hartland in Whitehorse on Dec. 3, 2018. Hartland has announced his plans to run for mayor in the Oct. 21 municipal election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillor sets sights on mayor’s chair

Hartland declares election plans

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Public Health Nurse Angie Bartelen at the Yukon Convention Centre Clinic in Whitehorse on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
State of emergency extended for another 90 days

“Now we’re in a situation where we see the finish line.”

The Yukon government says it is working towards finding a solution for Dawson area miners who may be impacted by City of Dawson plans and regulations. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Miner expresses frustration over town plan

Designation of claims changed to future planning

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been postponed indefinitely. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
2022 Arctic Winter Games postponed indefinitely

Wood Buffalo, Alta., Host Society committed to rescheduling at a later date

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Council of Yukon First Nations grand chief Peter Johnston at the Yukon Forum in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. Johnston and Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced changes to the implementation of the Yukon First Nations Procurement Policy on March 3. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Third phase added to procurement policy implementation

Additional time added to prep for two provisions

Crews work to clear the South Klondike Highway after an avalanche earlier this week. (Submitted)
South Klondike Highway remains closed due to avalanches

Yukon Avalanche Association recommending backcountry recreators remain vigilant

RCMP Online Crime Reporting website in Whitehorse on March 5. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Whitehorse RCMP launch online crime reporting

Both a website and Whitehorse RCMP app are now available

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

Most Read