Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Public hearing set on RR zone

A public hearing scheduled for Aug. 10 will once again explore the possibility of allowing living suites in the Restricted Residential zone.

At Whitehorse city council’s July 13 meeting, members approved first reading of a zoning amendment that would permit a living suite inside the home at 39 14th Ave. in Porter Creek.

Under the RR zoning, living suites are not permitted, though the issue continues to come forward to the city, coming up in previous applications in 2014 and 2018 and a survey in 2016.

The 2014 application was not approved, but the 2018 rezoning for two North Star Drive properties was.

The 2016 survey saw a mix of opinions with some RR property owners noting they had purchased RR zoned homes because of restrictions on living suites while others argued that RR lots and homes are large and therefore ideal for living suites among other arguments.

In voting to move forward with first reading of the current application, council members noted they wanted to get to the public hearing.

Coun. Dan Boyd said he’s already heard from residents expressing concerns about it.

“I am willing to support it tonight, support first reading, and see where it goes from there,” he said.

Coun. Laura Cabott said she too is a proponent of moving zoning issues to the public hearings phase to get public feedback.

She pointed out that at one time such a change would not be viewed favorably and she’s interested to hear what residents, both in the neighbourhood and throughout the city, now think of the change.

Coun. Samson Hartland said he too wants to hear from residents throughout the city on the matter.

While council chambers is closed to the public due to COVID-19, residents can provide written submissions to the Aug. 10 public hearing at publicinput@whitehorse.ca

SCADA contract approved

Total North is set to be awarded a contract worth more than $103,000 to upgrade communications equipment at three City of Whitehorse water and sewer facilities.

Whitehorse city council voted July 13 to award the contract.

The effort is part of the ongoing work to upgrade all water and sewer stations in the city to move to wireless monitoring.

This year’s effort focuses on the lift station and recirculation station in Whistle Bend as well as the Crestview booster station.

Total North was the only firm to submit a compliant bid on the work for this year coming in at $103,722.

Coun. Samson Hartland said it’s good to see the contract go to a local company.

Remediation work planned for 6th Avenue area

Hemmera Envirochem Inc. will looking at and come up with a potential remediation plan for the 6th Avenue area of downtown.

Whitehorse city council voted July 13 to award the $57,120 contract for the work to Hemmera, one of six firms to submit a compliant bid, coming out with the highest evaluation score.

The work will see a detailed report produced that reviews work done to date looking at the area, any gaps in that work and a remediation plan.

BluMetric Environmental Inc., Golder Associates Ltd., Morrison Hershfield, SNC Lavalin Inc., and WSP Canada Inc. also submitted bids for the work that is part of the redevelopment along 6th Avenue that was identified in the Downtown South Master Plan.

Whistle Bend planning costs rise

The City of Whitehorse will spend an additional $8,000-plus on planning for the future areas of the Whistle Bend neighbourhood.

At Whitehorse city council’s July 13 meeting, members voted to add another $8,375 to the budget to cover additional costs for the project. Funding will come from the Yukon government.

While planning for the seven phases of Whistle Bend neighbourhood is done with lots up until phase four being sold, there remain three future areas to be planned.

WSP was contracted in February 2018 to work on planning for the future areas with that work now complete.

“Due to two scope changes, which were agreed upon with the consultants and YG, and accounting for city staff costs, this project is over-budget by approximately $8,375,” planner Kinden Kosick stated in an earlier report to council.

The changes come in how a parcel of Ta’an Kwäch’än Council land would be represented in the planning, “which included significant revision of reports and engineering recalculation by the consultant as well as staff effort to review additional changes.”

Handling telecommunication outages

The loss of most telecommunication services to the territory throughout the night of July 11 has the city working with the Yukon government in looking at how such a situation may be dealt with in the future.

Cell phone, long distance landline, and internet services were lost along with some cable TV channels throughout Yukon and in some parts of northern BC and the other territories for hours due to a landslide that severed Northwestel’s fibre line.

At council’s July 13 meeting, Coun. Jan Stick said she’s heard a number of concerns about the city’s response given that many residents were unable to call 911. Those with landlines would have been able to call 911 as local lines were working.

Acting city manager Jeff O’Farrell said that the city’s fire department had contemplated activating its emergency operations centre, but ultimately did not when informed by the RCMP of how long the outage would be. Had the outage been more prolonged or a timeline for a fix not identified the centre would have likely been activated.

He noted the city’s fire department and territorial officials have had initial discussions and are looking at how information can be communicated to the public if such an outage happens again in the future.

Highway signs and a public intercom are among a couple of ideas that may be looked at, he said, noting further discussions will likely contemplate other ideas as well.

Alexander Street landscaping

The City of Whitehorse is continuing to work on landscaping plans for Alexander Street from Second to Fourth Avenue.

A survey recently wrapped up asking residents for their thoughts on what features should be included for the street with officials contemplating three options. One would feature raised planter boxes and a seat wall, another would have decorative boulders, benches, paving and planting, while the third possibility contemplates planting beds with paving.

The options are being looked at after a vote by council in 2019 not to award the contract it had planned for landscaping amid concerns from nearby residents who described feeling unsafe in their neighbourhood or workplace after witnessing fights, public intoxication, listening to shouting from people loitering in the area and the presence of emergency vehicles called there on a daily basis.

The decision was made to retender the project at a later date with the city looking at options for the neighbourhood.

The city will review the survey results and move forward from there.

It was around the same time that issues arose around metal strips placed on parking barricades and planters at a building at Third Avenue and Alexander Street.

At that time, city officials said it would be working with the building owner on the matter as they were not permitted under the maintenance bylaw which states that no one is permitted to “cause, permit, or allow property owned or occupied by them to be in bad repair or to constitute a danger.”

In an email, city engineering manager Taylor Eshpeter said that the owner has worked to rectify the situation and meet the bylaw requirements.

“The owner completed work to improve the safety of the strips, by rounding the corners and eliminating some corners,” he stated.

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

Whitehorse city council