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

City hall, briefly

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

Tennis Yukon lease moves forward

The Tennis Yukon Association is closer to signing a new lease with the City of Whitehorse for the tennis courts at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre.

Whitehorse city council passed the first two readings for the new agreement at its July 27 meeting.

The current lease Tennis Yukon has for the 2,931-square-metre court does not expire until 2021, but the tennis association is getting set to resurface the courts next year. To secure funding for the work, the association needs to show tenure beyond the current lease expiry date.

The new lease would be in place from Sept. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2030 at a rate of $10 per year and includes many of the same provisions as the current lease, though there are some minor changes.

“As was noted in their previous lease, the proposed lease allows that TYA may sell advertising and install signage within the lease area during the term of the lease,” Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, stated in an earlier report to council. “However, it has been stipulated that the city has the right to require that any advertising and signage be removed or covered up at the request of the city for the duration of any special events. This clause has been inserted in the lease in order to eliminate any potential conflict with the advertising and signage requirements of special events being held within the (Mount McIntyre) area.”

Prior to the vote, councillors Samson Hartland and Laura Cabott voiced their support for the agreement, praising the work of Tennis Yukon in providing recreational opportunities in the city and looking after the courts.

Third reading of the bylaw will come forward in August.

Paving contract awarded

Skookum Asphalt will be tasked with paving the parking lot of the city’s new operation building.

Whitehorse city council voted 6-1 in favour of awarding the nearly $1-million contract to the local firm.

Coun. Steve Roddick was the only councillor to vote against the contract award. Before the vote, Roddick argued that while asphalt is a superior material to gravel, it’s important the city start thinking about the full costs of parking. Not only is there the cost of paving (nearly $1 million for this parking area), but there are also costs associated with parking plug-ins and such. That has an impact on the city’s ability to make other broader investments in the community, he said.

While others were in favour of the paving project, Coun. Laura Cabott noted it has raised the issue of how the city prioritizes paving in the city. She highlighted Range Road North as an example of one area where residents are wondering when it might see better paving.

In response, city manager Linda Rapp first highlighted the operational impact of a gravel parking lot at the operations building. Along with the additional wear and tear to vehicles, she said there’s also more chance of dust in the air from the gravel that can get into vents in the building, leading to more maintenance of those systems.

Speaking directly to the plans for Range Road North, director of infrastructure and operations Peter O’Blenes said the provisional budget for the coming years includes design for Range Road North in 2022 with the work expected to go ahead in 2024.

“It’s been on our radar for awhile,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coun. Samson Hartland acknowledged that in the past he has voted against a number of contracts on the operations building (as he favoured looking at alternatives to building the structure), but it’s clear the building is here to stay. Without an asphalt parking lot, he said, the city would be selling itself short and thus he supported the contract award to pave the parking lot.

New truck will cost $107,000-plus

A new one-ton truck for the City of Whitehorse water and waste services department will cost $107,355.

Whitehorse city council voted July 27 to award the contract to Metro Chrysler, which submitted the only bid for the supply of the vehicle.

The vehicle will come with tools in place and a three-year warranty.

City doles out grants

More than $173,000 is closer to being doled out to 20 community groups after Whitehorse city council passed first and second readings July 27 on the bylaw governing the 2020 municipal charges and community service grants.

The city provides the grants each year to assist organizations with property taxes and municipal charges.

The grants for 2020 range anywhere from $485.31 for the Downtown Urban Gardens Society to $42,211 for the MacBride Museum Society.

Third reading of the bylaw will come forward in August. Property taxes are due Sept. 2.

New pump coming to the Whistle Bend lift station

A new $95,000 pump required for the Whistle Bend lift station has now been added to the City of Whitehorse 2020 budget.

Council approved the budget changes July 27, though the spending had already been approved.

At an earlier council meeting, acting manager of water and waste services Arcadio Rodriguez put forward the 2020 budget change to include the pump repairs in the list of 2020 capital projects with the money coming out of the city’s contingency fund until potential gas tax funding comes through for the work.

The change comes after one of two active pumps at the Whistle Bend lift station failed earlier this year. That put the spare pump at the station into operation, leaving no spare available should there be any other issues.

If there was a situation where only one pump was operating at the station, it could result in sewage back up for area residents, though Rodriguez said there are some temporary measures that could be taken to prevent that.

Using spare pumps from other lift stations around town though is not an option.

As Rodriguez explained, the pumps used at the Whistle Bend station are unique and a spare pump from another lift station could not be used at the Whistle Bend lift station if something else went wrong.

The pump was ordered under a section of the city’s purchasing and sales policy that allows the city manager to waive the competitive bidding process and approve capital expenses up to $100,000 in cases of emergency (such as those posing a threat to public health). It is expected to take up to 10 weeks to arrive.

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

Whitehorse city council