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

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Whistle Bend town square contract awarded

Associated Engineering will soon get to work on the detailed design of the town square for the Whistle Bend neighbourhood.

At Whitehorse city council’s Sept. 14 meeting, members voted to award Associated the $122,546 contract.

The Whistle Bend town square is part of the larger master plan for the city’s newest neighbourhood and will see a commercial centre in place over an 0.85-hectare piece of land on Keno Way.

“The square is intended to be the focal point of the neighbourhood, providing public outdoor space for a variety of different activities (entertainment, festivals, markets, recreation, etc.) and surrounded by cafes, shops and other services,” an administrative report to council stated.

A conceptual design for the square was completed earlier this year, with the city now moving to detailed design and construction administration.

Associated Engineering submitted the only compliant proposal on the work.

While the proposal totalled $216,358, it was for both the detailed design at $122,546 and management of the construction phase of the project at $93,812.

The city is moving ahead in two stages beginning with the design work.

The construction administration contract will be subject to future budget decisions, planning manager Mélodie Simard explained at an earlier meeting.

“The earliest construction could occur is 2021, although this project will have to be considered alongside others as part of the capital budgeting process,” she said.

Local content not considered in consulting contract

Local content will not factor into the decision when it comes to awarding a contract for a consultant to review fire services in the city.

At Whitehorse city council’s Sept. 14 meeting, members voted not to give any weighting for local content on the consulting contract.

As fire chief Jason Everett explained at an earlier meeting of council, it was recommended no weight be given for local content, as it is highly specialized work that isn’t likely to be done locally. He also stressed the importance of placing more weight on other areas such as methodology/experience and project team; and in having a consultant who is not already connected to a local fire service, which could be difficult to find locally.

Local consultants will get up to 15 points in parking meter contract

Local consultants will get up to 15 points weighted into the evaluation for the contract to look at new parking metre technology for the City of Whitehorse.

Whitehorse city council voted on the amount at its Sept. 14 meeting.

Bylaw manager Doug Spencer proposed the weighting of 15 points in the evaluation for the request for proposals at an earlier meeting.

Under the City of Whitehorse’s consulting services selection policy, council assigns between zero and 20 points on such contracts that is then included in the evaluations after the proposals come in.

In this case 15 points was put forward as it is expected the work could be done from Whitehorse, local consultants have previously done parking and traffic studies, and in an effort to “reflect the desire to reward partnerships with local firms who have knowledge of our city and the intricacies of our downtown parking.”

City to spend more on water supply work

The City of Whitehorse will spend another $265,000 to replace the water main near Hillcrest along the Alaska Highway.

Whitehorse city council approved the spending at its Sept. 14 meeting.

In a previous report to council Michael Abbott, associate manager of engineering services for the city, pointed to changing plans for the project that led to the additional expense.

The original plan would have seen the water main built in two phases over two years as part of the work the Yukon government is doing to expand the highway in that area.

“YG’s consultant prepared a pre-tender cost estimate in the amount of approximately $688,000, not including GST, which included the replacement of water main fronting the businesses,” Abbott said. “At that time the estimate suggested the city’s existing budget would likely cover the full costs. However, the total price for the Municipal Works in the tender awarded by YG exceeded the consultant’s estimate.

“In addition, YG has since decided to construct both phases of the water main in 2020. Additional funds are required to meet the City’s obligations under the Infrastructure Agreement.”

While it’s expected funding will be available through the gas tax program, the additional funding will come from reserves until the gas taxing funding becomes available.

Coun. Laura Cabott noted the change will have a significant benefit for the city and result in the work getting done in one year rather than two.

Management bylaw moves forward

City of Whitehorse management and confidential exclusion employees are closer to having a new bylaw in place that sets out their pay over four years after city council approved the first two readings of the bylaw Sept. 14.

The bylaw would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2019 when the last one expired.

An increase of 2.6 per cent would be retroactive for 2019 with another 2.6 per cent increase from Jan. 1, 2020 to whenever the bylaw is passed. An increase based on market adjustment plus the greater of 1.25 per cent or the consumer price index (CPI) would follow from the date the bylaw is passed to the end of 2020.

For each 2021 to 2022 increases would be whichever is greater: 1.25 per cent or the CPI.

While Coun. Laura Cabott acknowledged the timing isn’t great given the economic impacts of COVID, she also noted it’s important the city remain competitive in attracting and retaining top staff.

“This is long overdue,” she said.

Third reading will come forward Sept. 28.

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

Whitehorse city council