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

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Lot expansion proposed for Ortona Avenue

The owner of 75 Ortona Avenue could soon have a larger property if Whitehorse city council moves forward with a bylaw to sell a 127 square metre piece of land next to it.

As Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, explained to council at its Sept. 21 meeting the small piece of land off along Carpiquet Road is not large enough for an individual property.

If sold and added to 75 Ortona Ave., however, it would make that property large enough for a garden suite.

“In accordance with the land disposition policy, the land would be sold at fair market value as determined by an independent private appraisal,” Ross said. “The applicant has obtained an appraisal by Stewart, Weir, MacDonald Ltd., establishing a fair market value of $14,605 (exclusive of GST).”

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the proposed bylaw for the land sale at its Sept. 28 meeting.

Three Mount Sima Road properties could be expanded

The potential expansion of three industrial lots along Mount Sima Road is once again up for consideration by Whitehorse city council.

On council’s Sept. 21 meeting, the proposed land sale bylaw came forward. The land sale bylaw would allow the owners of the three properties to purchase city-owned land behind their lots.

It is coming forward after council approved a rezoning of the city-owned land from Greenbelt to Service Industrial in June for the lot expansions that property owners have requested.

Under the purchase agreements the land would be bought at fair market value established through a third party appraisal that was done by Geraint Appraisal and Consulting. That appraisal established a value of $13.45 per square metre.

At that rate the 0.309 hectare space behind 69 Mount Sima Rd. would be sold for $41,600 with the 0.29 ha behind 77 Mount Sima Rd. to be sold for $39,000, and the 0.282 ha behind 83 Mount Sima Rd. to be sold for $37,900.

“Should council approve this land sale and disposition, administration will proceed with the land disposition process including the required administrative subdivision approval to create the new lots, followed by transfer of the enlargement areas in accordance with the terms of the land sale agreements between the applicants and the city,” Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, stated in a report to council.

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the bylaw for the land sale Sept. 28.

False fire alarm fees could rise

The fees for having the Whitehorse fire department respond to a false fire alarm three times in a year or more could increase.

At Whitehorse city council’s Sept. 21 meeting, Brittany Dixon, the city’s manager of financial services, brought forward the change to the fees and charges bylaw for the change that would see the fine rise from the current $250 to $500.

The fee for a second response to a false alarm would remain at $200.

There is no fee for the first response.

Dixon explained the increase was identified as a way to bring in more money to offset the expense of responding to false alarms.

There would also be some minor wording changes to the bylaw.

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the bylaw Sept. 28.

Local improvement charge proposed

Whitehorse city council could soon approve a local improvement charge for a Strawberry Lane property owner to get on the grid.

At council’s Sept. 21 meeting, a bylaw to authorize the local improvement charge for urban electrification came forward for consideration.

The LIC would see the property owner tie in to the electrical grid at an estimated cost of $8,715 to be paid back to the city over the course of 10 years.

As it was outlined in a report delivered by Brittany Dixon, the city’s manager of financial services: “In 1989, the City of Whitehorse began assisting with the cost of electrifying urban property by financing the work and charging the cost back to the property as a local improvement charge.”

A total of 11 properties have been part of the program since it started.

To be eligible for this LIC, applicants must have title to the property, be up to date on their property taxes and the cost of the work must not exceed 75 per cent of the assessed property value.

Council will vote Sept. 28 on whether to move forward with the bylaw for the LIC.

Changing insurance providers

City of Whitehorse staff could be covered by a new health insurance plan beginning in the new year.

At council’s Sept. 21 meeting, Lindsay Schneider, the city’s acting director of human resources, brought forward a contract award for Manulife to provide the city’s health benefit plan for employees over the next four years at a cost of $6.6 million.

The proposed contract comes following a review of the current benefits package for employees, which found “there were opportunities for improvement in the benefit offerings and that a market survey should be completed through an RFP process.”

A total of five compliant RFPs were submitted from AUMA/Sun Life, DesJardins Insurance, iA Financial Group, Manulife, and SSQ Insurance.

Two of those did not meet the initial technical threshold first considered with three then going on to the next stage of the evaluation.

Of those three, Manulife had the highest scoring proposal and, thus, it’s proposed Manulife be awarded the contract.

“Manulife is capable of providing superior benefits to the employees of the City of Whitehorse at the same cost as the current provider,” Schneider said. “Manulife is a leading edge benefit provider that will also be able to provide a more streamlined process for administering benefits which will aid staff in the human resources department.”

Answering questions from Coun. Dan Boyd, who attended the meeting by conference call, Schneider said the city benefits are currently offered through Sun Life as part of a program that Alberta municipalities also use.

The switch to the new provider is planned for Jan. 1, 2020, but that may be moved if needed.

Council will vote on the contract Sept. 28.

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

Whitehorse city council