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

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

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Mayor issues apology

Mayor Dan Curtis has issued an apology to Coun. Laura Cabott for suggesting she might have been in a conflict of interest on the City of Whitehorse wildfire risk reduction strategy due to her role as the chair of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

Curtis had made the suggestion at the Nov. 23 meeting where council voted to adopt the strategy but offered his apology at council’s Nov. 30 meeting, noting that Cabott is completely transparent, works hard for residents and has always had integrity.

“I would like to think I can lead by example and help council if they stumble,” the mayor said. “On this, it is I who stumbled. My actions are incredibly regrettable. Not my finest or my best hour, and for this, I am truly sorry.”

His comments came after Cabott brought the matter up at the meeting under new business, first noting she had checked with city manager Linda Rapp to ensure the council meeting would be an appropriate place to make her statement.

She went on to say she is not in a conflict of interest on the strategy and takes her roles both as a councillor and chair of YESAB seriously and would not want to jeopardize either.

Cabott said she considered all the legislation surrounding YESAB as well as city bylaws and policies in looking at whether she is in a conflict.

Most actions outlined in the plan would not require involvement by YESAB. In the few cases where there would be an assessment, that work would be done by YESAB’s Whitehorse designated office.

Cabott emphasized that assessments carried out by the designated office are independent. The board, she said, cannot and does not intervene in the assessments.

“I trust this clarifies matters,” she said, with Curtis then apologizing.

Lift station contract could be awarded

The City of Whitehorse could be spending $114,820 on a new wastewater pump for the Marwell lift station to be supplied by Smith Cameron Process Solutions.

The proposed contract along with a budget amendment was brought forward by the city’s water and waste senior tech Arcadio Rodriguez to Whitehorse city council at its Nov. 30 meeting.

Rodriguez highlighted a number of issues due to sand and grit in the system that have come up at the lift station over the last few years that have required replacing pumps with what were backup pumps.

The city now needs a new backup pump with another of the main pumps requiring refurbishment.

In recommending the purchase of a new pump, Rodriguez proposed the contract be sole-sourced to Smith Cameron Process Solutions.

“It is the only Canadian distributor for the brand of pump that can be installed in the lift station without need for extensive renovation or replacement of the mounting base within the lift station,” he said.

While the new backup pump would cost the city $114,820, it’s proposed spending of $200,000 be approved to also fund the refurbishment of the other pump.

Council will vote on the spending and contract Dec. 7.

Waste contract considered

PNW Waste Removal could be tasked with removing cardboard and waste from four city facilities.

At Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 30 meeting Krista Mroz, the city’s manager of recreation and facility services, brought forward the recommendation for the $109,385 contract for the work to be awarded to PNW Waste Removal for a three-year term beginning Jan. 1.

The contract would see PNW collect waste and cardboard from the Canada Games Centre, Takhini Arena, Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre and the Frank Slim Building.

PNW was the only company to submit a bid on the contract.

Council will vote on the contract Dec. 7.

City could lease office space

The City of Whitehorse could spend $5,800 on a lease for office space beginning Feb. 1 for three years.

At Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 30 meeting, members were presented with a proposed lease agreement for the city to rent a 428-square-metre space from a numbered company.

The space would be a unit within Whitehorse Condominium Corporation #19 and is owned by 535644 Yukon Inc., whose head office is listed at 6A-151 Industrial Road.

As the city’s senior project technician Nick Marnik stated in a report to council, the proposed lease is coming forward after the city issued a call for proposals for office space in the fall.

“The building consolidation project has progressed so that the majority of city employees have relocated from the municipal services building to the Whitehorse operations building,” he explained. “Three work units remain in need of new locations to allow the closure of the municipal services building: business and technology services, land and building services, and planning and sustainability services.”

A new service building is being planned for next to city hall where a number of employees are expected to move once it is finished. A number of renovations are also planned for city hall as part of the overall building consolidation work that is happening.

Council will vote on the proposed lease Dec. 7.

Emergency management plan proposed

The City of Whitehorse could soon have an updated Emergency Management Plan in place.

At Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 30 meeting, fire chief Jason Everitt brought forward a recommendation the proposed plan be adopted by Whitehorse city council.

As he explained, the plan serves as a guide for city staff in their roles with the emergency operations centre with the proposed plan replacing the current document that was adopted in 1998.

“It must be recognized that the content of the document is primarily foundational and to be effective, no element is invariable,” he said. “The success of emergency operations, as supported by this document, require flexibility to adapt to the incident as it evolves.”

Mike Gladish of Citizens for a FireSmart Whitehorse also provided council with a submission arguing the plan is a step in the right direction, but also raising questions about whether the city would be ready should there be a major fire in 2021. He also argued more information should be provided on potential evacuation routes, noting that while situations can always impact how an evacuation would happen, “some information is better than none.”

Questioned later about it by Coun. Steve Roddick, Everitt said that while he doesn’t have a major issue with the potential routes being public, exact routes to be taken during an emergency would depend on the situation. He highlighted the importance of having residents follow instructions given by authorities at the time of an emergency.

Council will vote on the purposed plan Dec. 7.

Asset management policy comes forward

The City of Whitehorse could have an asset management policy in place Dec. 7.

That’s when Whitehorse city council will vote on whether to adopt the policy.

The proposed policy was presented by Valerie Braga, the city’s director of corporate services, at Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 30 meeting.

The policy, she noted, sets out the principles for the development and implementation of an asset management system and the process for ongoing development and management.

“The asset management system developed under the proposed policy will enable the city to better manage the infrastructure that delivers service to the community in a way that considers current and future needs (performance), manages risks and opportunities and uses resources effectively to achieve the highest return on investment (cost/financial management),” Braga stated in her report.

Should council approve the policy, work would get underway to implement the asset management system.

A number of council members noted they’re pleased to see the policy come forward and for work to continue on an asset management system.

“This has been a long time coming,” Coun. Steve Roddick noted.

Fire services review contract could be awarded

Emergency Management & Training Inc. could be awarded a $76,104 contract to do a comprehensive review fire services for the City of Whitehorse.

Whitehorse fire chief Jason Everitt brought forward a recommendation for the contract award at Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 30 meeting, noting Emergency Management & Training was the only firm to submit a proposal on the project.

The proposal went through the city’s two-part review to be recommended for the contract award.

While the review had been originally scheduled for completion in 2020, it was delayed due to COVID-19.

Council will vote on the contract Dec. 7.

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

Whitehorse city council

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