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

Lift station contract could be awarded

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

Whitehorse city council voted Dec. 7 to award the sole-sourced contract along with making budget changes to allow work on another pump at the lift station.

In a previous report to council, Arcadio Rodriguez, the city’s water and waste senior tech, highlighted a number of issues that have come up at the lift station due to sand and grit in the system over the last few years.

The issues have meant replacing pumps with what were backup pumps at the lift station.

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

As part of his recommendation for the work, Rodriguez suggested 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 will cost the city $114,820, council voted to adjust the budget so that a total of $200,000 was approved to also fund the refurbishment of the other pump.

City staff indicated efforts are underway to look at the issue of sand and grit in the system, which appears to be causing the damage to the pumps.

Peter O’Blenes, the city’s director of infrastructure and operations, said Stantec Engineering has been hired to look at the issue with a report anticipated for early in the new year.

While the lift station has a separator, it appears sand is still getting through it and creating issues for the pumps.

O’Blenes said it’s believed much of the sand originates from waste coming in from country residential properties, but more information on that will be available through the report when it is finished.

Private operators that pump out septic tanks dispose of the sewage at the lift station, which has an area for private operators to get rid of the waste. It is then pumped from there to the city’s sewage treatment facility.

Waste contract considered

PNW Waste Removal will be tasked with removing cardboard and waste from four city facilities after Whitehorse city council voted to award a $109,385 contract for the work to the company for a three-year term beginning Jan. 1.

The contract will 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.

Fire services review contract could be awarded

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

Whitehorse city council voted Dec. 7 to award the contract.

In an earlier report to council Whitehorse fire chief Jason Everitt brought forward a recommendation for the contract award 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.

City could lease office space

The City of Whitehorse is moving towards signing off on a $5,800 per month lease for office space beginning Feb. 1 for three years.

At Whitehorse city council’s Dec. 7 meeting, council members passed first reading on a proposed lease agreement for the city to rent a 428 square metre space from a numbered company — 535644 Yukon Inc.

The space is part of the property at 151 Industrial Road.

As the city’s senior project technician Nick Marnik stated in an earlier 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 services 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.

The final two readings of the bylaw for the lease will come forward in the new year.

Emergency management plan proposed

The City of Whitehorse has an updated Emergency Management Plan in place.

Whitehorse city council voted to adopt the plan at its Dec. 7 meeting.

As Whitehorse fire chief Jason Everitt explained at a previous council meeting, the plan serves as a guide for city staff in their roles with the emergency operations centre. The new plan replaces a 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.”

Coun. Laura Cabott said she’s looking forward to seeing the plan implemented.

“This is a really important plan,” she said.

Asset management policy comes forward

The City of Whitehorse has a new asset management policy in place after a 5-2 vote by Whitehorse city council to adopt it Dec. 7.

The policy, Valerie Braga, the city’s director of corporate services explained at an earlier meeting, 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.

Councillors Steve Roddick and Laura Cabott voted against adopting the policy.

Roddick had initially proposed an amendment to send the policy back to administration for further work that would more directly speak to the city’s sustainability and environmental goals.

Roddick’s’ motion was defeated with Cabott and Coun. Jan Stick being the only other members of council to vote in favour of it.

City staff explained the policy does contain some references to the city’s sustainable and environmental goals and noted the intent to fully incorporate those goals into assett management work, but also explained the policy was written in a way to avoid redundancy.

Roddick stated his view he would like to see the policy updated to more clearly reflect the sustainable and environmental values of the city.

Both Cabott and Stick stated their agreement with Roddick while other council members pointed out the city’s goals would be reflected in the implementation work and said they want to move efforts along for an asset management system.

“I’d like to move on this,” Mayor Dan Curtis said.

After Roddick’s motion was defeated, council voted in favour of adopting the policy.

A neighbourly donation

As efforts continue in Haines, Alaska, to deal with the devastating floods, landslides and snowmelt that have taken out homes and damaged infrastructure, Whitehorse city council is donating $5,000 to the community as a “gesture of support”, as Valerie Braga, the city’s director of corporate services, described in bringing forward the donation for council’s approval.

Whitehorse city council voted Dec. 7 in favour of providing the donation to be used as Haines’ borough assembly sees fit to deal with the emergency.

Coun. Steve Roddick said he was “very glad” to see the donation come forward for a council decision before council’s break over the Christmas holidays.

The Dec. 7 session marked the final 2020 regular meeting for Whitehorse city council with members set to reconvene again on Jan. 4.

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

Whitehorse city council