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

A settled debt

Just a week after passing third reading on a bylaw to write off $294,345 the City of Whitehorse was owed in outstanding fees and fines, Whitehorse city council is being asked to consider an amendment to that bylaw.

As Brittany Dixon, the city’s manager of financial services, stated in a report to council at its Feb. 15 meeting, the amendment is proposed to reflect a $1,950 payment by Telus to settle up an advertising bill of a third party advertising agency.

As Telus officials stated in an earlier email to the News, it learned of the outstanding account only after the list of accounts was published.

Once learning about it, Telus officials reached out to the city and paid off the account as an act of goodwill.

The account comes from an invoice for arena ice advertising that was sent to Telus late instead of the advertising agency that entered into an agreement with the city for the ad space.

The agency has since gone out of business, but Telus opted to pay off the amount.

As Dixon told council on Feb. 15, the payment was not received in time for the bylaw naming Telus to be changed prior to third reading.

“As the item is no longer outstanding and payment was actually received prior to the passage of the write-off bylaw, the bylaw needs to be amended,” she said.

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the bylaw amendment Feb. 22.

The work of council members in 2020

Summary reports of Whitehorse city councillors work in 2020 were released at Whitehorse city council’s Feb. 15 meeting.

The report is produced each February and details council members attendance at official council meetings along with travel and expenses claimed in the previous year. Also included in the report is a wrap up on how council voted on each matter over the course of the year.

The report detailing attendance at official council meetings for 2020 show councillors Samson Hartland and Steve Roddick tied for the highest number of absences at just three each while Mayor Dan Curtis missed two meetings. The remaining councillors — Jan Stick, Dan Boyd, Laura Cabott, Jocelyn Curteanu — each missed one meeting during the year.

While travel was largely limited for council due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was some travel within the territory as well as Outside prior to the restrictions that were put in place for the pandemic.

Curtis had the highest travel expenses claimed with a total of $2,746.30, including $1,749.18 to go to the Arctic Inspiration Awards Ceremony in Ottawa as well as travel back from Victoria when the Arctic Winter Games were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Boyd claimed $2,008.64 to go to a Canadian Capital Cities Organization event in Ottawa.

Both Roddick and Stick submitted claims for the Association of Yukon Communities annual meeting in Faro. While Stick’s claim is listed as $193.33, Roddick’s claim for the meeting is $589.94. It was noted that Roddick was the only member of council to be issued a $400 invoice for the conference, which made up the significant difference in expenses claimed.

Roddick also had a general expense of $95 that was claimed with Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu also claiming the same amount. Hartland also filed an expense claim for $170. Finally, Cabott was the only member of council to have no travel or expense claims submitted in 2020.

In a discussion that followed the presentation of the report, council members emphasized the work of council extends beyond the weekly council meetings that are streamed online each week.

To that end, Roddick prepared his own report he’s making available on social media detailing his attendance at meetings; official activities such as briefings, council and administrative roundtable discussions, AYC board meetings and more; as well as additional activities like community events, networking, learning and more.

In his self-produced report, Roddick reported attending 44 official meetings, 68 official activities and 85 additional activities over the course of 2020.

Zoning bylaw changes come forward

A number of changes could be coming to the City of Whitehorse zoning bylaw.

At Whitehorse city council’s Feb. 15 meeting, members were presented with a list of amendments “to change or improve regulations, clarify wording, correct omissions and implement minor changes.”

“All of these changes have arisen from day-to-day use of the bylaw,” said Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services.

The changes outline amendments for the general administration of the bylaw, definitions, development regulations, requirements for development permits, parking requirements, sign requirements, map edits and residential/commercial zone regulations.

While many of the changes are minor, in council discussion it was noted that among the amendments would be a reduction in the notice time for property owners to remove illegally placed signs from 30 days to 24 hours and mobile homes would be excluded from the required 7.5 metre setback from mobile home park boundaries, instead relying on setbacks established from pad sites.

Coun. Dan Boyd noted his hope efforts will be made to ensure the public is aware of the potential changes, as some may be more “consequential” for the public.

Council will vote on first reading of the changes at its Feb. 22 meeting. If that’s approved, a public hearing would be held March 22 with a report on the feedback coming back to council April 6 ahead of the final two readings expected April 12.

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

Whitehorse city council