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

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whtiehorse city council this week.

Council awards spring rec grants

More than $131,000 could be allocated to spring recreation grants.

The proposed funding was approved at Whitehorse city council’s April 27 meeting.

Divided into three categories, the funding totals include $67,208 for specific programs, $30,600 for recreation facilities and $33,925 for arts and cultural facilities.

While a number of recreational programs have been cancelled, postponed or altered to online operations in recent weeks due to COVID-19, the city has asked recipients to contact the city if there are changes to their programs due to the pandemic.

Any unspent funds must be returned to the city.

Road surfacing contract considered

The city has awarded a nearly $420,000 contract to Skookum Asphalt for the annual BST road surfacing work this year.

Council approved the contract award at its April 27 meeting.

Skookum was the only firm to bid on the work.

Along with approving the contract, council also voted to add another $35,000 to the budget for the work from the city’s portion of gas tax funding. That will bring the full project budget up to $430,000 with the extra funds covering engineering, material testing and construction inspections.

Roads up for BST resurfacing work this year include Laberge Road, War Eagle Way, Fish Lake Road, Sumanik Drive, Harvey Place, Arkell Place, Keele Place, Haldane Place and Tombstone Place.

Buildings Named

The two City of Whitehorse buildings under construction have officially been named.

In a 6-1 vote at its April 27 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the name of the new fire hall being built downtown and the operations building off of Range Road.

Officially, the fire hall is now Whitehorse Fire Hall #1 and the operations building is the Whitehorse Operations Building.

Coun. Laura Cabott was the lone member to vote against the name.

She reiterated arguments she’s made previously that the city should be working to come up with building names that better reflect the city’s culture and history.

“I think it’s a missed opportunity,” she said.

Others, meanwhile, argued the names reflect the functions of the buildings, something Coun. Dan Boyd commented is important for emergency structures.

While Coun. Samson Hartland and Coun. Steve Roddick supported the names, they also stated they’d like to take a closer look and ask the public about how city buildings are named in the future, potentially incorporating more of the city’s heritage into future names.

Compost sales resume

Bagged compost can once again be purchased at the Whitehorse Waste Management Facility.

The City of Whitehorse announced April 27 it had started selling bags of compost again after suspending the sales due to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public and staff.

Since then, measures have been put in place to address the risk.

Purchases can only be made with a credit or debit card and customers are asked to follow signage and directions from gatehouse operators, to be patient when waiting for service and avoid making multiple trips.

They should also follow physical distancing measures of two metres.

It’s expected bulk sales of compost will begin after stockpiles have thawed and can go through the compost screening process. More information on that will likely be announced early in the month.

“When bulk compost sales resume, we will require customers to follow the above guidelines but will also require them to call ahead to place their order and schedule a time slot for pickup,” city officials said in a statement.

Making way for active transportation

The City of Whitehorse announced April 24 that Miles Canyon Road would be closed to vehicles until at least May 11.

The move is being made in an effort to provide more recreation to residents while measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are still in force.

Officials noted there’s been an increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Miles Canyon Road.

City workers will also be doing seasonal maintenance work on the road.

With more Whitehorse residents getting around on foot or by bike, the city has also instituted changes to the Millennium Trail, which has seen an increase in active transportation.

On April 27, signs and pylons were placed to make the pedestran traffic flow in one direction only towards the Robert Service Campground on the narrow River Wall portion of the trail between the S.S. Klondike and Eagle’s Nest parking lot.

Those travelling in the other direction back towards Second Avenue for that section of the trail are being directed to do so on the shoulder of Robert Service Way with pylons in place to separate would-be trail users from vehicle traffic.

“This is a temporary measure in order to help facilitate physical distancing on the trail during the COVID-19 situation,” the city said in a statement.

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

Whitehorse city council