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

City hall, briefly

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

Looking ahead

City of Whitehorse officials are looking at taking a phased approach to reopening services and changes that have come due to COVID-19.

Acting city manager Mike Gau told Whitehorse city council at its May 4 meeting that each city department is looking at how a “soft reopening” could happen.

Along with considering the city’s own circumstances it will also see staff look at how things are happening in other jurisdictions.

The comment came following a question from Coun. Samson Hartland on when city council members will be able to return to chambers for their weekly meetings.

He said while it’s important any reintegration of proceedings be done safely, he would like to return to some sense of normalcy.

Currently, due to physical distancing measures, the chair of the council meeting (typically the mayor) is the only council member present at the meeting with others calling in to the session. Staff are also kept to a minimum, typically with about a half dozen on-hand to deliver reports and answer questions.

Gau noted the work now being done by departments to contemplate a soft start to reopening would include an analysis that will come to council.

Meanwhile, Coun. Steve Roddick wondered about more options for public input, as under current restrictions input is limited to written submissions.

Gau noted the city is using traditional and social media to get its messages out to the public on a variety of issues, but pointed out the time and resources are not at this time available to invest heavily in technology that would allow for video or voice presentations.

Roddick said he appreciates the efforts by staff during the pandemic, but also noted he would continue to monitor the issue going forward.

City will collect yard waste again

The City of Whitehorse will resume the collection of extra yard waste bags on May 11, officials said in a statement May 1.

The city had suspended the collection of extra yard waste due to COVID-19.

“When setting yard waste bags out for pick-up, please ensure all bags are placed together and are at least one metre away from your green cart,” it was noted. “Please remember to adhere to physical distancing measures, and fill your green cart before using yard waste bags.”

Council considers its priorities

Whitehorse city council could formally adopt its 2020 priority list on May 11.

The 2020 strategic priorities document was put forward at its May 4 meeting.

The list is an annual update where mayor and council review its priorities.

“Council reviewed successes and areas for improvement from 2019 and confirmed its collective priorities for 2020,” it was highlighted in a report to council. “This information was being prepared for release to the public when the COVID-19 reality hit the Yukon and immediate priorities needed to shift to a public health emergency response.”

The priorities identified for 2020 include environmental stewardship, transportation, infrastructure renewal, public safety and housing.

Coun. Steve Roddick said he’s pleased to see environmental stewardship on the list, but questioned if a workshop on climate change that had been scheduled for later this month had been rescheduled.

It has not yet been rescheduled with the city also working to reschedule Official Community Plan workshops as well.

Roddick said he’d continue to check in on the matter.

Meanwhile, Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu said she’s pleased to see the document come forward and have it be made official while Coun. Jan Stick confirmed once approved it will be available for the public on the city’s web site.

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

Whitehorse city council

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