City news, briefly

Some of the news from the Dec. 2 Whitehorse city council meeting

Whitehorse councillor raises concerns over slippery sidewalks

It appears to at least to one Whitehorse city councillor that the city’s maintenance bylaw is not having the effect it should.

At Whitehorse city council’s Dec. 2 meeting, Coun. Steve Roddick argued ice and snow on sidewalks continue to be a problem in the city.

“…. It’s pretty clear that many of our sidewalks remain icy and [in] unsafe conditions for pedestrians, particularly seniors and people with mobility challenges,” Roddick said at city council’s meeting on Monday.

“I fear that this is an equity issue, and at present we are failing our most vulnerable citizens.”

Roddick said it seems at least from his touring around the city that the maintenance bylaw is not delivering on the intention of keeping sidewalks clear. Under the bylaw, commercial property owners are required to clear sidewalks next to their property of snow and ice by 11 a.m. the day after it snows. Residential property owners have 48 hours after it snows to clear sidewalks next to their homes.

The bylaw outlines fines of $100 for failing to keep a sidewalk clean and clear and for failing to remove snow as directed.

Jeff O’Farrell, the city’s director of community and recreation services, said there have been 15 complaints about slippery sidewalks since Nov. 1.

In an emailed statement Dec. 4, City of Whitehorse spokesperson Myles Dolphin said no tickets have been issued as the city works to educate property owners first.

“Bylaw Services is largely complaint driven and has received 15 complaints so far this winter in relation to slippery sidewalks,” Dolphin said. “When complaints are received, Bylaw Services has focused on education and subsequent voluntary compliance by the property owner.”

At the council meeting, Roddick wondered about alternative solutions, questioning the costs to outsource sidewalk clearing to the private sector, or have city crews do the work.

O’Farrell said it would take considerable resources for staff to figure out those costs, with Roddick then stating he’d be satisfied knowing what percentage of the city’s sidewalks are subject to the bylaw. Staff have said they will look at that and get back to council with an answer in the near future.

Designing upgraded Whitehorse landfill could cost $189,000

A contract worth more than $189,000 for the detailed design of potential Whitehorse landfill upgrades could be awarded to Tetra Tech Canada Ltd.

Geoff Quinsey, the city’s manager of water and waste services, presented the recommendation for the contract award to council Dec. 2.

As Quinsey told council members, given the increase in landfill use over the last few years, it’s become clear there’s a need to improve bin access and safety, traffic flow, public education, enforcement, operations cost and in the streamlining of how materials are handled at the transfer station.

A conceptual plan for upgrades was done last year. The plans would include hard-surfacing, moving to a scale system for determining costs, rebuilding of a bin wall, adding more collection and recycling bins, upgrading safety features, improved signage and the development of a new area for designated materials and per-item fee materials.

Tetra Tech had the highest scoring proposal of the two that came in, with an evaluation looking at project team, past experience and performance, methodology and approach, fees and local preference.

Morrison Hershfield Ltd., which was responsible for the conceptual design, submitted the other proposal.

Quinsey said the plan does not contemplate expanding recycling to include beverage containers as they serve as a source of income to the local recycling firms, nor are there any plans to provide a free store.

Council will vote on the contract Dec. 9.

Whitehorse eyes new computers

Klondike Business Solutions could be providing the City of Whitehorse with new computer equipment over the next three years from 2020 to 2022.

Michael Reyes, the city’s manager of business and technology systems, presented the recommendation for the contract award to supply the city with computer equipment over the next three years at Whitehorse city council’s Dec. 2 meeting.

Klondike Business Solutions submitted one of two proposals that came in for the contract, the other coming from Microcad Computer Corporation.

The evaluation looked at experience, the service proposal (including both the equipment supply and ongoing service), value-added services and price.

Under the contract, Klondike Business Solutions would provide new computers in January 2020, June 2020 and January 2021 with each to have a five-year warranty.

Reyes said the city aims to replace about 80 computers every year with desktops and laptops having a life cycle of five years.

Council will vote on the contract Dec. 9.

Whitehorse city council