City news, briefly

Some of the decisions made at the Whitehorse city council meeting Dec. 9

City awards landfill design contract

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

Whitehorse city council voted on the contract award Dec. 9.

The work comes in light of increased use of the landfill in recent years. A staff report says there’s a need to improve safety and access to bins, improve traffic flow, public education, enforcement and operations.

Included in the conceptual plan for upgrades are hard-surfacing, moving to a scale system to determine costs for customers, the rebuilding of a bin wall, adding more collection and recycling bins, upgrading safety features, improved signage and developing a new area for designated materials and per-item fee materials.

Tetra Tech came out with the highest scoring proposal of two submitted in an evaluation looking at project team, past experience and performance, methodology and approach, fees and local preference. The other proposal came from Morrison Hershfield.

(Stephanie Waddell)

Klondike Business Solutions to supply city with computers

Klondike Business Solutions will be tasked with providing the City of Whitehorse with new computer equipment over the next three years from 2020 to 2022. Whitehorse city council approved the contract award Dec. 9.

Klondike Business Solutions submitted one of two proposals that came in for the supply of computer equipment, with the other proposal coming from Microcad Computer Corporation.

An 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 will provide new computers in January 2020, June 2020 and January 2021 with each to have a five-year warranty. The city aims to replace about 80 computers every year with desktops and laptops having a life cycle of five years.

Leases approved for Shipyards Park

The Yukon Film Society and Yukon Literacy Coalition will remain in their Shipyards Park homes until 2024 after Whitehorse city council approved third reading on new lease agreements for the buildings at its Dec. 9 meeting.

Leases for both the Jenni House and Hatch House expired earlier this year with the organizations staying on through an over-holding provision in the lease agreements. The film society has been based out of the Jenni House in recent years with the literacy coalition using the Hatch House to deliver summer programming.

Before voting with the rest of council in favour of the leases, Coun. Samson Hartland said it’s great to see city heritage buildings being put to use and highlighted the improvements along the city’s waterfront over the last decade.

Whitehorse tweaks wording of funding agreement with Challenge

Whitehorse city council has approved third reading of a bylaw Dec. 9 to alter the funding agreement for the Cornerstone Building project.

The change comes thanks to a two-unit difference in the project plans by Challenge Resource Disability Group, which is planning the housing project at 704 Main Street.

The building is set to be a mix of affordable rental units, supportive housing and condos that will be sold at a market rate. On the ground level, will be Challenge’s two business ventures Twisted Wood Works and Bridges Cafe.In July 2018, a city grant of $1 million was approved for the project with Challenge later securing more federal and territorial funding for the initiative.

The amount of the grant won’t change but the city needed to adjust the wording of the agreement to account for the fewer units.

Construction is slated to happen in 2020, but the number of units proposed for the building has changed from 55 to 53 due to changes in eligibility requirements for funding from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation that has seen the number of required accessible units go up from 10 per cent to 20 per cent.

That means the number of accessible units will increase from six to nine, resulting in a loss of three affordable housing units. Instead of 48 affordable units, 45 are now planned (of which nine will be accessible units).

After researching the market, Challenge determined there was no demand for the proposed three-bedroom condo and altered the plans to now include a one-bedroom and two-bedroom unit instead of the single three-bedroom units.

Council approves land sale

The owners of 2 North Star Drive can develop the driveway they had planned after Whitehorse city council voted 4-2 on Dec. 9 to pass third reading of a bylaw for the sale of a small strip of land next to the Falcon Drive side of the lot.

Councillors Samson Hartland and Dan Boyd voted against the land sale, arguing that there could be other ways to allow the owners to use the land without selling it. Coun. Jan Stick was absent from the meeting and therefore did not vote on it.

The owners had built a garage with doors facing out to the Falcon Drive side of the property. When it became clear which way the garage doors were oriented, a stop work order was put in place and the owners began pursuing purchasing the small five-metre section between their property and the road to allow access from Falcon Drive. City staff recommended selling the land with council approving its sale.

A number of council members stated before the Dec. 9 vote that after getting in touch with the owners, it’s become clear the error was a result of a miscommunication between the city and property owners.

Whitehorse capital budget passes

Whitehorse city council has adopted its 2020 capital budget, setting out a plan that could see it spend more than $33 million on major projects next year.

Council approved second and third reading Dec. 9 in a 5-1 vote. Coun. Laura Cabott was the only member of council to vote against the budget, after highlighting a number of issues she wanted to see more focus on including the implementation of the Schwatka Lake area plan, the bicycle network plan and more. She had also proposed, but was defeated on a motion, to spend $8,000 to add a comfort station downtown during the summer months.

The plan as adopted sets out spending totaling $7.45 million from city reserves with another $26.3 million anticipated coming from external sources like federal gas tax funding.

The plan also sets out provisional capital spending plans into 2023 with the city expecting to spend $6.6 million in 2021, $3.8 million in 2022, and $3.2 million in 2023 on capital projects from its reserves.

A separate document shows the city plans to spend a further $34 million in 2021, $20.5 million in 2022 and $27.1 million in 2023 from federal and territorial funds, provided they are approved as planned.

A major focus for capital spending plan in the four-year plan is on projects that will help reduce energy use: $425,000 in upgrades to the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre; a $125,000 study of the city’s fleet management system to address inefficiencies; continued work at the cost of $20.8 million over three years on the city’s new services building as part of the overall consolidation efforts of the city; and upgrades to the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre and Takhini Arena.

New buses and implementation of the city’s 2018 transit plan are also outlined in the proposed budget along with other initiatives.

Whitehorse city council