City news, briefly

A summary of some of the issues discussed at the June 17 Whitehorse city council meeting

A dangerous track with no trolley – what’s a government to do?

Rotted wood, protruding nails and spikes – all safety concerns along sections of the downtown Waterfront Trolley tracks – brought up by Coun. Laura Cabott at the June 17 Whitehorse council meeting.

The tracks are a responsibility of the Yukon government, but given that the no-longer used tracks are in the city where many walk, bike and drive, Cabott wondered if there was anything the city could do to “turn this situation around.”

City manager Linda Rapp said officials had sent a letter to Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn on May 21 about the situation and followed that up by reaching out to department officials.

Highways and Public Works spokesman Oshea Jephson said June 19, staff will be out to the areas over the next couple of days and will use flags and highly visible paint so the public is aware of the situation. That will be an initial step as the department looks at how to proceed on a more long-term basis.

Council considers closing city animal shelter

A potential consolidation between the city’s animal shelter and the Humane Society Yukon’s Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, work with the Kwanlin Dün First Nation on a potential officer position, and downtown parking enforcement have all been outlined as priorities for the City of Whitehorse bylaw department.

City bylaw manager Doug Spencer brought forward a report outlining the plans coming out of the bylaw services review done in 2018.

The review found the city’s animal shelter doesn’t conform to the Canadian Shelter Veterinarians Guidelines minimum standards. The Mae Bachur shelter, meanwhile, meets and exceeds those standards.

It was recommended the city services be consolidated with Mae Bachur at its space, thus closing the city’s shelter. Spencer said preliminary discussions have happened with the shelter and the executive director has been supportive of the move. At the same time, Mae Bachur has made it clear an expansion would be needed if the consolidation went ahead. Work on potential expansion costs is underway.

The review also proposed a potential position with the Kwanlin Dün First Nation to create a hybrid role for community safety officers there that would also have the with the authority of a city bylaw officer.

Early talks with the First Nation’s justice manager have happened and further dialogue is needed to come up with a framework and determine other details for the new role, Spencer said.

Finally downtown parking is an area of focus as the city looks to modernize through online ticket payment, an app to improve customer service, hand-held ticketing devises and a move to kiosks over the traditional coin meters.

Extension proposed on landfill contract

Castle Rock Enterprises may be on the job at the city landfill for an extra five months if the city opts to extend the contract for the operation of the landfill.

The current five-year deal for the landfill operation ends July 31 after city manager Linda Rapp approved a one-month extension. Anything longer has to be approved by council; hence the longer extension has come forward to council.

Geoff Quinsey, the city’s manager of water and waste services, made the recommendation the contract be extended until Nov. 30 with plans for the next contract not yet making it beyond an expression of interest.

As Quinsy said, three local companies replied to the expression of interest that went out in March.

After that though, further work for a new contract did not move forward due to staffing issues. No tender has been released.

“Water and waste services is proposing to extend the existing contract to Nov. 30, 2019 to allow time for completion of the RFT updates and the tender process for the contemplated new five-year agreement,” Quinsey said.

The extension would cost the city $145,976, already approved under the city’s budget for landfill operations.

Council will vote on the extension at its June 24 meeting.

Whitehorse council could spend $170,00 on new software

A contract worth close to $170,000 for the city’s SCADA system could be awarded to Viva Automation.

SCADA – supervisory control and data acquisition – provides automatic controls to function at pump houses, lift stations and reservoirs.

“The current software application was developed in the 1990s and deployed in early 2000’s,” Geoff Quinsey, the city’s manager and water and waste services, stated in a report. “As with other computer systems, running out-of-date software results in unexpected failures, incompatibility with new software and hardware, and lack of technical support.”

A July 2017 assessment recommended new SCADA software implementation.

Vancouver-based Viva was one of three firms to submit proposals. It came out with the highest score in an evaluation which examined project team, methodology, past experience, the project schedule, fees and local preference.

Council will vote June 24 on the contract.