Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its July 26 meeting.

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its July 26 meeting.

Changes made to recreation grant policy

Whitehorse city council has made a number of changes to the city’s Recreation Grant Policy.

Council approved the changes at its July 26 meeting.

The policy guides how the city allocates approximately $2 million it provides to community groups annually. Funding for the grants comes from Lotteries Yukon.

As Kerri Rutherford, the city’s program supervisor, stated in an earlier report to council, while the policy was revised in 2020, over the past year it’s been found a review was needed to deal with minor housekeeping and provide greater clarity.

She pointed out the most significant change would see the word “equipment” replace the word “capital” to describe items groups may seek funding for, with major and minor categories in place.

Major equipment refers to items that cost $2,000-plus and is expected to last two years or more with minor equipment being items that cost less and are not expected to exceed two years.

“This change better reflects how the program is utilized and is more realistic in the application for the funding limits for each category,” Rutherford said.

Other amendments confirm the maximum amount of eligible funding per year/per applicant, include an accountability statement as part of the evaluation criteria, and clarify that funding is not to be used toward city fees.

Whitehorse unlikely to have board of revision for October vote

The City of Whitehorse is moving closer to removing a requirement to have a board of revision in place for the Oct. 21 municipal vote.

At Whitehorse city council’s July 26 meeting, members passed the first two readings of a bylaw to formally end the board of revision and list of electors requirement for the election.

The board of revision has been responsible for cross-checking applications for voters to be added or removed from the list of electors in the city.

As returning officer Norma Felker explained: “A board of revision will be redundant and unnecessary given the modern approach being taken for the 2021 municipal election along with information and support being provided by Elections Yukon.”

Essentially, the city’s list of voters for the 2021 election is coming from Elections Yukon’s permanent registry. As Felker described in an earlier report to council, the work to prepare the list of electors for the board of revision is “time consuming, and since each member requires a paper copy of the list, the volume of paper is enormous.”

Voter information coming to the city from the territory was updated from the April 12 territorial election and is specific to the criteria for the municipal vote (including having been a resident of the city for a year among others), Felker said, adding voters not on the list will also have an opportunity to register online or in-person.

A system will be set up on the city’s website, and available at a kiosk inside the Canada Games Centre, in early September, so potential voters can check to see that they’re registered, update their information, and/or register to vote.

“Any eligible elector not included in the voter information used at the polls will still be eligible to register at the poll,” she said. “A communications plan will promote voter awareness and encourage electors to check the list.”

Third reading of the bylaw will come forward in August.

Public hearing set on caretaker suites

A public hearing will be held on a zoning proposal that could see three caretaker suites added to a Marwell property.

Whitehorse city council passed first reading, July 26, of a bylaw on the zoning amendment proposed for 105 Titanium Way, prompting a public hearing scheduled for Sept. 13.

The amendment would allow another three caretaker suites on the property, in addition to the one that is there now.

A number of conditions would be attached to the zoning change, including that the suites be connected to the business by a staircase, hallway or door; a 100 square metre size cap per residence; and that the business and connected suite be considered as one unit.

While Coun. Dan Boyd has commented the term “employee housing” may be a better option than “caretaker suite”, Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, explained employee housing refers to housing that is on-site, but separate from the business. A caretaker suite, on the other hand, is connected directly to the business.

Boyd said that while he still has concerns about the language, he would support the zoning moving forward to the public hearing phase.

Other council members highlighted potential benefits from the rezoning, pointing to the challenging housing situation facing the city, and fewer vehicles on the road commuting to work among others.

(Stephanie Waddell)

Whitehorse city council