City news, briefly

Some of the issues discussed at the Oct. 22 Whitehorse council meeting

Whitehorse council contemplates thousands of dollars in grants

The City of Whitehorse is getting set to dole out special events grants for 2020 as well as its fall recreation grants.

If approved, the city would hand out a total of $50,000 in cash as well as in-kind help valued at $28,623 to 15 organizations hosting special events or festival.

The cash grants themselves range from $800 for the All-City Band Society’s Music for a Winter’s Eve in December 2020 to $6,000 each for the Yukon Quest sled dog race and the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Festival in February. Both the Quest and Rendezvous are also slated to receive in-kind services.

Meanwhile, the recreation grants would see more than $38,000 go to 11 organizations with those grants ranging from $1,200 for a workshop to be hosted by the Scottish Country Dance Society to $7,500 to the Yukon Art Society for arts and crafts programs.

Council is scheduled to vote on the grants Oct. 28.

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce calls for free parking

The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce is asking the City of Whitehorse to give residents free parking on Main, Steele and Elliott Streets for Yukoner Appreciation Day.

The annual event — this year set for Nov. 1 — sees local businesses offer deals and promotions as the seasonal shopping season gets underway.

In the past, the city has previously provided free parking on Main Street and while the chamber has asked that be extended to the two other streets as well, city staff are recommending it be in place for Main Street only.

Keeping it to Main Street would maintain consistency, minimize the revenue loss for the city and could also decrease confusion about where free parking is offered, Greg Stone, the city’s economic development coordinator, explained at council’s Oct. 22 meeting

While some — including Coun. Samson Hartland and Dan Boyd — pointed to the benefits of the day for local businesses and argued the loss of parking revenue may not be as significant as described, others wondered about those who might use the parking spaces if they’re free highlighting concerns about those who work downtown using the spaces all day.

Stone said efforts have been made to ensure businesses communicate the importance of leaving the spots open for shoppers.

The issue will come back for council to vote on Oct. 28.

Water license work could cost Whitehorse more than $50K

City staff are recommending Whitehorse city council award a hydrogeological assessment contract worth $57,307 to Morrison Hershfield.

The assessment at the Livingstone Trail Environmental Control Facility is part of the requirements of the city’s water license requirement.

“The scope of this work includes a desktop study using the existing data, development of a three-dimensional groundwater model, analysis and reporting and determining if additional investigation is required to collect more data to inform an assessment that will meet the requirements of the conditions in the water license,” city engineer Taylor Eshpeter said at council’s Oct. 22 meeting.

Morrison Hershfield was one of five firms to submit proposals and came out with the highest score in a review that looked at project team, past experience, methodology and approach, schedule, fees and local preference.

Council members will vote on the contract Oct. 28.

(Stephanie Waddell)

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