Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

Fireworks confirmed

The city will indeed host a fireworks display this New Year’s Eve, it was announced Dec. 16.

“Say goodbye to 2021 with a bang,” the announcement states.

The 2020 fireworks show was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The 2021 edition will be a 10 to 15 minute production beginning at 8 p.m. All vehicle and pedestrian traffic near the fireworks site on Wickstrom Road will be stopped from about 7:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Residents are recommended to enjoy the display “from the heated comfort of your car.”

Rotary Park, Takhini Arena and Shipyards Park are recommended for the best views with residents asked to remember to stay in their bubble and distance appropriately. Those looking to take in the event from a trail might find some good vantage points along the Airport Trail, Downtown Escarpment Trail or the Riverfront Trail.

Residents are asked not to park on Black Street or Front Street by the fire hall as emergency vehicles need space to safely come and go.

Holiday hours

Many City of Whitehorse offices, including city hall, will close for the Christmas holiday at noon Dec. 24 and re-open Dec. 29.

City offices will also be closed on Jan. 3rd.

Meanwhile, for those taking transit, Saturday service will be in effect Dec. 24, Dec. 27, Dec. 28, and Jan. 3. Transit will not be running on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

The Canada Games Centre will operate with reduced hours on Dec. 24 from 5:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Dec. 31 from 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The facility will be closed on Dec. 25 and 26, and Jan. 1st.

The city’s landfill will be closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day. On Boxing Day, tipping fees will be waived for self-hauled pickup loads of sorted residential waste. Tipping fees still apply for metals, appliances, and all commercial loads. More details are available at whitehorse.ca/wastedays.

The Frank Slim Building at Shipyards Park will be closed on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

For complaints outside of office hours, residents can call the Trouble Line at 667-2111, and in the event of an emergency, call 911.

Whistle Bend plans move forward

Plans for the next parts of the Whistle Bend neighbourhood took a step forward Dec. 13 when Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision of phases 7 and 8 on the northern edge of the neighbourhood, along with passing first reading on the zoning for phase 9.

Phase 7 is set to see the development of 90 single-family lots along with 41 townhouses, while Phase 8 will include 15 single-family lots and a multi-family property.

It’s anticipated lots in phases 7 and 8 will be available for construction in 2023.

Before voting in favour of the subdivision and zoning, Coun. Ted Laking highlighted concerns that have come from delays in the project as well as traffic concerns along Mountain View Drive that have come due to increased traffic in Whistle Bend.

Rezoning passes first reading

Residents can have their say on the proposed rezoning of a 10.76 hectare parcel of land at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 17 meeting.

Council passed first reading on the rezoning Dec. 13, prompting the public hearing.

The plans for the property, owned by the Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN), would see the First Nation lease part of its land to the Yukon Energy Corporation for an energy battery storage.

The energy corporation would lease 1.66 ha of the site, which would be rezoned to Public Utilities, with the First Nation proposing to have the remainder also rezoned to Mixed Use Commercial/Industrial for future sites.

Following the Jan. 17 public hearing, a report will come forward to council with second and third reading expected Feb. 14.

Housing Advisory Committee moves forward

City of Whitehorse staff will begin work to bring forward a framework aimed at developing a housing advisory committee early in the New Year.

At Whitehorse city council’s Dec. 13 meeting, members voted in favour of having administration begin the work so the committee can be established in the New Year.

The concept for the committee came up a week earlier with Coun. Dan Boyd suggested a group be created to focus specifically on housing. Administration was then directed to come back to council with potential options.

It was noted at the Dec. 13 meeting, administration could bring forward a framework early in the new year.

During discussion, council members emphasized the importance of having the committee in place as soon as possible and involving the private sector, governments, and organizations working on housing.

Trail plan adopted

The Whitehorse South Trail Plan has been adopted by the city as a guiding document.

Whitehorse city council voted in favour of adopting the plan Dec. 13, despite stated opposition from two residents early in the meeting.

Keith Lay and Patrick Milligan provided presentations arguing against the plan that would allow for snow machines on the trail network.

“Citizens want an equitable trail system,” Lay said, noting that such a system would include non-motorized trails.

For that change to happen, it was noted the city’s snowmobile bylaw would have to be changed.

The trail plan will be used by the city to determine work plans and any projects with partner organizations and trail stewards. “While the plan seeks to maximize the use of existing trails, several future trail connections are proposed in the plan in order to fill the gaps along the Yukon River corridor and ensure access to trail loops from all neighbourhoods.”

Honouring long-time manager

As the city gets set to hire a new city manager in the new year, Mayor Laura Cabott stated the city’s thanks to outgoing city manager Linda Rapp for her “outstanding contributions to the City of Whitehorse.”

Rapp is retiring at the end of the year, though she has been on pre-retirement leave since the spring.

As the final council meeting of 2021 wrapped up, Cabott highlighted Rapp’s 35-year career with the city, which began in the parks and recreation department.

“She possesses a leadership style that has always been focused on all citizens, but also staff,” Cabott said. “She is a dignified, more open-minded, patient, honest – I could go on and on – hard working professional.”Jeff O’Farrell, the city’s director of community services who has been serving as acting city manager, will take on the role of interim city manager in the new year until a new city manager is hired.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council