Whitehorse City Hall seen in a file photo. (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall seen in a file photo. (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

Here is a look at transit apps and decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its Jan. 31 meeting.

App options now available for transit

Looking to buy a bus pass or find out if your bus is running on schedule? There are apps for that.

On Feb. 1, the City of Whitehorse announced residents can purchase bus passes and find out where their bus is via two apps.

The Token Transit app allows riders to purchase their bus pass on a mobile device. They can then board their bus by showing the driver their pass on the device.

The app can be downloaded at tokentransit.com/app.

On the Ride Systems app, buses can be tracked, allowing riders to plan their trips accordingly.

“City buses are now equipped with GPS locators so you can see them moving in real-time, and get arrival predictions,” the city said in a statement.

The Ride Systems app can be found at mobile.ridesystems.net or in the Google Play and App Store.

Winter clearing for two trails approved

Two local trails will soon see more snow clearing service from the City of Whitehorse.

At its Jan. 31 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved a change to the city’s snow and ice policy to alter the level of service for a portion of the lower escarpment paved path and the connector trail between Granger and Hillcrest.

As it was noted at an earlier meeting, adding clearing of the two trails in the city’s snow and ice policy could be done within the city’s existing budget and would improve connections for active transportation users in the city.

While council agreed to the plans, it did not come without some discussion following a delegate presentation by Anne Middler, who argued snow on the trails should be compacted rather than completely cleared to allow for use by all active transportation users, such as kick-sleds that she and her family use to get around downtown. She also noted the use of sand on the trails can have a negative impact for kicksleds, as well as bikes, and suggested sanding only be done when absolutely necessary.

During council discussion on the matter, council members confirmed with staff that under the changes the trails would be cleared, though grit would only be used as needed.

While council voted in favour of the change, Coun. Kirk Cameron highlighted a possible comprehensive review of the city’s snow clearing policy that may be coming up, and noted he would like to look further into trail maintenance and the balance of interest in winter trail maintenance at that time.

Tax lien list authorized

A list of Whitehorse property owners with outstanding property tax bills will soon be published after Whtiehorse city council voted to sign off on the annual tax lien list.

The list, which is published annually, details any outstanding amounts of property taxes, interest and penalties owing.

At council’s Jan. 24 meeting, Valerie Braga, the city’s director of corporate services, brought forward the proposed 2021 list with a recommendation the city seal be affixed to it and the list published.

The initial list before the Jan. 31 approval included a total of 71 properties where tax amounts are owed ranging from $140.78 to $14,430, for a total of $178,499.

At the Jan. 31 meeting, Braga confirmed some of those bills had since been paid, though the city was still finalizing figures. The bills that were paid up will not appear on the published list.

“Each property on this list will be levied an administration fee and will be subject to further collection procedures if the account is not paid within 60 days,” Braga stated in a report to council. “Those steps include initial application for title to the property after 12 months and final application for title to the mediation board after a further six months. If the taxes remain outstanding, the title to the property is transferred to the city and, assuming the city has no use for the property, it is disposed of at fair market value.”

Writing off uncollectible accounts

The City of Whitehorse is closer to writing off more than $20,000.

At Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 31 meeting, council passed the first and second reading of a bylaw to write off uncollectible amounts. Such a bylaw comes forward annually and is required under the Municipal Act.

As director of corporate service Valerie Braga explained at an earlier meeting, accounting practises require such amounts to be written off where there is little likelihood of collection.

“In certain circumstances, an account will remain with a collection agency or credit bureau for possible further action as identified in the bylaw,” she said. “There is a small possibility that some collection will occur subsequent to write-off. In that event the collection will be appropriately recognized in the city’s financial records.”

The uncollectible accounts include $11,125 in non-Yukon parking tickets (as the city has no way of collecting this through motor vehicles as it does for Yukon vehicles), $8,645 for an error in tax assessments where city taxes were levied after occupiers had passed away or a building was removed and $371 for an individual’s parking fines that have been deemed uncollectible as the debt is unsecured.

Lagoon project may move forward

The Livingstone Lagoon will see work later this year after Whitehorse city council voted Jan. 31 to move ahead with the procurement of the project.

The work is required under the city’s water licence.

In cases where a project is anticipated to cost $500,000 or more, council must approve the procurement going ahead.

“Desludging the (lagoon) primary cells keeps the solids load at a level that allows the wastewater treatment system to operate efficiently,” Karen Furlong, the city’s manager of water and waste services, stated in an earlier report to council. “An added benefit is that the removal of solids partially aids with the mitigation of odours that become a nuisance at certain times of the year for residents of Whistle Bend and Porter Creek.

“This project will hire a contractor specializing in desludging/solids dredging, to remove solids from the primary Cell A of the (lagoon), pump it into geotubes to dry, and transfer existing dried biosolids (from 2018 work) into nearby land for disposal.”

Tender documents for the work are expected to be released Feb. 14, with the contract to be awarded by April 4. Work would begin around June 6 and wrap up July 29.

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