Whitehorse City Hall. (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall. (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

A look at issues considered by Whitehorse city council at its April 4 meeting, as well as other happenings around town.

Conditional use recommended

A local family hoping to live on the same site they plan to run a U-Haul rental business from will likely know April 11 whether their plans can become a reality.

That’s when Whitehorse city council is slated to vote on the conditional use application that would allow a caretaker suite on the property at 238 Tlingit Street.

At council’s April 4 meeting, Darcy McCord, the city’s acting manager of land and building services, brought forward a recommendation that council approve the application.

The plans would see a 157 square metre caretaker residence with three bedrooms built on the second level of a two-storey structure with the commercial space located on the ground floor.

A public input session on the application was held March 28 with the city receiving just one submission from the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, which owns the property, expressing support for the plans.

“The application is consistent with the Official Community Plan and zoning bylaw and as no concerns were raised through the conditional use application process or from administration, no conditions are recommended,” McCord said before putting forward the recommendation.

Taxi safety

As City of Whitehorse bylaw staff continue considering taxi safety, that work may take a more focused approach.

At Whitehorse city council’s April 4 meeting, bylaw manager Doug Spencer brought forward a recommendation that council direct staff to do further analysis and stakeholder engagement on potential bylaw amendments that would address taxi and passenger safety. Any amendments would be brought back to council.

While the proposal sought to look at a variety of issues including women’s safety fleet requirements and others, a number of council members argued the focus should be specifically on women’s safety.

Coun. Michelle Friesen was the first to speak up on the matter, arguing that considering other matters like fleet modernization would take the focus off of women’s safety.

She cited the 2021 survey by the Yukon Women’s Coalition, in which more than half of respondents reported being made uncomfortable or scared by something that was said or asked in a taxi.

Sexual harassment in taxis was found to be significantly more common for Indigenous women.

Since the survey results were released, calls for changes to the city’s Vehicle For Hire bylaw have been made.

Friesen pointed out the survey is among the main reasons the issue of taxi safety is coming to council.

On March 30 the city and RCMP held a press conference noting efforts underway to address cab safety in Whitehorse, including having staff review the survey along with policies and the bylaw.

Mayor Laura Cabott voiced her support for a more broad look at the bylaw that would involve engaging with many stakeholders on the issue of taxi safety.

“I don’t want to narrow this,” she said. “I want to keep a broad so we get the best information possible.”

Following a lengthy discussion among council, Cabott and Coun. Dan Boyd were the only members of council to support a more broad look at the bylaw while the remaining five councillors supported a more focused approach.

Council will formally vote on it April 11.

Protect against flooding

The City of Whitehorse is reminding residents to take steps to ensure their properties are protected from snowmelt flooding.

In an April 5 statement, the city pointed out that Whitehorse has seen another record amount of snow this winter and that as temperatures rise, some properties may be at risk of flooding.

“You can reduce the risk of flooding on your property by placing snow piles downhill from buildings and in areas with good drainage; removing snow that may trap snowmelt and provide a route for drainage away from buildings; and ensuring downspouts are free of obstructions and pointed away from buildings.”

Having sandbags and a small pump can also be useful in preventing flood damage on properties that have drainage issues. Residents can also consider having a professional remove snow from their roof and/or from the property.

Residents are reminded to place snow at the curb edge or on the property, not into roadways, sidewalks or adjacent properties. It’s also important not to place snow against fire hydrants, utility boxes, road signs, or over storm drains.

If anyone notices drainage issues on city property, they are asked to call water and waste services at 668-8350 for urgent issues related to frozen storm drains, fleet and transportation maintenance at 668-8345 for urgent issues around a blocked ditch or drainage course that could impact private property, or engineering at 668-8305 for non-urgent drainage-related advice.

Tea time

Time to put the kettle on.

The City of Whitehorse is once again inviting Whitehorse seniors to register for the city’s Takeout Tea Party for Two by April 24.

The takeout tea party was first held in 2020 due to COVID-19 as an alternative to the previous in-person Seniors Tea the city hosted annually.

Seniors aged 60 and over who register receive a self-contained tea party package which includes tea and light snacks to enjoy with a friend.

Participants are encouraged to send their favourite tea party photo to RSVP@whitehorse.ca to share with the community as it celebrates seniors.

Seniors can register to receive a tea party kit at Whitehorse.ca/play, by calling 667-8360, or at the reception desk at the Canada Games Centre.

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

Whitehorse city council