Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 16 meeting.

Waste carts for the future

A growing population and commercial compost collection program has City of Whitehorse officials proposing the purchase of new waste carts a year ahead of schedule.

Ira Webb, the city’s manager of solid waste, brought forward a recommendation council approve moving ahead with the purchase of garbage and compost carts that had been planned for 2023.

As Webb explained, the current inventory has 240 black garbage carts and 162 organic carts available for the city’s waste collection program.

“To ensure that waste collection service levels can be maintained, an order of carts is recommended in 2022 instead of the planned procurement in 2023 to prevent a potential shortfall,” he said, going on to note the need for new carts has outpaced the expectations of the department.

The purchase would cost the city $95,000 with the carts taking between 60 and 90 days to arrive after they’re ordered. It’s expected the amount would pay for approximately 500 green and 400 black carts, though the precise amount will depend on the successful bid.

Council will vote on whether to move forward with the procurement May 24.

Yukon Breeze seeks conditional use

Residents will have a chance to let the city know their thoughts on an application being put forward by the Yukon Breeze Sailing Society that would allow it to have an extra three storage containers and a fenced area within the Schwatka Lake site it has a licence of occupation on from the Yukon government.

The containers and fenced area would be in addition to the dock and two containers already in place. A conditional use approval for the two containers now on the site was granted in 2015.

At Whitehorse city council’s May 16 meeting, Yukon Breeze secretary Ben Hancock told council the organization recently received grants through the Community Development Fund and Lotteries Yukon to purchase two two-person boats and a safety boat, purchases that will assist in providing more and improved programming. Yukon Breeze is the only sailing society in the territory, offering day camps, lessons and more each summer.

In order to accommodate and secure the new purchases, the fencing and storage is needed, Hancock said, highlighting plans to paint the containers with murals to blend in with the treed surroundings. He noted the potential to involve youth in the project either through the group’s day camps or through local schools.

A report to council presented by land and buildings manager Pat Ross highlighted concerns expressed by the development review committee (which looks at applications before they are brought to council) about the aesthetics of the containers and the fencing as well as the impact of the fencing in allowing exclusive use of public space.

A number of council members also indicated their own issues about the aesthetics around shipping containers being located along the lake front, while also noting the benefits of the recreational programs Yukon Breeze runs.

Coun. Kirk Cameron said he’s very interested in what the public will have to say on the matter.

A public input session will be held May 24 with a report on that coming forward June 20 before council makes its decision June 27.

Coffee and conditions

A local business owner is asking the city for conditional use approval to operate part of their business out of their home’s garage.

The application came forward at Whitehorse city council’s May 16 meeting.

Michael and Sarah Russo of Firebean Coffee Roasters have submitted a conditional use application for a major home based business.

As land and building services manager Pat Ross explained in a report to council, their Stope Way property is zoned Residential Single Detached, with the approval needed to operate a business from the garage.

While the roasting of the coffee beans is done off-site, the garage would be used for packaging.

“Some additional traffic will be incurred for drop-off and pick-up of the beans, which will be kept as little as possible and only between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” Ross said.

A public input session on the application is set for the May 24 council meeting with a report then set to come forward June 20. Council is expected to vote on the application June 27.

More changes in store for pop-up patios

Additional changes could be coming again to the City of Whitehorse pop-up patio program.

At Whitehorse city council’s May 16 meeting, land and building services manager Pat Ross brought forward amendments to the city’s lease, encroachment and property use policy, as well as proposing a grant program using Yukon government funding for business owners looking to install a street side patio.

The recommendation comes after the city recently approved other alterations to allow patios in parallel parking spots throughout much of the downtown.

As Ross explained, the latest proposed amendments would see the property use policy changes to better define exactly where pop-up patios are permitted and where they are not. A map with those details would be incorporated into the policy.

“The map is designed to exclude all of Second Avenue, most of Fourth Avenue, and the west side of Sixth Avenue,” he said.

The policy would also be changed to outline the specific clearances required from to patio to storm drains, maintenance chambers, fire hydrants and valves.

“These clearances are required to ensure unhindered access for city crews,” Ross said.

On the granting program, Ross explained the city has received from the Yukon government a one-time $150,000 amount to provide grants to businesses opening up the patios. The grants help cover the cost of design, construction, furnishings, engineering, health and safety permits, and insurance.

With it being a one-time funding, Ross said a formal policy on it will not be developed.

“Administration will develop eligibility criteria and an application form based on the (Yukon government transfer payment agreement),” he said. “Applications meeting the eligibility criteria will receive funding subject to submission of all required documentation and administration’s final inspection of the improvements. Eligibility would be retroactive to March 18.”

Council will vote whether to move forward with the policy changes and grant program at its May 24 meeting.

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