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 July 18 meeting.

Remembering Dave Austin

Former city councillor Dave Austin is being remembered as a councillor who listened to his community, worked with city staff and made decisions in the best interest of all citizens.

Before Whitehorse city council’s July 18 meeting got underway, Mayor Laura Cabott noted the work of the former councillor who recently passed away, highlighting his efforts to ensure residents were heard.

Austin served four terms as a councillor from 2000 to 2012.

“He was a true public servant,” Cabott said, adding the city’s condolences to Austin’s family.

Water main work outlined

Detailed design work to fix the main that delivers water to nearly all Whitehorse neighbourhoods could cost the city $500,000.

At Whitehorse city council’s July 18 meeting, engineering manager Taylor Eshpeter brought forward a recommendation for council to approve the spending, with funding to come from city reserves until external funding is available.

The proposal comes forward after two significant leaks were found in May on the cross town main that delivers water from the Selkirk Aquifer to every neighbourhood serviced by the city with the exceptions of Riverdale and Downtown.

While those leaks were repaired, corrosion was also noted in other areas of the pipe.

“Based on the severity of the corrosion in this area, there is a high risk of additional pipe failures until such time that the pipe can be replaced in this section,” Eshpeter said.

It’s expected the corrosion is isolated to about a one kilometre section of the main, though further inspections will be done to confirm the entire main’s condition and more precise details on the corrosion.

“The line feeds Two Mile Hill Booster Station and cannot be placed out of commission for extended periods of time without adversely impacting the consistent and safe supply of potable water to numerous neighbourhoods,” Eshpeter said, going on to note work is being done within existing budgets on an analysis of what is known to date and potential repair or replacement possibilities. That information would be used in any detailed design work.

“Completion of the detailed design work will include a life cycle assessment of the entire line and the optimal repair or replacement strategy for the area of concern,” he said.

Decisions on the construction for the repair would be considered as part of upcoming capital budgets.

“Administration continues to work with external funding agencies for possible sources of alternative funding to support all water and storm infrastructure repairs,” Eshpeter said.

Council will vote July 25 whether to approve the $500,000 for detailed design.

Equipment purchase recommended

The City of Whitehorse could be putting in purchase orders for three new heavy equipment vehicles a year ahead of the original schedule.

At Whitehorse city council’s July 18 meeting, Tracy Allen, the city’s director of operations, brought forward a recommendation council advance the purchases to 2022 rather than 2023 along with increasing the budgets for each purchase.

The purchases would see another $17,500 budgeted for the purchase of a skid steer for a total of $90,000; another $120,000 for a loader for a total of $535,000; and another $170,000 for a grader for a total of $630,000.

As Allen explained in her report to council: “The procurement of the skid steer, loader, and grader was originally planned for the 2023 budget cycle. However due to current long lead times for equipment, industry supply issues, and volatility in equipment prices, administration is recommending advancing the procurement for this equipment to the 2022 budget year so the equipment will be available in 2023.”

Council will vote July 25 on whether to move the purchase forward and increase the budget.

Subdivision for Whistle Bend Phase 9 comes forward

Close to 100 residential lots could be created in the ninth phase of Whistle Bend.

The subdivision for the 8.3 hectares that would be built north of Phase 7’s Witch Hazel Drive came forward to Whitehorse city council’s July 18 meeting.

As Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, noted the subdivision would see 53 single family lots, 28 duplex lots, eight fee simple townhouse lots, nine condo townhouse lots that would see 40 to 50 units built on each lot, and one multiple family lot in place.

Phase 9 would also see an extension to Rampart Avenue and another three streets developed: Alert Avenue, Aurora Drive and Hope Street, named as all Whistle Bend streets are after three northern steamships, per the Whistle Bend Master Plan.

As she’s stated before, Mayor Laura Cabott said she would prefer consideration to be given for having city streets named for prominent women and First Nations people in the territory, “good prominent people who are underrepresented in our streets.” She pointed out it will be a number of years before such an opportunity for street naming presents itself again.

Meanwhile, Coun. Ted Laking once again highlighted concerns over traffic on Mountain View Drive and Wann Road as more people move into Whistle Bend, with Coun. Dan Boyd noting the need to consider parking and snow removal with subdivision.

The subdivision would be conditional on the territorial government, as the developer, signing a development agreement with the city.

Council will vote on the subdivision July 25.

Lease comes forward

A 1,000 square metre piece of land in Whistle Bend could be the site of a new community garden for the neighbourhood.

A proposed lease for the site, located off a laneway near Keno Way, came forward at Whitehorse city council’s July 18 meeting. As Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, told council, while there had previously been a garden in the neighbourhood, that site has been designated for residential development and the garden space must be relocated.

The plans will see raised garden beds developed at the garden, rather than the previous in-ground garden that had been developed.

The city has worked with the Whistle Bend Garden Society to identify the city-owned site for the garden.

“The proposed garden site would be accessed from a laneway connecting from Keno Way and is expected to consist of a fenced site with garden boxes, a water tank, and soil and tool storage. It is expected to function similarly to the Downtown Urban Garden located on Seventh Avenue.

The lease would be in place from Sept. 1, 2022 to Aug. 31, 2025 with an option to renew for another three years with the garden society to pay $10 per year.

The lease bylaw will come forward July 25.

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

Whitehorse city council