Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

A new face in council chambers

Whitehorse city council welcomed a new face into council chambers at its July 25 meeting.

While dealing with council business, Coun. Michelle Friesen spent the meeting holding her and her husband’s newly adopted son Theodore, who was welcomed by council.

Friesen announced the addition to their family in a social media post, noting she and her husband had been working on an adoption for some time. Theodore arrived July 3, earlier than expected, with Friesen and her husband spending the last few weeks “helping him grow strong” in the NICU before bringing him home to Whitehorse, as Friesen stated in her post.

Reflecting on the Pope’s apology

Mayor Laura Cabott spent part of the July 25 council meeting reflecting on Pope Francis’ apology for the Roman Catholic Church’s role in the residential school system.

The head of the church is in Canada and made the formal apology on July 25 in Edmonton, asking for forgiveness “for the evil committed by so many Christians against the Indigenous peoples.”

Cabott said she knows of many First Nations citizens from the territory and throughout the country who went to Edmonton to witness the Pope’s apology.

The mayor pointed out most Indigenous Yukoners have family members or were themselves forced to attend one of the seven residential schools in the territory and northern British Columbia. For many, the residential school legacy has manifested in devastating ways that continue to be felt.

“While today’s papal apology is important, it is equally as important that residents of Whitehorse, especially non-First Nation residents, learn about the impacts these schools had on our community and what role they can play in this community to move us all towards reconciliation,” she said.

“It is all of our responsibility to ensure the things we do, the things we say, and especially the language we use move us towards reconciliation every day.”

Those impacted by residential school who need support can call the Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line at 1-800-721-0066. The line is available 24 hours a day.

The Pope’s six-day tour concludes July 29 and also included time in Quebec and Nunavut.

Water main design work approved

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

Whitehorse city council approved the spending at its July 25 meeting.

Two significant leaks in the cross town main were found and repaired in May, but corrosion was noted in other areas of the pipe which delivers water from the Selkirk aquifer to every neighbourhood serviced by the city with the exceptions of Riverdale and Downtown.

Given the level of corrosion, it’s anticipated section of the pipe could see further failures if not replaced. The corrosion is believed to be occurring in a one-kilometre section of the five-kilometre main, though further inspections are anticipated to confirm the condition of the entire main and more precise details on the corrosion.

The detailed design work will also look at the entire line’s life cycle and the optimal repair or replacement for the section seeing corrosion.

Future decisions on the construction would be made through the capital budget.

While council was unanimous in approving the spending for the detailed design work, Coun. Ted Laking noted it is one of a number of unexpected expenses the city is dealing with.

At the same meeting, council also approved $2.3 million in emergency spending for the response to landslides and instability of the escarpment, as well as design for replacement in an area where there is a tension crack.

“A number of items are coming forward that are unexpected costs, that are not really discretionary spending as they’re necessary spends and so it’s just a good reminder to just stay on top of that as we go through the budgeting process and get ready for next year,” he said.

Equipment purchase approved

The City of Whitehorse will purchase three new heavy equipment vehicles a year ahead of originally planned.

At Whitehorse city council’s July 25 meeting, members voted to advance the purchases to 2022 rather than 2023 along with increasing the budgets for each purchase.

Another $17,500 has been 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 Tracy Allen, the city’s director of operations, explained in an earlier report to council, the procurement was planned for 2023, but due to lead times for such orders, supply issues and volatility in prices, it was recommended council move the procurement ahead by a year.

Subdivision for Whistle Bend Phase 9 comes forward

Close to 100 residential lots are closer to being created in the ninth phase of Whistle Bend after Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision on July 25.

The lots will be located on 8.3 hectares to be built north of Phase 7’s Witch Hazel Drive which came forward to Whitehorse city council July 18.

The subdivision will see 53 single family lots, 28 duplex lots, eight fee simple townhouse lots, one multiple family lot and nine condo townhouse lots that would see 40 to 50 units built on each lot.

Phase 9 will also include 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.

Both Mayor Laura Cabott and Coun. Michelle Friesen stated their view that consideration should be given in future phases of the neighbourhood to street names that reflect prominent First Nations people, languages, as well as women in the territory.

Meanwhile, Coun. Kirk Cameron highlighted the importance of the subdivision as the city continues to grow.

Lease makes its way through first two readings

A 1,000 square metre piece of land in Whistle Bend is closer to becoming the site of a new community garden in the neighbourhood.

A proposed lease for the site, located off a laneway near Keno Way, made its way through the first two bylaw readings July 25.

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,” Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, said in an earlier report to council.

“It is expected to function similarly to the Downtown Urban Garden located on Seventh Avenue,” he said.

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.

Third reading of the bylaw will come forward in August.

Housing Committee established

Whitehorse city council took the final step needed to establish its housing and land development advisory committee on July 26, passing third reading of the bylaw for the committee.

Efforts to set up the advisory committee began early this year given significant concerns around housing affordability and availability.

The committee will act as an advisory group on housing and land development issues with committee members slated to serve two-year terms.

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