Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

A look at city council happenings from Sept. 5 to 9.

Remembering the “mayor of Main Street”

A long time businessperson in the city was remembered by Whitehorse city council for his contributions to his community and the territory.

Mayor Laura Cabott took a few minutes at the beginning of the Sept. 6 council meeting to recognize Chris Sorg, who recently passed away. Sorg had owned a number of businesses in the city — including Mac’s Fireweed Books and Murdoch’s Gem Shop as well as Maximilian’s Gold Rush Emporium in Dawson.

As Cabott recalled anyone who spent time with Sorg — whether that be in Dawson at a coffee shop, or chamber of commerce meetings or city council meetings — knew how important the territory was for Sorg.

“He always had advice and passed it on in a very positive way,” she said. “Whether it was downtown parking, whether it was beautification, whether it was supporting local businesses, making sure that we always had a vibrant, beautiful Main Street.”

In fact, Sorg was known as the unofficial “mayor of Main Street” in Whitehorse, Cabott said.

“So really (we) just want to recognize everything that Chris has done for the city, for this community, for the Yukon as a whole and offer our condolences on behalf of the City of Whitehorse to Chris’s family and friends,” she said.

Flags flown at half mast to recognize Queen Elizabeth II

Flags will continue flying at half-mast until sunset Sept. 18 throughout the City of Whitehorse in light of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

The British monarch died Sept. 8 with flags soon lowered and condolences expressed by many across the country.

In a statement the city said it is deeply saddened with her passing.

“On behalf of mayor and council, we extend our condolences to the royal family during this time,” said Mayor Laura Cabott. “The Queen remains an important part of Canada’s history, and we thank her for her 70 years of public service to Canadians.”

Accomplished athletes

From teenagers to age 90, Team Yukon represented the territory throughout the summer at a variety of events and at Whitehorse city council’s Sept. 6 meeting the city recognized those efforts.

Mayor Laura Cabott highlighted the accomplishments at two national events – the Canada Summer Games and Canada 55+ Games. At the summer Games, a number of Yukon athletes achieved personal bests and the men’s soccer team marked its first win against a province at a Canada Games event, while athletes at the 55+ Games brought home 74 medals in a wide variety of events.

“It’s really inspiring to see athletes from across the country meeting, but we were well-represented as far as the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon, both with younger athletes and the elder athletes,” she said.

Cabott went on to highlight Coun. Dan Boyd’s mother Madeline Boyd who was part of the territory’s carpet bowling team at the 55+ Games.

“If you want to be inspired, (Madeline Boyd is) 90 years young and still, not just participating, but competing,” Cabott said. “So congratulations to all the athletes (and) volunteers this summer.”

Pondering a purchase

It may take more than a year, but city crews may be getting closer to adding another grader to their fleet.

Richard Graham, the city’s manager of fleet and transportation maintenance, brought forward a recommendation that council approve the procurement for the grader.

As Graham explained, the city had originally planned to purchase it through the 2023 budget, but given the long lead time needed for equipment, supply issues and volatility of equipment pricing in the current market, it’s proposed the procurement go ahead now.

“This piece of equipment is integral to the operation of the city’s snow and ice control and road maintenance programs,” Graham said, later noting that based on the most current industry feedback, it will take about 12 months from the date the grader is ordered for it to arrive in the city.

Council will vote Sept. 12 whether to move ahead with the procurement. If that’s approved, a request for tender will be released with the lowest compliant bid to be awarded the purchase contract.

Altering plans

A portion of Jarvis Street in downtown Whitehorse could be in for some changes in the coming years if Whitehorse city council approves a change in scope to reconstruction work planned for the area.

Taylor Eshpeter, the city’s manager of engineering services, brought forward a recommendation council approve a change of scope for a project that would have seen Wood and Steele Streets rebuilt from Second Avenue to Front Street.

It’s now proposed that rather than rebuilding Steele Street, the city focus its attention on rebuilding Jarvis Street from Second Avenue to Front Street. Plans for Wood Street remain in place.

As Eshpeter explained, the plans for Steele Street were meant to coincide with the renovation and building of a new city hall at its current site. The city hall project is not going ahead due to high costs.

While Steele Street will eventually need upgrading, likely within the next 10 years, Eshpeter noted Jarvis Street was identified for potential reconstruction in 2023 due to its deteriorated road surface, sidewalk gaps and aging sewer infrastructure.

“There are efficiencies in project delivery by expediting the Jarvis Street reconstruction project and combining it with the Wood Street reconstruction,” he stated in a report to council. “Reconstruction work on Steele Street will be delayed until the condition of the infrastructure or the city services building project require it.”

The work to Wood and Jarvis Streets would see new water, sewer and storm mains built, construction of sanitary and water services to individual properties, installation of other utilities and street lights along with curbs, sidewalks and asphalt, and landscaping. Traffic signals at Wood Street and Second Avenue would also be considered along with other possibilities to address traffic there.

Under questioning by council members, Eshpeter said the exact plans to deal with traffic would be assessed and a decision made at a later date. He noted the intersection would not be looked at in isolation, but rather as part of the overall corridor along Second Avenue.

When the plans for city hall were called off earlier this year, Mayor Laura Cabott acknowledged some work to the building would be needed given its age and condition and noted officials would be looking at options.

In an interview following the Sept. 6 meeting, she said some options are under consideration, though she would not specify what they are. It’s expected recommendations will come forward in the fall with any decisions being part of the budget 2023 process.

(Stephanie Waddell)

Whitehorse city council