A look at issues discussed at Whitehorse city council’s Sept. 26 meeting.
National Day for Truth and Reconciliation
With the whole city council dressed in their orange T-shirts, a recognizable symbol of reconciliation and recognizing the harms of colonialism and residential schools, at their Sept. 26 meeting Mayor Laura Cabott proclaimed Whitehorse’s recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation for Sept. 30.
Cabott’s proclamation spoke about the key piece that First Nations form in Whitehorse’s community fabric and the importance of reflecting what can be done to advance reconciliation.
The day was first widely observed by governments across Canada in 2021. Cabott’s proclamation added Whitehorse to the list of jurisdictions that have it on their official calendar.
Whistle Bend Phases 10 and 11
At their Sept. 26 meeting, council considered a change in zoning for phases 10 and 11 of the developing Whistle Bend neighbourhood. Phase 10 will have 117 lots and phase 11 will tentatively have 93 lots. Discussion largely dealt with the impact on recreational trails and of more traffic entering and leaving the neighbourhood.
Cabott looked back and said that the area the coming phases are set for had been considered an active recreation site, possibly a horse and rider club or as a green space. In the public hearings to amend the area’s use to more houses, Cabott said submissions were received about the impacts on recreational trails in the area. She asked city staff what was being done to protect trails in the design in front of council.
Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, replied that it is generally the city’s practice to maintain trail networks and connectivity with the rest of the city’s trail system even if some individual trails are removed for development. He said planning work so far has maintained the trail network in Whistle Bend.
Coun. Ted Laking asked about the building of a firehall specifically for Whistle Bend, which was an infrastructure priority submitted by the city to the Yukon government. City manager Jeff O’Farrell said money has been budgeted to begin a firehall project in 2025. He added that money is usually budgeted for design one year and construction in the following years.
Laking also asked about future solutions for easing the traffic in and out of Whistle Bend as it grows. In particular, he wanted to know more about the planned expansion of some roads in the area to four lanes. O’Farrell replied that funding hadn’t been approved for the project pending the completion of the city’s transportation master plan.
Council passed the rezoning opening up the new areas for development.
Azure Road Rezoning
On Sept. 26, council approved the rezoning of a portion of the property at 26 Azure Rd. that had been earmarked for use as a mobile home park to instead allow the owners to build a single-family home there.
The councillors heard that the owners’ intention is to subdivide a 1,400-square-metre area to build the house. The freestanding title to the property will allow them to get a mortgage.
Council passed the rezoning with little discussion.
Waste management bylaw
Coun. Ted Laking gave a report on behalf of the city operations committee that dealt with new proposed rules at the Whitehorse dump at council’s Sept. 26 meeting. Unsorted loads containing both residual waste and construction and demolition waste are currently subject to an extra charge for the drivers hauling them into the dump. Laking brought a proposed bylaw that would eliminate the fee allowing the two types of waste to be dumped together in a single landfill cell as recommended in the city’s 2023-2033 solid waste management plan.
He said the reason for the placement of the mixed waste in a single cell is to reduce the impacts of leachate, water that percolates through the waste, and the possibility of a landfill fire. Laking noted that fires are a serious matter and one that burned in the dump approximately two years ago resulted in about $400,000 in costs to the city.
The updated bylaw passed by unanimous vote.
On Sept. 26, Coun. Michelle Friesen read out a notice of motion seeking to add clarity to the city’s protections against the posting of discriminatory or harmful advertising.
“I move that city council direct administration to bring forward a council ad policy to reflect the following additions to ensure community safety and well being: advertisements must not promote any form of discrimination or prejudicial treatment of people groups, or organizations including on the grounds of, among other things, race; national or ethnic origin; religion; gender identity, sex or sexual orientation; age or disability,” Friesen said.
She added that the proposed policy would also not allow advertisements containing inaccurate, deceptive or misleading statements or redirections to internet or other sources containing them.
“I move that the city council direct administration to communicate to those who have ad requests in queue, that the ads will need to be resubmitted and considered under the new policy once developed,” Friesen said.
She deferred the motion to the next regular council meeting.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org