Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its Oct. 24 meeting and the upcoming public hearing on the city’s Official Community Plan.

Council sets 2023 meeting schedule

Whitehorse city council has confirmed when it will meet next year.

At council’s Oct. 24 meeting, members voted in favour of the 2023 schedule along with a timeline for when each councillor will take their turn serving as deputy mayor.

Meetings will begin Jan. 9 and happen each Monday for the first four weeks of each month, with the exception of holidays, in which case the Monday meeting is moved to Tuesday. In months where there are five Monday’s in a month, there will be no meeting on the fifth Monday.

Meetings will follow that weekly schedule until the summer recess, beginning after the July 10 meeting.

The next meeting will be Aug. 7, with the weekly schedule continuing until Dec. 11 when the winter recess will begin and continue until early January 2024.

Members will also continue to each take a two month stint serving as deputy mayor, beginning with Coun. Mellisa Murray on Nov. 1 and continuing until Dec. 31. Councillors Dan Boyd, Michelle Friesen, Ted Laking, Kirk Cameron and Jocelyn Curteanu will each take their two-month stint following Murray in that order until Oct. 31, 2023.

Boyd will serve as reserve deputy mayor from Nov. 1, 2022 until April 30, 2023, with Friesen in the role from May 1, 2023 until Oct. 31, 2023.

Committee roles for council over the coming year were also confirmed with Friesen and Murray to represent the city on the Association of Yukon Communities; Curteanu to serve on Crime Stoppers; Cameron on the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce; and Mayor Laura Cabott on the Coalition of Capital Cities.

Recreation grants proposed

Seven local groups will receive more than $40,000 for their recreation programs through the City of Whitehorse fall recreation grants.

Whitehorse city council approved the grants at its Oct. 24 meeting.

The grants are awarded twice a year to organizations providing programming in Whitehorse.

The largest of the grants will be four grants, each worth $7,000, going to Gwaandak Theatre Society for The Crows Youth Tour; the Yukon Arts Society for its arts and crafts programs; the Yukon Film Society for its Yukon Theatre Cabin Fever Screenings; and the Yukon Theatre for Young People for its production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

The skating club and arts society will also each receive another $1,000 grant for operations with the theatre group to receive another $900 for operations.

The smallest of the program grants is $1,300 for the Whitehorse Curling Club’s Curlability program.

In the middle, the Arctic Edge Skating Club will receive $5,570 for its Gold Nugget Championships and the Whitehorse Community Choir will receive $5,200 for development of the choral program as well as training and workshops.

Festivals and events funding approved

The City of Whitehorse will dole out more than $40,000 for events set to happen in the city over the next year in the form of the city’s annual festivals and special events grants.

Whitehorse city council approved the grants at its Oct. 24 meeting.

Along with the more than $40,000 in cash contributions is in-kind support for four of the 11 events receiving funding.

The largest of the cash grants is for $7,500 each to the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association for its annual Adäka Cultural Festival and to the Yukon Film Society for its Available Light Film Festival. Each will also receive in-kind support valued at $7,280 for Adäka and $3,975 for the film festival.

The smallest of the grants will see $1,000 go to the All City Band Society for its Music for a Winter’s Eve performance.

The Society of Something Shows will receive $2,000 in cash for its Wonderhorse Emerging Arts and Music Festival.

Funding of $3,000 in cash will go to the Association franco-yukonnaise for its Solstice Saint-Jean event; Gwaandak Theatre Society for its Awaken Festival; and the Yukon Quest sled dog race, with the Quest also to receive in-kind support valued at $6,656.

Two organizations will receive $5,000: the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Society for its National Indigenous People’s Day event and the Nakai Theatre Ensemble for its Pivot Festival.

Finally, the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society will receive $6,000 in cash and further in-kind support valued at $22,531 for its annual Yukon Rendezvous Festival.

Whitehorse adopts new trail plan

A new trail plan for the north part of Whitehorse is now in place.

Whitehorse city council adopted the Whitehorse North trail plan at its Oct. 24 meeting.

The plan deals with trails in the areas around MacPherson, Forest View and Hidden Valley and comes after a series of public meetings and input opportunities.

“The Whitehorse North trail plan will provide residents with clarity on how trails should be used and lays out a connected network of designated trails that will see an improved level of service,” Landon Kulych, manager of parks, stated in an earlier report to council.

Under the plan, upgrades to trails in the area could include a regrading of steep or eroding trail sections, clearing of overhanging vegetation or hazardous trees; removing and replacing unsafe structures where appropriate; trail head improvements; putting boardwalks and bridges in place; and the installation of benches and signage.

The plan also aims to provide clarity around trail designations; access to loop trails; greater connectivity to the Trans Canada Trail; and clarity around motorized multi-use and non-motorized trails.

Before council voted to adopt the plan, Keith Lay of Active Trails Whitehorse made a presentation to council, continuing to take issue with the city’s trail designation system which allows snowmobile riders to make use of a number of non-motorized trails through the winter. Under the city’s snowmobile bylaw, only trails clearly listed in the bylaw cannot be used by snowmobiles.

Lay has argued the situation does not make for an equitable trail system and that changes should be made to ensure some trails are not for motorized use at all. He argued the continued use of snowmobiles on non-motorized trails can result in wider routes and damage to the ground underneath the snow, though the damage may not be evident until after the snow melts in the spring.

“If snowmobilers were required to stay on designated motorized trails and out of open spaces and greenbelts (as are ATVs), then damage would be reduced, particularly to narrow single-track trails,” he said.

“It would also reduce user conflict and disturbance to both plant life and wildlife, end the confusion surrounding the definition of a non-motorized trail, improve safety for all trail users, and make for a more equitable trail network.”

Coun. Kirk Cameron suggested it may be time for council to look at the overall issue of snowmobiles on non-motorized trails, though it was noted by staff and other council members such consideration would require a look at regulations throughout the city and that Cameron could bring forward a notice of motion to consider that at a later date.

Council ultimately voted to approve the trail plan.

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

Whitehorse city council