City news, briefly

Some of the decisions that were made at the Nov. 25 Whitehorse city council meeting

City of Whitehorse extends landfill contract

Whitehorse city council has approved an extension to Castle Rock Enterprises’ contract to operate the city landfill by another six months, to June 30, 2020.

It was approved at council’s Nov. 25 meeting.

Geoff Quinsey, the manager of water and waste services, explained at council’s Nov. 18 meeting the extension was in light of staffing issues within the department after the department’s lead-hand left the city.

That put a number of the day-to-day issues in the hands of the supervisor who would normally work on preparing tender documents for the contract.

A new lead-hand has since been hired and tender documents will be prepared and a contract awarded within six months.

The contract extension is costing the city $255,458.

Whitehorse tweaks funding agreement with Challenge

A difference of just two units in the proposed Cornerstone Building project will mean changing the contribution agreement between the City of Whitehorse and the building’s developer.

Whitehorse city council approved on Nov. 25 the first two readings of the bylaw to alter its funding agreement for the project to reflect the changes to the plans.

Local non-profit organization, Challenge Resource Disability Group has been working on plans for the Cornerstone Building at 704 Main Street.

The building is planned to be a mix of affordable rental units, supportive housing and condos that will be sold at a market rate. On the ground level will be Challenge’s two business ventures Twisted Wood Works and Bridges Cafe.

In July 2018, a city grant of $1 million was approved for the project with Challenge later securing more federal and territorial funding for the initiative.

While construction is slated to happen in 2020, the number of units proposed for the building has changed from 55 to 53.

As Mike Gau, the city’s director of development services, explained, changes to eligibility requirements for other funding prompted the alterations along with Challenge taking a more thorough look at market demand.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation increased the number of required accessible units from 10 per cent to 20 per cent and that meant increasing the number of accessible units from six to nine, which resulted in a loss of three affordable housing units. Instead of 48 affordable units, 45 are now planned (of which nine will be accessible units).

“The second change was an increase to the top floor condominium units after it was determined by CRDG that there was no demand for the proposed three-bedroom unit,” Gau said.

“They converted this unit into an additional one-bedroom unit and one two-bedroom unit. These changes revised the total number of housing units from 55 to 53.”

While Gau acknowledged the changes are relatively minor, he also noted the need for an amendment to the contribution agreement through a bylaw change.

With the first two readings approved, third reading will come forward in December.

Council gets closer to potential land sale

Whitehorse city council is closer to selling a small five-metre strip of land between Falcon Drive and the property bordering it to allow for a driveway.

Council members passed the first two readings on a bylaw on Nov. 25 to sell the public utility lot to the owners of 2 North Star Drive.

The owners had built a garage with doors facing out to the Falcon Drive side of the property. When it became clear which way the garage doors were oriented, a stop work order was put in place and the owners began pursuing purchasing the small section between their property and the road to allow access from Falcon.

City staff recommended selling the land.

“A land sale would provide the most security of tenure for the owners, and would eliminate the administrative burden of managing an ongoing encroachment agreement,” Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, said at an earlier council meeting.

While some council members expressed concern with selling the land to accommodate the property owners, they ultimately voted in favour of the first two readings to move the discussion forward. Coun. Dan Boyd made it clear his vote in favour of first and second reading though does not mean he will vote the same way when third reading comes forward.

Council will vote on third reading Dec. 9.

Leases for Shipyards Park buildings pass first and second reading

The Yukon Film Society and Yukon Literacy Coalition could remain in their Shipyards Park homes until 2024 after Whitehorse city council passed the first two readings on new lease agreements for the buildings on Nov. 25.

Leases for both Pioneer Hotel 1, or the Jenni House as its known, and Pioneer Hotel 2, or Hatch House as it’s known, expired earlier this year with the organizations staying on through an over-holding provision in the lease agreements.

The film society has been based out of the Jenni House in recent years with the literacy coalition using the Hatch House to deliver summer programming.

Third reading of bylaws for both leases are expected to come forward Dec. 9.

City awards printer contract

MRG Technologies was awarded two contracts worth a total of $229,000 for the supply and maintenance of printers for the City of Whitehorse.

A contract worth $130,000 will see the replacement of the city’s current printers in three periods beginning in December, then in March 2020 and March 2021.

The service contract would be for three years at $33,000 per year.

MRG Technologies was one of two firms to submit proposals with the other coming from Klondike Business Solutions. MRG had the highest scoring proposal in an evaluation that looked at qualifications, service proposal, additional services, implementation and price.

Whitehorse city council