The City of Whitehorse has plans to rip up Ogilvie Street between 4th and 8th avenues.
“Anybody who drives down Ogilvie Street knows that it’s not a pleasant situation,” said Wayne Tuck, manager of engineering services, at Monday’s council meeting.
“Traffic is congested, you’re trying to turn left, you’re trying to go straight, you’re trying to turn right, you’re trying to park, there’s no place to walk, the road is in bad shape, it’s potholey, there’s poor drainage, there’s dust and dirt and poor lighting. I think that probably covers it all.”
The proposed local improvement bylaw would see the street completely reconstructed.
Water and sewer mains would be replaced, with new fire hydrants for improved fire protection.
Street lighting would be improved to lessen light pollution. Landscaping would improve the look of the roadway.
And there would be room for sidewalks, bike lanes and parking.
But if property owners on this street want to see these improvements, they are going to have to pay from them.
The total estimated cost of the reconstruction is $3.7 million, according to an administrative report presented to council.
The plan is for $475,000 of that to come from the 37 property owners on that section of the street.
Thirteen of them showed up for a preliminary meeting, and there was general support, said Tuck.
If the bylaw passes first reading, a ballot will be sent to owners asking if they support the project.
If more than half of the 37 object to the project, it won’t go ahead.
Ballots in support of the project mean, in effect, the same as abstaining from the vote, since council is only interested in the number of objections.
“That bothers my definition of democracy,” said Coun. Betty Irwin, who raised this same concern over previous land improvement projects.
She proposed that all returned ballots should be counted, and if there are more in opposition than in favour, the project does not go ahead.
The rules are set by Yukon’s Municipal Act, which is currently under review.
“It’s not a case of counting positives and negatives, it’s counting objections,” said Robert Fendrick, the city’s director of corporate services.
If council would like to see those rules changed, the Municipal Act Review process would be the appropriate avenue, council heard.
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at firstname.lastname@example.org