City pours more money into parking studies

The city wants to review Whitehorse's parking situation yet again. At a capital budget meeting last week, Mayor Bev Buckway announced the city wants to spend $125,000 on a downtown parking study in 2010.

The city wants to review Whitehorse’s parking situation yet again.

At a capital budget meeting last week, Mayor Bev Buckway announced the city wants to spend $125,000 on a downtown parking study in 2010.

It will be the third parking study the city has undertaken since 2004.

But this study will be different, say officials.

The study will look at actual demand for downtown parking, the adequacy of current zoning bylaw requirements and the possibility of a park-and-ride system, said Buckway in her capital budget address.

“One of the real problems with the parking studies in the past is that they’ve had a specific orientation,” said councillor Doug Graham, an outspoken critic of the downtown parking situation.

A 2004 study, commissioned by the engineering department, examined parking management in the city. A study in 2008 explored the feasibility of a downtown parkade.

“I hate to see us spend that kind of money on another parking study, but, by the same token, it has to be done right,” said Graham.

“We have to get some actual results that we can do something with in the future, not just pie-in-the-sky stuff like many of the studies have been.”

The city needs to look at employees who come from outside the city and park their cars downtown for free all day, he said.

The city needs to consider putting meters in areas of the city were there aren’t any, he added.

Along Main Street, businesses have told Graham they want higher cost meters and a more continuous rotation of parking.

But not all businesses are happy with the idea of the city spending more money on another study.

“I think $125,000 is an exorbitant amount just for a parking study,” said Art Webster who owns the North End Gallery on First Avenue.

“I’m hoping it’s broader in scope than just focusing on policy.”

Although past city studies have pegged a parkade at about $6.5 million, Webster still believes the city would benefit from a parkade.

And if the city could move people from places like the Canada Games Centre better, more people would be encouraged to leave their vehicle at home, he said.

“If they to speak to just six individuals and organizations – which is not a lot – they’d find all the problems in town perceived with parking.”

The issue of parking came up at the city’s most recent economic development charette.

There, business owners talked about urging the city to “action something and address the situation sooner,” said Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce president Muriel Chalifoux.

“When you look around downtown there is a shortage of parking spaces to support retail,” she said.

“When you add on tourism traffic, it’s a challenge for shoppers to find parking.”

The 2008 parkade study found there wasn’t necessarily a parking shortage, but a problem with how spaces are currently being used.

Nevertheless, city planners have said the situation has gotten worse in the last couple years as a result of the city’s growth.

The 2010 study, if approved in January when council votes on the capital budget, will be “more comprehensive,” said city planning manager Mike Gau.

Transit and active transportation are some of the issues that will also be looked at in the study.

“We don’t want to open up surface parking lots, we want to look at all aspects of what we’re doing,” said Gau.

The specifics of the study still haven’t been drafted, but if the budget is passed it will probably happen in late winter or spring.

Contact Vivian Belik at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A bobcat is used to help clear snow in downtown Whitehorse on Nov. 4. According to Environment Canada, the Yukon has experienced record-breaking precipitation this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon will have “delayed spring” after heavy winter snowfall

After record levels of precipitation, cold spring will delay melt

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

A Housing First building on Fifth Avenue and Wood Street will be taken over by the Council of Yukon First Nations and John Howard Society later this month. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CYFN, John Howard Society take over downtown Housing First residence

The organizations have pledged culturally appropriate service for its many Indigenous residents

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. Politicians return for the spring sitting of the assembly March 4. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Analysis: What to expect in spring sitting of the legislature

They’re back on March 4, but election speculation is looming large

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is preparing for a pandemic-era election this October with a number of measures proposed to address COVID-19 restrictions. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City gets set for Oct. 21 municipal election

Elections procedures bylaw comes forward

A rendering of the Normandy Manor seniors housing facility. (Photo courtesy KBC Developments)
Work on seniors housing project moves forward

Funding announced for Normandy Manor

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

Most Read