Cirty Council Notebook
A rewrite of Whitehorse’s contentious smoking bylaw passed through council into city books this week.
The law, which prohibits smoking in public places, like restaurants and bars, was sent back to the rewrite desk in January because it didn’t hold up in Yukon court.
Under the amended law it’s no longer the bar owner’s responsibility to make smokers butt out. Now, bylaw officers will be responsible for enforcing the rules and laying charges against offenders.
“It’s obviously not going to happen, but I suggest we follow Calgary’s lead and give businesses a choice whether to have smoking or not,” said councillor Mel Stehelin in a last-ditch attempt to keep the bylaw off the books this week.
The number of smoking seats in the city went from 1,100 down to zero with the passage of this bylaw, said Stehelin, who also owns the 98 Hotel.
Despite his protest, the bylaw easily passed third and final reading. Five councilors and mayor Ernie Bourassa voted in favour of the bylaw, and Stehelin abstained.
And city reps are not going to wait to implement it.
“As mean as it may sound, we will be enforcing the smoking bylaw during Rendezvous,” councillor Dave Stockdale said last week.
The charges against three bars found in violation — the Capital Hotel, the 98 Hotel and Sam McGee’s Bar and Grill at the 202 Motor Inn — were dropped.
Charges against individuals will proceed to court. (LC)
A tale of two
This week, city council pondered two development applications — one was approved, the other stonewalled.
Fred Muriel, speaking on behalf of Pacesetter Petroleum Limited, applied for an Official Community Plan amendment to allow a business expansion in the Kulan industrial subdivision.
It received first and second reading this week.
Developer Daryl Novakowski wasn’t so lucky.
He wanted to build 28 single-family lots on Crown land in Porter Creek zoned for greenspace.
Neither applicant owned the land — Muriel was applying for the amendment on behalf of the landowner, Novakowski wasn’t.
And that was a problem.
Novakowski couldn’t ask for a rezoning because he does not own the land, and wasn’t acting on the landowner’s behalf, said mayor Ernie Bourassa.
Council will not touch it “unless the government of Yukon makes a request that we amend the OCP,” said Bourassa.
Many councillors said they were confused about the territory’s land-tendering process.
It doesn’t seem “equitable,” said councillor Jan Stick.
In December, similar confusion resulted from a proposed 280-lot development on territory-owned land in Porter Creek.
The city suspended development when it discovered the Yukon government had other plans for the area.
Education minister John Edzerza had promised the land to Yukon College and Community Services minister Glenn Hart publicly suggested turning it into parkland.
Councillor Doug Graham suggested city reps sit down with the Yukon government and work out a system for future developments. (LC)