City’s public budget session sparsely attended

If online comments were a measuring stick for how much Yukoners cared about a topic, you would have expected the latest Whitehorse City Council meeting to feature at least a few angry locals.

If online comments were a measuring stick for how much Yukoners cared about a topic, you would have expected the latest Whitehorse City Council meeting to feature at least a few angry locals.

Monday night’s meeting included a public input hearing on the city’s 2017 capital budget, which is slated to spend $39 million on a new operations building.

While internet commenters have been quick to make a fuss about spending that kind of money on a new building, no one showed up in person Monday to complain.

Council only heard from three delegates, a former city councillor who spoke in favour of the new operations building and two representatives from the Downtown Residents’ Association who barely mentioned the new building at all.

Former councillor Mike Gladish said he thinks plans for the new operations building should go ahead.

Gladish was on council in 2014 when preliminary plans to build the new building were first approved. He decided not to run for re-election in 2015.

“The new operations building should be built now so that we don’t continue to saddle future councils and administrations with the inevitable need to replace outdated infrastructure,” he said.

“It’s not being built to glorify the current administration or city council. They’ve come to the understanding, through many discussions, that the time is right.”

The bulk of the $45 million being spent to build the new operations building is part of the 2017 capital budget. The city will have to borrow about $18.8 million from the bank in order to get it built, according to a financial report presented earlier this month.

“Yes, the city is borrowing money to finance the building,” Gladish said.

“It has been shown by very competent accounting people that this loan can be paid back without raising property taxes.”

Gladish said borrowing money now, and paying it back over time, makes more sense to him than spending money to repair the current municipal services building and then having to replace it down the road.

The rest of the short public hearing was taken up by representatives of the Downtown Residents’ Association.

The only time Nathan Millar and Jeanine O’Connell mentioned the new operations building was to ask if any decisions had been made regarding what would happen to the old municipal services building on Fourth Avenue that is going to be replaced.

Coun. Rob Fendrick asked whether the association had any ideas of what it would like to see done with the land. Millar said that hasn’t been discussed with the association’s membership.

Mostly the pair talked about other items in the budget related to downtown.

They said plans to reconstruct part of Sixth Avenue in 2017, subject to external funding, are important for safety reasons.

They said work on Wheeler Street will also be important and wondered why work on Alexander Street is only scheduled to happen between Fourth and Sixth Avenues.

Millar and O’Connell also wondered aloud about what happened to plans to reconstruct the playground at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Jeckell Street.

In 2014 the city gathered public comments on plans for a new playground. About 100 people attended a barbecue to comment on two draft proposals, O’Connell said.

“The community had been engaged, were very interested in the project, and we’re here to stimulate the follow-up to that,” Millar said.

Mayor Dan Curtis said city staff would get back to the association with answers.

City council will vote whether to approve the capital budget on Dec. 12. Public input on the budget can also be sent via email to City staff will be putting together a report on all the public input for next Monday’s council meeting.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

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

Just Posted

Raises approved for City of Whitehorse management

Deal will begin with 2.6 per cent increase retroactive to 2019

What to expect: Yukon legislature resumes Oct. 1

In March the legislative assembly quickly passed the budget before ending early


Wyatt’s World for Sept. 30, 2020

Yukon artist’s work featured in national exhibit

Nicole Favron named as Yukon winner for 2020 BMO Art! competition

Higher camping fees, new campground, reconciliation efforts feature in Yukon parks 10-year strategy

Creating a new campground within two hours of Whitehorse, introducing higher camping… Continue reading

CPAWS Yukon, Yukon Conservation Society encouraged by territory’s parks strategy

The conservation manager for CPAWS Yukon and executive director of the Yukon… Continue reading

School council elections taking place the first week of October

There are 30 contested spots on school councils in the territory

Hot Hounds bikejor race serves as lone summer competition

Held in Mount Lorne, the race was organized by the Dog Powered Sports Association of the Yukon

Whitehorse operations building officially open

Staff are taking phased approach to moving in

North of Ordinary Experience Centre shutting down

COVID-19 has caused bookings for the space to become almost non-existent, owner says

Canada Games Centre could get new playground

Council to vote on contract award

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Harescramble brings out motorcycle community

This year’s event included 67 riders

Most Read