Committee narrows its footbridge recommendations

A city committee tasked with coming up with new solutions for the future use of the Rotary Centennial Bridge has narrowed down its recommendations from seven to two.

A city committee tasked with coming up with new solutions for the future use of the Rotary Centennial Bridge has narrowed down its recommendations from seven to two.

But they have to be kept under wraps until April 2, when the group’s report will be presented to Whitehorse city council.

That’s according to Marc Boulerice, acting chair of the trails and greenways committee members, who said it was impossible for the group to agree on a single solution.

“It’s a pretty divisive issue,” he said.

“Even the committee wasn’t able to come down to one option. We don’t want to spill the beans just yet, because our goal is to try to make everybody aware of the recommendations at the same time.

“We’re trying to keep it an open and fair process.”

Snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles are currently not allowed on the bridge. But Riverdale’s offroad vehicle users are pushing for this to change, noting that the bridge is the only available means for them to access trails on the far side of the Yukon River. Other residents, however, worry that allowing motorized vehicles on the bridge would spoil the tranquility found along one of the city’s most popular pedestrian trails, and that it could pose a safety hazard.

The 13-member committee met for its monthly meeting on Feb. 19, behind closed doors, to “improve the comfort of the people who were there,” said Boulerice.

“We didn’t want them to feel like they were under pressure or scrutiny,” he said. “We wanted people to speak openly and freely.”

They discussed seven ideas proposed during a brainstorming session back in January. One is to allow motorized vehicles on the bridge during designated times for a trial period. Another is to paint a line down the middle of the bridge, with motorized vehicles allowed on one side.

Another proposal is to launch a public education campaign to encourage motorized vehicle users to stick to trails on their side of the river.

Adding a Bailey bridge – a pre-fabricated truss bridge – at an approximate cost of $2.5 million, was also mentioned.

Finally, one member suggested that pedestrians and motorists could share the bridge better if obstacles were set up to slow down motorized vehicles.

Some residents have proposed opening up the emergency bridge over the Whitehorse dam to off-road vehicle use. But according to Yukon Energy, that’s not an option.

“There are a number of reasons why this is not an option, the biggest ones being issues of safety and security,” said Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson in an e-mail.

“We operate critical infrastructure and as such are not able to provide access on a regular basis to the general public. That being said, in an emergency situation we would of course provide access to first respondent vehicles and others as needed.”

Others have suggested using the Robert Campbell Bridge to get out of Riverdale, but the city has banned ATVs and snowmobiles from designated boulevards, the downtown area, and roadways unless vehicles are headed directly to a permitted trail.

Boulerice said the committee’s report will go out to council and be available to the public at the same time, and then be reviewed at the April 7 standing committee meeting.

Public comments, submitted through the city’s website, will also be part of the report, Boulerice added.

The bridge, which opened in July 2005, will celebrate its 10th anniversary this summer.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Zoning amendment approved for Black Street property

Bylaw change will allow suite to be built over existing garage despite side, rear setbacks

Yukon borders to reopen July 1, masks required at all Yukon airports

Yukon moves to Phase 2 of reopening on July 1

Runners race Reckless Raven

Nearly 60 Yukoners completed the fourth annual Reckless Raven 50-mile Ultra and… Continue reading

Local gardener asks for return of wagons

Alice Cyr grows vegetables for her condo, but has had two wagons stolen in the last two weeks

YukonU instructor pens letter urging immediate action to address systemic racism

A Yukon First Nations instructor at Yukon University has penned a letter… Continue reading

Ancient lake bed sediments, unusual plants are markers of the Takhini salt flats

It’s one of the Yukon’s best open geological secrets, a well-known but… Continue reading

Yukon University hires director of finance

Yukon University announced in a press release on June 29 that Sheila… Continue reading

Diamond Tooth Gerties to reopen

The Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) announced in a press release on June… Continue reading

Newly-elected Liard First Nation chief accuses YG of interfering with election

Stephen Charlie says YG’s announcement days before election endorsed previous chief

COMMENTARY: Shifting the prevailing narrative of substance use

Blood Ties Four Directions Centre Special to the News Rarely does society… Continue reading

Alexco nearing production at Keno Hill mines

Alexco Resource Corp. is entering the final phase of development at its… Continue reading

Literacy award nomination deadline approaching

Nominations for the 2020 Council of the Federal Literacy Award will remain… Continue reading

City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read