Contractor faulted for trolley service woes

The city has asked a contractor working on First Avenue reconstruction to pay for unnecessarily cutting off waterfront trolley service.

The city has asked a contractor working on First Avenue reconstruction to pay for unnecessarily cutting off waterfront trolley service.

Work by Norcope Enterprises undercut the trolley’s tracks, preventing it from running North of Strickland Street.

The city had promised the track would be blocked for only “a matter of days.”

But seven weeks went by before full service could resume, according to the Miles Canyon Historic Railway Society, which manages the trolley for the Yukon government.

While service from Rotary Peace Park to Spook Creek finally got under way on July 12th, lost revenue totals nearly $5,000, wrote the society’s director Dave Layzelle in a letter to the city dated July 18th.

The society cut fares from $2 to $1, because only half the ride was available.

And that lost revenue was not accounted for in the society’s budget.

“We have limited resources and find it extremely difficult to cope with such losses,” wrote Layzelle.

At Monday’s council meeting, the city discussed the authorization of a $2,000 public relations grant to the society to offset the lost revenue.

But city engineering manager Wayne Tuck said Norcope would be asked to foot the bill.

“We’re in negotiation with the contractor as to when the line should have been opened,” he told council.

The city has discussed the matter with its engineering consultants, Quest Engineering Group Inc., project co-ordinator Janet Ryan said Wednesday.

It hasn’t yet been decided how much Norcope should pay, she said.

“Part of the timeline was due to construction and part of it wasn’t and so our consultant is going to look at that.

“So the issue has to be what kind of communication was going on between the contractor and the trolley association.”

But Norcope was fully aware of when it was supposed to get the trolley back on track, said Quest Engineering partner Rick Savage.

“We have weekly project meetings on the site and it was discussed every meeting pretty much,” he said.

“We felt that the delays were primarily caused by the contractor’s co-ordination of the work.

“There were some excavations that were left open that didn’t necessarily have to be for any particular reason and as a result of that the trolley couldn’t operate.

“The contractor may see it differently, but that’s our perspective at the moment.”

Norcope manager Doug Gaunders refused to comment from the site Wednesday.

The railway society would prefer the city handle the negotiations, said the trolley’s director of operations Jim O’Neal on Wednesday.

But if these negotiations come up short, the society might deal with Norcope directly.

“It may be our action to pursue it further,” said O’Neal.

“We could take another approach to see what we can get out of the contractor.”

Norcope has been laying the underground work for a future commercial-residential complex along the river since early May.

The company was awarded both the deep underground and shallow utility work contracts by the city. These include the installation of water, sewage and electrical systems.

Skookum Asphalt Ltd. will begin the surface paving in the next few weeks.

While Norcope is a couple weeks behind schedule, construction is still slated to be completed by the end of the year, said Savage.

The trolley, which will run for another six weeks, is a popular attraction for both residents and tourists.

It has so far had a five-per-cent increase in use over the same period in 2005, according to city documents.

Council will make a decision on the matter at next Monday’s meeting.

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

Just Posted

Members of the RCMP’s traffic services team examine police markers on Range Road after a six-year-old boy was struck by a vehicle near the Takhini Arena in Whitehorse on Oct. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Six-year-old hit by vehicle near Takhini Arena

Police were called to the scene around 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 25

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. Two new cases of COVID-19 were identified in Watson Lake over the weekend. The cases are connected to three others in the community previously announced by officials on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two additional COVID-19 cases in Watson Lake bring total up to five

Individuals with symptoms and connections to the three other cases were tested over the weekend

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

Teagan Wiebe, left, and Amie Wiebe pose for a photo with props during The Guild’s haunted house dress rehearsal on Oct. 23. The Heart of Riverdale Community Centre will be hosting its second annual Halloween haunted house on Oct. 30 and 31, with this year’s theme being a plague. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Plague-themed haunted house to take over Heart of Riverdale for Halloween

A plague will be descending upon the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre… Continue reading

Indigenous lobster boats head from the harbour in Saulnierville, N.S. on Oct. 21. Elected officials in the Yukon, including all 19 members of the legislature, are backing the right of Mi’kmaq fishers on the East Coast to launch a moderate livelihood fishery. (Andrew Vaughan/CP)
Yukon legislature passes motion to support Mi’kmaw fishery

“It’s not easy, but it’s also necessary for us to have these very difficult conversations”

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over the Takhini elk herd be struck by the court. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News file)
Yukon government asks for Takhini elk lawsuit to be struck

The Yukon government is asking for all claims in a lawsuit over… Continue reading

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging the reduction of its caribou quota to zero. (Yukon News file)
YG replies to outfitter’s legal challenge over caribou quota

The Yukon government has filed a reply to an outfitter’s petition challenging… Continue reading

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this year, saying that with COVID-19, it’s “more important than ever.” (Black Press file)
Get flu vaccine, Yukon government urges

The Yukon government is encouraging people to get the flu vaccine this… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

asdf
COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Most Read