Council reins in horse association move

The Yukon Horse and Rider Association's move to the old Klondike Motor Association Speedway in Cowley Creek has been halted.

The Yukon Horse and Rider Association’s move to the old Klondike Motor Association Speedway in Cowley Creek has been halted.

On Monday night, Whitehorse city council voted 4-3 to delay the second reading of a bylaw that would allow the association to relocate to the property by a month.

The process has frustrated area residents.

“We’re not trying to be inhospitable to the horse and rider association,” area resident Jill Pangman told council. “We didn’t realize that this would come to having to access it through a subdivision.”

The association’s current lease ends in August. It needs to move because of construction in Whistle Bend.

In October, the city gave it conditional agreement to move to the old speedway. But then the Yukon government said the access road to the site isn’t safe and can’t be used. In February, the city’s planning department proposed extending Sockeye Place to the speedway. The city wants to create four or five country-residential lots along the road to pay for construction.

And that’s angered the neighbours.

“I moved there with the understanding that I would have some peace and quiet,” Donna Clayson told council. She doesn’t want the association there at all, because it will make the neighbourhood too noisy. And horse trailers driving down the street could make it unsafe for children, she said.

“What about us?” Clayson asked council. “It just sounds like the horse and riders’ a me-me, and they don’t care whose toes they’re stepping on.”

“I think most of us feel a wee bit ambushed,” said area resident Glenys Baltimore. The horse and rider association has had years to plan its move, but Cowley Creek residents only learned about the new road and houses a few months ago, she said.

But neighbours don’t have all the facts, Anne Lewis, the association’s development committee chair, told council.

Some have heard the association owns an arena on Mayo Road. If so, Clayson told council, it would just be “re-inventing the wheel” to move to Cowley Creek.

But that property is privately-owned by the estate of Sharon Jensen, Lewis told council. The association has looked at the site. But leasing the property would cost between $16,000 and $20,000 a month, she said. That’s too expensive for the not-for-profit organization.

Association members do ride there, but the group has no plans to purchase the site, president Jody Mackenzie-Grieve said in an interview this week. Even if it could afford it, the facilities don’t meet event requirements, she said.

The move will cost at least $40,000, said Mackenzie-Grieve. There’s been no funding confirmed from Whitehorse or the Yukon government, she said.

Members are willing to do some fundraising, Lewis told council on Monday night.

And because of this, and the new information council heard, the bylaw’s second reading should be delayed, Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu, said Monday night.

Fear or indecisiveness are not motivating the delay, said Curteanu, who has expressed frustration about this process in previous meetings. Residents need more time to voice their opinions, she said.

“By rushing this, it’s only going to create resentment, and that’s not what we want. I want this to be a win-win situation,” she told council. “I think we can find a way. It’s just going to take a little bit of time, but the little bit of time now that we’re going to put into it is going to be worth it in the end because hopefully everyone will be happy.”

But postponing the second reading didn’t please everyone.

Council needs to stop delaying things, said Coun. Betty Irwin.

“There does come a point when we have to make a definite decision on some of these issues. We cannot continually postpone them,” she said. “If we did, we would be talking about these issues until next Christmas and possibly past.”

“We are here to make decisions on these rather difficult issues. The time has come for us to make decisions. Let’s earn our pay.”

Mayor Dan Curtis and Coun. Dave Stockdale also opposed delaying the second reading. The third and final reading will only come after a ministerial review. There’s enough time to get more information, said Curtis.

If the problem is speed, lowering the limit or installing signs could be possible solutions, said Coun. Kirk Cameron.

But the government has said neither of these options will work, said Mike Gau, director of planning.

Speed is a main concern, said Allan Nixon with the department of highways and public works. But lowering the limit can cause more problems. “It seems like a simple solution, but it isn’t,” he said in an interview this week.

The speed limit along the highway is 90 km/h. Transportation standards say the sight lines need to be a minimum of 305 metres in either direction. Right now, they are roughly 250 metres, he said. New signs won’t solve that, said Nixon.

The department has had preliminary conversations with the city, he said. Developers would have to pay to reconfigure the highway, he said.

“The current location is not a safe location,” said Nixon.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

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

Just Posted

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations


Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Premier Sandy Silver during a live update on the COVID-19 situation at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 27. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Total Yukon COVID case count increased to 42 cases

Premier urges patience after national meeting on vaccine roll-out

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Most Read