Council rejects street closure

City council rejected a First Nations Arts Festival’s request for a closure of First Avenue on Monday night.

City council rejected a First Nations Arts Festival’s request for a closure of First Avenue on Monday night.

The 10-day period that the society organizing the event was asking for is too long, most councillors said.

The effect on businesses on Main Street, the Edgewater Hotel in particular, would be too great.

The event was inspired by the success of the Gathering of Northern Nations at the 2007 Canada Winter Games.

It would invite more than 30 artists from across the territory to showcase Yukon First Nation artists and give live presentations and workshops.

The organizers planned to utilize both the Old Firehall and the Arts Underground space.

The Society of Yukon Artists of Native Ancestry was asking council to close First Avenue from Main Street to Elliott Street from June 18 to June 29.

This would allow for a tent to be erected in the street beside the Old Firehall to hold workshops.

 “I can’t support it,” said councillor Dave Austin.

“To affect a longstanding business for 10 days at the time of year — it’s the height of their season — I’m sorry, I just can’t do it.”

Many of the other councillors echoed Austin’s sentiment.

“As a former business owner on Main Street we were faced with repeated road closures year and year after year,” said Mayor Bev Buckway.

“As much as people feel that having the street closed is a boon to business, let me tell you, it is not a boon to business.

“You might as well shut your doors and go home.”

Councillor Jan Stick was the only politician to vote in favour of the proposal.

“I realize that it is a long period for that one block, but we’ve also had the support of the Main Street Society,” she said.

“I just think that it was such an exciting and positive event.”

Stick suggested that the society somehow shorten the road closure to a week rather than 10 days.

“The streets have been blocked off before,” she said.

“I don’t have any problem with this one. I think it’s fine.”

The festival is now looking for a new location for the tent.

“We’re still pretty optimistic,” said Sonny Voyageur, one of the organizers.

“We do want it by the waterfront and we still have a few other options.

“But time is running short so we’ve got to think quickly here”

The Yukon Arts Centre is helping with some of the organization of the festival.

“They’re coming not merely to expose their work, but they’re coming to be teachers and guides to other people who are interested in that form of art,” said executive director Al Cushing.

“What a feather in the cap of Whitehorse.”

The plan is to expand the festival and make it a yearly event, said Voyageur.

“Next year, we’ll definitely have to find a better venue.”

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

Dave Blottner, executive director at the Whitehorse Food Bank, said the food bank upped its services because of the pandemic. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Food Bank sees Yukoners’ generosity firsthand

“Businesses didn’t know if they could stay open but they were calling us to make sure we were able to stay open.”

Air North president Joe Sparling said the relaxing of self-isolation rules will be good for the business, but he still expects a slow summer. (Mike Thomas/Yukon News)
Air North president expects a slow summer

Air North president Joe Sparling suspects it will be a long time before things return to pre-pandemic times


Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Caribou pass through the Dempster Highway area in their annual migration. A recent decision by the privacy commissioner has recommended the release of some caribou collar re-location data. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News)
Privacy commissioner recommends release of caribou location data

Department of Environment says consultation with its partners needed before it will consider release

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

Most Read