Fentie’s cool to fuel tax idea

A one-cent fuel tax for municipalities doesn’t sit well with Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie. Asked about the tax scheme, Fentie said he…

A one-cent fuel tax for municipalities doesn’t sit well with Yukon Premier Dennis Fentie.

Asked about the tax scheme, Fentie said he doesn’t support it.

While he doesn’t want to stifle initiative at the municipal level, he’d rather get more people on the tax rolls than squeeze more out of existing taxpayers, said Fentie on Thursday.

“No, the government will not be doing that,” said Fentie about the tax initiative.

The proposal, raised by council on Monday, proposes to bring a resolution before the Association of Yukon Communities.

If passed, it would see municipalities lobby for a share of the fuel tax revenue.

The proposal is for a one-cent-per-litre territorial tax increase on gasoline and diesel.

The money raised, estimated at about $992,000, would help municipalities fund infrastructure projects.

Whitehorse would use the money for its transit system.

Other villages and towns would use it for roadwork.

The increase would be on top of the $6.5 million the territory collects on its 7.2-cent-per-litre tax on diesel fuel and the 6.2 cents on gasoline.

His government understands and shares the infrastructure concerns of Yukon municipalities, said Fentie.

But, those concerns have already started to be addressed and plans are in the works to provide more infrastructure money to Whitehorse and the communities without going back to the tax base, he said.

“We’ve raised the (comprehensive municipal) grant; we’re working with municipalities on the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund and the Canadian Strategic Infrastructure Fund.

“Those are funding programs that put money towards infrastructure in the territory.”

Municipal governments are also receiving the majority of federal gas tax money being directed to the territory, a program that will see $48 million flow into Whitehorse’s bank accounts over the next few years, he said.

His government has already given money to the city for new buses and is trying to bring in even more money to the territory by working with Ottawa on another funding initiative, the Building Canada Fund, said Fentie.

“When you consider the transit issue that Whitehorse brought out, we’ve also recently dedicated over $800,000 that flowed directly to the City of Whitehorse for buses,” he said.

“You also have to look at the capital budget that the government has brought forward.

“In many cases, there’s an investment in municipal infrastructure in the territory, project by project.”

Therefore, he’d like to see the city get busy and bring more building lots to market, said Fentie.

“That can be done by quickly moving toward developing land and making property available within the city boundaries to grow our tax base,” he said.

“I think our focus here has to be more towards increasing the number of taxpayers instead of increasing taxes.

“There’s a huge demand out there.”

Mayor Bev Buckway still plans to push the idea of a gas tax.

The idea should go to the Association of Yukon Communities for discussion, she said.

Then, let the MLAs decide individually what they think of the idea, said Buckway.

“At this stage it’s not even a resolution that’s even been passed by city council.

“If it is passed it will go through the Association of Yukon Communities and go through processes there, and there will be a number of us that will give it good debate.

“You might find, I don’t know because I haven’t spoken to them, but you might find that there’s a number of MLAs that could see how this could benefit their communities; let’s give this due process.”

As for building lots, the city is moving as fast as it can with development.

It has lots in Arkell and the Stan McCowan property coming on line in the near future with more new lots in Takhini North and the lower Porter Creek bench scheduled for release in the next few years, she said.

“We will proceed with getting lots on the market as fast as we can.”

In the meantime, there are some other housing options being introduced, such as a new trailer park being applied for by businessman Barry Bellchambers, she said.

That project is still in the application phase, but if approved it would be located across the street from Bellchambers’ Takhini Mobile Home Park.

“There’s going to be a lot of housing opportunities. It may not translate into lots but we are going to see a lot of options for housing,” said Buckway.

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

A draft plan has been released by the Dawson Regional Use Planning commission on June 15. Julien Gignac/Yukon News
Draft plan released by the Dawson Regional Land Use Planning Commission

Dawson Regional Land Use Commission releases draft plan, Government of Yukon withdraws additional lands from mineral staking in the planning region

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Let them live in trailers

“I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city… Continue reading


Wyatt’s World for June 18, 2021.… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs nine new COVID-19 cases, 54 active cases

More CEMA enforcement officers have been recruited, officials say

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read