Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay’s letter to council regarding rewording of various sections of the purposed procedures bylaw was read into record during the council meeting on Jan. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay’s letter to council regarding rewording of various sections of the purposed procedures bylaw was read into record during the council meeting on Jan. 25. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

First two readings passed on new procedures bylaw

Changes may be contemplated before third reading

Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw that could change how council deals with civil emergencies and in how public presentations are made to council.

Members voted in favour of the first two readings of a new council procedures bylaw at its Jan. 25 meeting.

The proposed bylaw came forward after months of work to draft the document that is planned to replace the current procedures bylaw.

In a previous report to council, Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, noted different parts of the current procedures bylaw have been amended over the years “resulting in a confusing organization of its content, and some gaps, internal conflicts or redundancies.”

“In addition, during the current council’s term of office occasions have arisen that have suggested certain additions or clarifications to the existing bylaw would be helpful.”

Among the changes would be provision for council to hold a decision-making meeting with shortened or even no notice to the public without quorum required in the case of a civil emergency that “poses an immediate danger to people and/or to public or private property, and for which urgent, timely action by council is required.”

If, in those circumstances, a quorum of at least four members cannot be reached, the council members who are available would meet to decide how to handle the emergency.

Then any such decision would be subject to a review by council “at the earliest opportunity when a quorum can reasonably be convened to confirm, modify or overturn the authorization.”

Another change would come in how delegations are made to council.

Currently, due to COVID-19, those wanting to make presentations are required to provide written submissions to council that are then read into the record at a meeting.

Prior to COVID-19, and under the current bylaw, those wishing to appear as delegates could do so by registering in advance or by making the request just before a meeting with council typically voting to allow the delegation.

As Constable explained previously, that can create a lot of last minute “scrambling” as staff may have to pass on written material from the delegate to council, ensure technology the delegate wants to use is available and ready for use, and provide information to the captioned who’s providing closed captioning for the broadcast/streaming of the meeting.

Under the proposed bylaw, delegates would be required to register by 1:30 p.m. on the day of a council meeting. They will be required to provide their name, address and contact information as well as the subject of their delegation.

Delegates will no longer, however, be required to state their addresses during their presentation to council. Instead they will state the area where they live as well as whether they are speaking as an individual or on behalf of an organization.

Before council voted to pass the first two readings of the bylaw on Jan. 25, a delegation presentation from Keith Lay was read into the record by Constable.

In his presentation, Lay made a number of suggestions for rewording various sections of the bylaw.

He also argued against a provision that would give delegates longer than the five-minute allotment, provided they request and council approves the time extension before the presentation. Lay argued that beyond a possible medical reason, all delegates should be given the same amount of time to speak.

Lay wrapped up his submission by encouraging the city to keep the delegation submissions in place that have been established due to COVID-19 after the pandemic ends in addition to the in-person option.

Such a move, he said, may “encourage more citizens to participate”. He pointed out it would allow those who are unable to make it to council meetings due to scheduling conflicts to make presentations as well as provide another option for those uncomfortable being on camera as they would be during the weekly broadcast of the council meeting.

Questioned later in the meeting by Coun. Steve Roddick about the possibility of continuing with delegation changes that have been made in light of COVID-19 in addition to in-person options post-COVID, Constable said the COVID provisions have not been written into the bylaw, but there would be nothing to prevent such an amendment being made in the future.

Both councillors Dan Boyd and Laura Cabott also commented on the bylaw noting that while they support the first two readings of the bylaw moving forward as is, they are hoping for a few changes before third reading comes forward.

Cabott noted she’d like greater clarity on exactly what constitutes an emergency before third reading comes forward.

It’s anticipated third reading will come forward in February.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Whitehorse city council

Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

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

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