This City of Whitehorse map shows the laneway that would be closed off for the building consolidation project. (City of Whitehorse)

This City of Whitehorse map shows the laneway that would be closed off for the building consolidation project. (City of Whitehorse)

Lane closure proposed to make way for new services building, city hall

First reading will come forward April 26

Plans to build a new City of Whitehorse services building and transit hub along with a major rebuild and retrofit to city hall — all at the city’s Second Avenue and Steele Street site — could see the permanent closure of a city lane through the site.

The lane extends off of Steele Street between city hall and MacBride Museum. It turns towards Second Avenue, running between city hall and the now-closed fire hall.

At Whitehorse city council’s April 19 meeting, Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, brought forward the proposed lane closure bylaw. He noted the work underway to consolidate into one lot, the 12 separate lots and laneway that make up the site, as plans move forward for the new and renovated buildings. The new services building, transit hub and city hall are expected to be complete in 2023 at an anticipated cost of $24 million with $15.7 million coming from federal and territorial funding sources.

The lots were never consolidated during the original building of city hall and the fire hall next door. The fire hall was closed last year with the opening of a new downtown fire hall off of Black Street. For the lot consolidation to happen, the lane must first be formally closed through the lane closure bylaw.

“Section 276 of the Municipal Act states that council may, by bylaw, permanently close a municipal highway by registering at the land titles office a plan that shows the closure, and that a municipality proposing to permanently close a municipal highway must give public notice and hold a public hearing before final passage of a bylaw in respect of the proposed closure,” Ross explained in a report to council.

The lane had previously been larger, but a portion was closed and consolidated with MacBride Museum’s site in 2006.

If council approves first reading of the bylaw on April 26, the public hearing would be held at council’s May 10 meeting. A report on the hearing would come forward May 17 with council then expected to vote on the final two readings of the bylaw May 25.

Ross said the city would be reaching out to MacBride Museum officials about the lane closure as the bylaw moves forward.

“If this bylaw is not approved, administration cannot proceed with consolidation of the lots underlying city hall prior to processing additional permits for any new development,” Ross said.

The plans for the new city services building and city hall are part of the larger building consolidation project underway. The effort has seen the opening of the new city operations building off Range Road, the new downtown fire hall and the closures of the former Municipal Services Building on Fourth Avenue and the fire hall next to city hall.

It will also see parks staff moved to the former transit building set for renovations in Marwell.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Whitehorse city council

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