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New city hall could cost $24.7 million

Council will be presented with latest plans June 7
A rendering of the proposed new city hall/services building and transit hub. (City of Whitehorse/submitted)

It would seem $24.7 million is now the figure that will buy Whitehorse a new city hall structure.

The proposed plans for a new city hall/services building and transit hub were presented at a technical briefing on the project June 2 at city hall.

Peter O’Blenes, the city’s manager of property management, and senior projects engineer Wayne Tuck presented the plans, noting the most recent cost estimate brings the plans up to $24.7 million compared to the previous $20.8 million.

In April, Whitehorse city council approved a change of scope for the project that had originally planned to see a new service building and transit hub constructed along with retrofits to city hall. The fire hall currently on the site will be demolished to make way for the plans, with the new downtown fire hall opened in 2020 — off Black Street — replacing it.

The new plans will instead see the demolition of the original 1966 portion of the city hall building west of the Steele Street entrance to Second Avenue. Renovations are also planned for the newer section built in 1987.

The proposal to demolish the older section of city hall came about after it was learned significant structural work would be needed to bring that section of the building up to current building codes.

Plans show where the new city hall, services building and transit hub will be built in relation to the currant buildings on the site. (Courtesy/City of Whitehorse)

In voting to go ahead with the change of scope, council also voted that the budget change come back to council for consideration when the estimates were better known.

O’Blenes said the proposed budget would come forward for council’s consideration June 7 with a vote anticipated the following week. Council will also vote on whether to move forward with the tender for the work. The tender will be released in the summer.

Both O’Blenes and Tuck noted the project is part of the city’s overall building consolidation plan, which is seeing city staff moved to new and updated buildings in town.

The initiative saw the construction and opening of the new operations building off Range Road as well as a new downtown fire hall with the closures of the municipal services building and the fire hall next to city hall.

Parks staff is also slated to move into the renovated former transit building in Marwell as part of the plans.

If the plans for a new city hall/services building and transit hub move forward, it’s anticipated the 38,750 square foot building would be finished in late 2023 or early 2024.

The new building would have a single public entrance off of Steele Street with primarily office space throughout.

Council chambers would be renovated and the city’s Pioneer Heritage Room, a meeting room where council and senior management roundtables are often held, would be situated next to council chambers. It is in the 1966 section of city hall and will be demolished.

The city’s cenotaph would be moved to Steele Street, where half the street would be closed off for the new structure and landscaping. Steele Street would become a one-way street. Tuck noted that while some parking will be lost with the changes, there are also other measures in place to add parking elsewhere. Ultimately, the changes will result in a net loss of six parking spaces for the city.

The transit hub is slated to offer both outdoor and indoor seating, indoor washrooms, with information offered inside on transit schedules and the like.

It’s anticipated there will also be options to purchase tickets at the hub as well.

The project has federal/territorial funding in place with the city funding approximately $8 million from reserves. A total of $4 million would come from the Yukon government and the federal government would fund more than $12 million.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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