No evening transit puts Chillaxin’ on ice

Yvonne Comfort was used to fights, make-out sessions and vandalism. "I was having at least an incident report or two a weekend on kids who were getting into fights, or vandalizing, or getting caught making out in the bathroom."

Yvonne Comfort was used to fights, make-out sessions and vandalism.

“I was having at least an incident report or two a weekend on kids who were getting into fights, or vandalizing, or getting caught making out in the bathroom,” said the Canada Games Centre’s youth program supervisor.

So this year, Comfort revamped the youth program, solving most of the behavioural problems.

In December, the Chillaxin’ Lounge closed down for two weeks and opened back up as the new-and-improved Youth Lounge.

“We let the youth know that when they came back in January it wasn’t going to be a free for all anymore,” said Comfort. “We have taken the program from being solely a drop-in to something that’s adult led but youth driven.”

The lounge is offering a number of new activities including DJ classes, film and media training, and leadership-focused programming.

“It’s youth-directed, adult-facilitated programming,” said Comfort. “The focus is to have them be engaged and connected with the hopes that this becomes their place,”

While the majority of the programming is more structured they still have Chillaxin’ Lounge on Saturdays.

Along with the change in activities, there were some personnel changes that gave the staff more time to interact with the kids outside of the Youth Lounge.

“There’s a relationship there all throughout the week which makes behavioural issues a whole lot less,” said Comfort.

Since she instituted the changes, Comfort said she has only had one incident.

“It’s an excellent improvement to the program,” said Boys and Girls Club of Whitehorse executive director Dave Blottner.

The Boys and Girls Club partnered with the Canada Games Centre when the Chillaxin’ Lounge first opened years ago, but no longer works on the project.

While Blottner applauds the changes that have been made to the program, he said that the biggest challenge for youth is the lack of transit at night.

“If you don’t live in downtown or Riverdale it’s a long walk to get to the Canada Games Centre from Porter Creek,” he said. “If there was safe and reliable transportation to and from all the subdivisions that went a little bit later in the evening we would see a lot less issues with youth in Whitehorse.”

The lack of evening transit is a challenge for the centre, said Comfort.

“If kids can’t get picked up or can’t get dropped off, they can’t come.”

The city has committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve the transit system. Part of that improvement included extending service, but only by one hour.

The city task force that gave recommendations on improving service identified extended hours as a priority, but it ranked low on the list, said city transit manager Dave Muir.

“Our main focus is to improve service for the majority and that is certainly throughout the day and late-afternoon peaks,” he said.

The changes to the transit routes should make it easier to expand the transit system in the future, which is the natural next step, added Muir.

For those kids who are able to get to the centre, the changes to the program are promising, but it’s an ongoing effort, said Comfort.

“I think we’re just touching the surface,” she said. “If they own it, they’re part of it; if they help create it, they’re more likely to respect it and help take care of it.”

Contact Josh Kerr at

Just Posted

The Fireweed Market in Shipyards Park will open on May 13. Joel Krahn/Yukon News
Whitehorse’s Fireweed Market opens May 13

The Fireweed Market will return with ‘exciting’ new and returning vendors

Ron Rousseau holds a sign saying ‘It’s time for a cultural shift’ during the Yukoners: Raise Your Voice Against Misogyny rally on May 11. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Protest held to condemn Yukon Party MLAs’ texts

A rally was held outside of legislature to condemn the inappropriate texts messages of Yukon Party MLAs Stacey Hassard and Wade Istchenko.


Wyatt’s World for May 12, 2021.… Continue reading

Health Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley announced youth vaccination clinics planned for this summer. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon government file)
Vaccination campaign planned for Yukon youth age 12 and up

The Pfizer vaccine was approved for younger people on May 5.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced two new cases of COVID-19 on May 11. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two new cases of COVID-19 reported, one in the Yukon and one Outside

One person is self-isolating, the other will remain Outside until non-infectious

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.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Haley Ritchie/Yukon News file
File photo of the legislative assembly. The previous spring sitting began on March 4 but was interrupted due to the election.
Throne speech kicks off short spring legislature sitting

The government will now need to pass the budget.

The deceased man, found in Lake LaBerge in 2016, had on three layers of clothing, Dakato work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Photo courtesy Yukon RCMP
RCMP, Coroner’s Office seek public assistance in identifying a deceased man

The Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit and the Yukon Coroner’s Office are looking for public help to identify a man who was found dead in Lake LaBerge in May 2016.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Most Read