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Progress slow for Pioneer Cemetery repairs

The condition of Whitehorse's downtown trails and the state of the Pioneer Cemetery were the hot-button issues at a town hall meeting held last night at the Frank Slim building.

The condition of Whitehorse’s downtown trails and the state of the Pioneer Cemetery were the hot-button issues at a town hall meeting held last night at the Frank Slim building.

About 15 residents and five members of city council attended the meeting.

The city organizes informal get togethers to keep a pulse on issues that affect residents. They are held each month in a different neighbourhood.

Last night, the focus of the meeting shifted to issues that were raised last year, and whether the city had done anything about them.

It’s part of holding the city accountable for its actions, said downtown resident Diane Brent.

Mayor Dan Curtis initially resisted the idea of dredging up old issues, arguing the meeting was an opportunity for residents to discuss current concerns.

“That’s not what we’re here for, to hear a checklist of things from the past,” he said.

“We want to hear about what affects you now. A shopping list will only overwhelm administration.”

Councillor John Streicker gave an update on the downtown section of the Riverfront Trail, which was cleared of snow this winter from Shipyards Park to Rotary Park.

The initial plan was to keep it hard packed, he said, but the decision was made to clear it completely to make it easier for residents with mobility concerns to use. Brent, who uses the trail every day with her dog, criticized the Klondike Snowmobile Association for poorly managing the trail.

“They’re doing more harm than good,” she said, “and I’d be happy if they just stayed away from it.”

“The amount of dirt they use is excessive and they don’t tend to the trail when they’re supposed to.”

Another resident brought up the state of the Pioneer Cemetery, located on Sixth Avenue and Wood Street.

In recent years, some have raised concerns about dogs defecating on grave sites and tombstones being knocked over.

The resident said she attended a meeting last year where members of the Yukon Order of Pioneers, as well as the Royal Canadian Legion, presented design plans for the cemetery.

But no hints of progress have been shared with the public since then, she said.

Streicker said he knew about the design to improve the state of the cemetery but wasn’t sure how far along the project was.

“We can share that design with anyone who wants to see it,” he said.

The meeting ended with a resident asking Curtis for an update on the city’s recycling plans.

After Curtis gave a lengthy update, which mentioned the development of a curbside recycling program, Brent complained about the lack of time for residents to share their concerns at the hour-and-a-half meeting.

“I wish there was a better balance,” she said, “because there’s only 10 minutes left and other issues to discuss.”

Other issues that were raised included limited handicapped parking spots at the hospital, the use of salt on downtown sidewalks and whether motorized vehicles should be allowed on Rotary Centennial Bridge.

The next town hall meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 8 at the Porter Creek School cafeteria.

Contact Myles Dolphin at