Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

The city’s $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 drew just one public submission during an input session held at Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 23 meeting.

First reading of the budget bylaw passed earlier this month with second and third readings to follow the public input session.

Keith Lay provided the lone submission to council on the proposed budget, taking issue with a number of projects outlined.

While residents cannot make in-person presentations to council due to COVID-19, Lay’s written submission was read out loud for the public record.

The budget largely focuses on major infrastructure projects like the new city services building set to be built next to city hall as well as upgrades to a number of buildings around town.

A number of other projects were outlined by Lay, who first took issue with the proposal to spend $250,000 looking at new ways to run October’s municipal election.

He argued the city has not provided enough information to show it’s justified and it makes him question exactly how the $250,000 will be spent if it goes ahead.

While Lay raised issues with the potential plans for the election, he praised the $115,000 proposed to be spent on modernizing the city’s web site, stating it could be well worth the money to make city information more readily available and easier to find.

“I do hope that an effort will be made to update some of the information available. In particular, the maps related to city-approved trail plans and regional parks need much improvement,” Lay wrote.

He also called for more information about the snow dump management plan that’s outlined to be done at a cost of $100,000 as well as the $650,000 in external funding proposed for improvements to Schwatka Lake.

Finally, Lay took issue with regional park planning, noting that amounts had been identified earlier.

“What happened to the $125,000?” he questioned, citing funding that had been previously proposed for regional parks work in 2020.

He pointed out, for example, the Chadburn Lake Regional Park plan was approved in 2017 but it doesn’t appear that any work to implement the park plan has been done since 2018.

“The 2021 capital budget should allocate funds to complete at least some of the initiatives proposed for completion in the first five years of the plan,” Lay said. “There is still no sign at the start of the Chadburn Lake Road to indicate that one is about to enter the park.”

He suggested the city could reallocate some of the $80,000 outlined for parks and trails public art to the Chadburn Lake Regional Park management plan or at least use some of the money for the design of a park sign.

A report on the input is expected to come forward at council’s Nov. 30 meeting ahead of the final two readings of the budget in December.

The city’s operating budget for 2021, which details any changes to city taxes and fees, is expected to come forward in the new year.

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

Whitehorse city council

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