‘Suspicious’ landfill fire under investigation

An early Tuesday morning fire at the Whitehorse landfill destroyed the gatehouse, forcing the city to temporarily close the facility to the public. The fire was discovered at 6:50 a.m.

UPDATED

An early Tuesday morning fire at the Whitehorse landfill destroyed the gatehouse, forcing the city to temporarily close the facility to the public.

Now fire investigators have turned the suspicious fire over to the RCMP because they believe it was deliberately set.

When the fire was discovered at 6:50 on Tuesday morning, it had been burning for some time.

By the time the Whitehorse Fire Department arrived and put it out, the gatehouse had burned to the ground.

No one was supposed to be inside the landfill during the night, said fire Chief Clive Sparks.

The gate at the highway, which had been locked the night before, had been broken.

“The fact that the gate was torn off is a sign that something is not quite right,” he said.

The gatehouse, originally built by Yukon College carpentry students, was where loads were sorted, and fees were established and paid.

The landfill is closed to the public until the city can set up a temporary gatehouse to deal with incoming waste, he said. But the city will continue curbside pickup of garbage as usual.

Any additional waste will just have to wait until the landfill is back up and running.

The city is also trying to limit commercial hauling operations using the dump.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that the landfill will be back up and running sometime over the weekend, or early next week,” said city spokesperson Matthew Grant Thursday.

“The remains of the gatehouse have been removed and a new foundation for a temporary gatehouse is under construction,” said Dave Muir, manager of public works.

An ATCO trailer will serve as a temporary replacement for the gatehouse.

It’s still unclear how much the fire will cost the city.

“We just recently upgraded the landfill to a computerized system, so we’ve lost everything we’ve put in this year,” said Muir.

The new computerized system cost about $50,000.

Costs also depend on the extent of the damages to the weigh scale, which was connected to the gatehouse.

The city has brought in a specialist to assess whether the scales can be repaired, or whether they will need to be replaced.

This is the second significant fire the city has had to deal with in less than a year, said Whitehorse Mayor Bev Buckway.

The other fire took place at the Canada Games Centre.

“Of course, it always comes down to the cost to the taxpayers,” she said. “That’s the part that really makes you angry when you have this kind of activity in our community.”

The city does have insurance, which should cover the majority of the costs to get the landfill back to full operation.

“It’s certainly not a great way to start 2012,” Buckway added.

Contact Chris Oke at

chriso@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The City of Whitehorse will be spending $655,000 to upgrade the waste heat recovery system at the Canada Games Centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New waste heat recovery system coming to the CGC

Council approves $655,000 project

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate education advocates and volunteers help to sort and distribute Christmas hamper grocery boxes outside Elijah Smith Elementary School on Feb. 23. (Rebecca Bradford Andrew/Submitted)
First Nation Education Directorate begins Christmas hamper program

Pick-ups for hampers are scheduled at local schools

Cyrine Candido, cashier, right, wipes down the new plexi-glass dividers at Superstore on March 28, before it was commonplace for them to wear masks. The Yukon government is relaunching the Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program as the second wave of COVID-19 begins to take place in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Essential Workers Income Support Program extended to 32 weeks

More than 100 businesses in the territory applied for the first phase of the program

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

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

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Most Read