Takhini North piper found, but how to pay him?

Takhini North's convoluted labyrinth of war-era sewer and water pipes finally has a surgeon. But residents and city officials are continuing their court battle to see who's going to pay him.

Takhini North’s convoluted labyrinth of war-era sewer and water pipes finally has a surgeon.

But residents and city officials are continuing their court battle to see who’s going to pay him.

Takhini North’s below-ground infrastructure is in serious need of overhaul, having remained unchanged since its installation during the Second World War.

Water mains are connected in series, so if one home has a water system failure, all neighbours will lose running water.

Whitehorse-based Castle Rock Enterprises won the contract, offering to complete the project for $4,592,502—more than $1 million less than estimated.

A “community liaison” person will be hired to help residents cope with fluctuating utility availability resulting from the work schedule.

Takhini residents argue that they shouldn’t have to pay for the upgrades, since they weren’t aware of the hackneyed state of plumbing when they moved in.

Besides, sewer and water pipes are city property anyway, they contend.

Residents are being asked to pay $10,000 each for the upgrades.

The new infrastructure will set the stage for 44 new single-family/duplex-zoned lots.

Court battles aside, everybody wants to see the plumbing fixed, said city manager Dennis Shewfelt.

Vermiculite paranoia

Monday, a resident asked council to outlaw vermiculite, a common organic fertilizer.

“I’m asking the city of Whitehorse to consider banning vermiculite and perlite from community gardens, preschools, public schools and any gardens where children are going to be down with their faces close to the boxes,” said Linda Bonnefoy, who recently read the fine print on the back of a bag of Terra-lite 2000, which called for fertilizer to be used only with a respirator, rubber gloves and full body protection.

Vermiculite is “safe,” says Health Canada. However, due to an asbestos contamination at a Montana mine during the 1990s, regulators continue to warn the mineral can contain trace amounts of asbestos.

If asbestos is present—and it is breathed over a long term—it could potentially cause asbestosis or lung cancer, states Health Canada’s website.

“Vermiculite is one of the safest, most unique minerals in the entire world,” states the UK-based Vermiculite Association.

Perlite can cause a rare disease known as silicosis, but only after long-term exposure, such as working in an office building insulated with perlite.

Council promised to run the issue past the territory’s chief medical officer.

Robert Campbell Bridge to receive makeover

The bridge to Riverdale is getting $401,525 worth of repairs.

Two years ago, inspectors recommended the bridge’s expansion joints be replaced and the bridge deck recoated. At the time, engineers recommended the repairs be completed within two years.

Alberta-based Concreate USL Ltd.—already at work upgrading the Takhini River Bridge—was recommended for the project.

Frugal public works department rewarded with tricked-out dump truck

Using money saved on a used street sweeper and discount track excavator repairs, the city will beef up its heavy truck fleet.

An “expanding amount of infrastructure of roads and streets” precipitated the need for the new $283,595 dump truck, which will come outfitted with both a street-sanding attachment and an under-body snow plough.

Contact Tristin Hopper at


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