A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.
City could spend $90,000 on new pump
The City of Whitehorse could be adding the purchase of a new pump for its downtown lift station to the 2021 capital budget.
At Whitehorse city council’s April 6 meeting, Arcadio Rodriguez, a senior technologist with water and waste services, brought forward a recommendation that council approve the budget change for the pump with the $90,000 to come from the city’s water and sewer reserve until gas tax funding is approved.
As Rodriguez explained, there are plans to do a full retrofit of the lift station over the next two to three years; however, some immediate repairs are required.
“A high risk of catastrophic failure at lift station #1 would be present if the interim repairs are delayed or not performed,” he said. “System failure may create flood conditions (sewer backup) in downtown dwellings and commercial locations upstream of the station; as well as a risk of discharging untreated wastewater into the environment, if a wastewater diversion measure is undertaken.”
Council will vote April 13 whether to go ahead with the pump replacement.
Anti-racism declaration considered
An anti-racism declaration could be made by municipalities throughout the territory in the near future.
The proposed declaration was presented to Whitehorse city council for consideration and the City of Dawson to take to the Association of Yukon Communities at its next Annual General Meeting.
The declaration would commit AYC to provide members with anti-racism training and education on an annual basis and for AYC to seek external funding for that training as needed.
The resolution also calls on AYC members to provide education and training to staff, elected officials and volunteers that represent the community, review bylaws and policies with an equity and inclusivity lens, and explore and advocate for other actions to build equitable communities, while also exploring participation in the Canadian Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities.
Council members appeared supportive of the resolution with Deputy Mayor Jan Stick suggesting it is “important for all communities.”
Stick and a number of others on council noted that while the city has taken action in a number of ways — including offering training to staff — there are always opportunities to do more and look at what could be done differently.
“We want to be inclusive and we want to be action-oriented,” Coun. Steve Roddick said.
Council will vote next week whether to move ahead with the joint submission for AYC with Dawson. If both Whitehorse and Dawson approve it, it would come forward for consideration at AYC’s next annual general meeting.
City gets set to reorganize
A number of City of Whitehorse departments may soon fall under different divisions than they currently do at the city.
In a report to council presented at its April 6 meeting, city manager Linda Rapp highlighted the plans, noting that while a larger corporate reorganization had been planned, it is not the right time so a smaller reorganization will happen.
“It was recognized that the timing is not right for a larger process which may be better considered after the completion of the building consolidation project and COVID being behind us,” she stated in the report.
Among the changes planned that will happen are the creation of a property management department that would include building maintenance and vertical infrastructure, a corporate human resources division, moving transit to development services, renaming community and recreation services to community services, and putting legislative services as the lead for the wildland fire risk reduction strategy as policies and bylaws will need to be developed from that.
Compost donation considered
It’s not every day the city is asked to provide a donation in dirt, but that’s exactly what the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition is looking for.
The coalition will be working on a Ground Share project from April to September, an initiative focused on growing food.
“The Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition is asking for 100 complimentary bags of compost (valued at $500) to be used to minimize a barrier in participating in the pilot project, and also as a tool to increase the likelihood of a successful harvest,” city planning and sustainability manager Melodie Simard stated in a report to council.
While the city doesn’t have a method for donating assets (which compost would be classified as), it’s recommended council approve a grant of $500 from the council donation account that would go towards the project for the coalition to purchase compost.
Council will vote on the donation Arpil 13.
Drainage, development application changes proposed
Changes could be made to City of Whitehorse drainage requirements and development applications.
Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, brought forward the changes to the zoning bylaw at Whitehorse city council’s April 6 meeting.
The changes are aimed at improving and streamlining the development permit process while also creating more clear guidelines around site grading and drainage for properties.
If council approves first reading of the bylaw April 13, a public hearing would be held May 10 with a report on the hearing coming to council June 7 before second and third reading June 14.