Whitehorse City Hall seen in a file photo. (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall seen in a file photo. (Yukon News file)

This week at city hall

This week at city hall

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its Feb. 14 meeting.

Lift station work approved

The City of Whitehorse will add another $500,000 to its budget to replace the Range Road sewage lift station.

At Whitehorse city council’s Feb. 14 meeting, council voted to add the funds to the project from the city’s portion of the federal gas tax, and authorized administration to move forward on procurement for the work.

The change comes after the project was initially budgeted for $2.4 million. Detailed design for the work determined the additional $500,000 would be required.

Taylor Eshpeter, the city’s manager of engineering services, noted in an earlier report the lift station and forcemain were built in the early 1960s and there are now frequent operational problems.

“A proactive replacement of the lift station at this time will be more cost effective than further maintenance and upgrades,” he said.

A tender will be released this month with the contract to be awarded in April, the same month work would begin. It’s expected the new lift station will be in place by November.

New lease proposed

A new lease is closer to being in place for the Frostbite Music Society for the 280 square metre site it leases in Shipyards Park.

Whitehorse city council passed first and second reading on the proposed lease at its Feb. 7 meeting.

As Pat Ross, the city’s manager of land and building services, explained at an earlier meeting, the music society has used the site for its Chambers House building since 2007. The most recent lease expired in 2019 and it is now in an over-hold status.

“Administration has negotiated the terms of a new lease with Frostbite, which include a 10 year term and an increase to the lease area to include a new para-ramp to the building,” Ross said.

He went on to state that Frostbite “fits the vision for the area as it contributes to the cultural amenities in the area through its hosting of the Jenni House artist in residence winter program, musical performances and training, as well as the home for community radio station CJUC. It is similar to the other occupants in Shipyards Park, Yukon Literacy Coalition and Yukon Film Society. Additionally, the Chambers House is occupied year-round and provides a presence in the park that contributes to crime prevention and preventing vandalism.”

Under the terms of the lease, rent would be $10 per year, plus any applicable property taxes, insurance and utility charges.

Third reading will come forward Feb. 28.

Rezoning for battery project approved

A large piece of Kwanlin Dün First Nation land off Robert Service Way has been rezoned.

Whitehorse city council approved the final two readings for the rezoning of the site at Robert Service Way and the Alaska Highway at its Feb. 14 meeting.

The rezoning saw a 1.66 ha part of the site rezoned to Public Utilities to be leased to the Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) for an energy battery storage project, with the remaining 9.13 ha rezoned to Mixed Use Commercial/Industrial for future sites.

The approval came after a public hearing was held Jan. 17. One written submission came in that opposed the plans, citing geo-hazard concerns around the battery being close to nearby power sources, in an earthquake zone and unstable land and nearby water. Concerns about its proximity to runway flight paths were also highlighted.

In response, city planner Karmen Whitbread’s report noted the issues were considered during a review of the project by the Yukon Environmental Socio-economic Assessment Board.

It was pointed out the site is relatively flat and that all of Whitehorse is in the same moderate risk earthquake zone hazard level.

“It is therefore considered that locating the batteries on the subject site will not initiate or exacerbate any geo-hazard risks over and above any other location in Whitehorse,” the report states. “In the event of a hazard occurring, the batteries are planned to be stored in metal containers and will be equipped with an automated system for detection and on-site suppression of fire. YEC will also coordinate with the Whitehorse Fire Services department to prepare a fire response plan. The facility is expected to create low noise nuisance and have very low risk of fire or explosion, as stated in the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board’s Designated Office Evaluation Report (2021- 0076).”

The report also noted the project will have to meet any building height regulations outlined by Transport Canada for sites within close proximity to the airport.

“The Transport Canada’s airport regulations (C.R.C., c. 122) limit the maximum building height on the subject site to approximately 20 m, which aligns with the proposed First Nation-Public Utility maximum height restriction,” Whitbread said.

Whistle Bend rezoned

Whitehorse city council took another step towards more Whistle Bend development in passing the final two readings for zoning of Phase 9 of the neighbourhood.

The zoning establishes areas for single residential, townhouse and multiple family homes in Phase 9.

A public hearing on the rezoning was held Jan. 17, with no submissions coming forward.

“The proposed zones align with the [official community plan] designation and is compatible with surrounding uses and zones,” city planner Mathieu Marois said in an earlier report to council. “If council approves this amendment, the city and [Yukon government] can move forward with detailed engineering design and the subdivision process. Lot lottery release for Phase 9 is anticipated to begin in fall/winter 2022/23.”

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