Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

This week at city hall

Mosquito control

In the July 4 standing committee meeting, Mayor Laura Cabott raised the issue of “the large amount of mosquitoes still hanging around and kicking around,” especially in some of the country residential neighourhoods.

She acknowledged the city has a contractor that does mosquito control, but requested an update as to where things were at since there seems to be a “higher than average number of the pests.”

Acting city manager Tracy Allen said the city has a program in place which provides mosquito control to approximately 700 hectares, through both aerial and ground control. The contractor has already completed the first round and will return after major rainfall events.

According to Allen, there are more mosquitoes than normal due to this year’s wet spring and high volume of snow melt.

“It’s a common issue throughout the territory,” she said.

Most of the areas in Whitehorse where mosquito control is done have fish-bearing creeks, so Cabott wanted to know how the contrator is able to “tackle the mosquitoes without killing other things.”

Allen explained mosquito control is largely done on standing bodies of water and the material used is approved by the Yukon government.

“One of the reasons we go with this product is because of the minimal impact it has on other aquatic species and wildlife,” she said.

Coun. Ted Laking mentioned the current algae build-up in the Whistle Bend pond, which he said many residents were attributing as a source of the significantly bad bugs in that neighbourhood.

Allen confirmed the first round of algae removal was scheduled for this week and will be done again later in the year as required.

Budget increase

Administration is requesting a budget amendment for the loader, water and waste services and transportation project.

The 2022-2025 Capital Expenditure Program approved the purchase of an additional loader, calling this piece of equipment “integral” to the operation of the city’s growing compost program and winter road maintenance.

Acting city manager Tracy Allen said it is recommended the city proceeds with this project in 2022 and does not delay.

“Maintaining product quality is dependent on moving material in a timely and efficient manner,” she said.

“Transporation maintenance has also identified an additonal loader as a critical aspect in performing expected duties in winter and spring.”

Over the past two years, inflation has caused the costs of fleet vehicles, equipment and parts to steadily rise. Supply chain issues are continuing to extend delivery times. In order for the project to be completed in a timely manner, the 2022 budget of $415,000 needs to be increased to $535,000, according to Allen.

This additional $120,000 is eligible under the Canada Community Building Fund (formerly known as the Gas Tax Fund). The money would be sourced from the capital reserve until a transfer payment agreement is approved.

Inclusivity advisory committee

In 2021, city council committed to developing and integrating a plan to promote and improve inclusivity and diversity in Whitehorse.

Legislative services manager Wendy Donnithorne presented a draft terms of reference and framework for council to review regarding the Inclusivity advisory committee.

This, she said, is the first step in the process for establishing a new committee. Once it is approved, administration can proceed with the application process and further development of the committee framework.

Donnithorne said the committee will consist of eight voting members who are culturally diverse, First Nations, LGBQT2S+ and/or living with disabilities.

Coun. Mellisa Murray requested the list of key groups of representation be expanded to include youth groups, women’s organizations, Elders and seniors.

“If the goal is to cover a wide audience and make the committee more accesible, I really think we need to spell [these other priority groups] out in the application announcement,” she said.

She also asked about the “application process metrics” when candidates are considered. In other words, what level of experience or skills are required in order to be selected?

Donnithorne explained “it will be a broader lense because we are not looking for technical expertise on this committee as opposed to a representation of diverse groups within the community.”

She said specific criteria would not be included in the call for applicants since the priority would be “more of a general representation.”

Range Road traffic

With two major new developments going up on Range Road and a potential third, residents of Takhini have noticed traffic getting worse, according to Coun. Ted Laking.

“It can be backed up from Two Mile Hill all the way to the college and we’ve started to see bike lanes getting taken up by people parking on the side,” he said.

Acting city manager Tracy Allen said administration has requested and received council’s approval to work with the territorial government on upgrades to the Alaska Highway and Two Mile Hill intersection. The city is currently working to finalize the agreement. The next step will be to begin conceptual design, which Allen said will look at all the traffic flows and what is required for the area. The plan is to move into detailed design next year.

The longterm plan from Two Mile Hill to Mountainview Drive will come through the transportation master plan which will be reviewed and shared with stakeholders in a public input session.

Sight specific upgrades in front of Takhini Elementary School, including additional concrete and lighting for student safety, will proceed as planned.

Whitehorse city council