Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)

This week at Whitehorse City Hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its Nov. 7 meeting.

Environmental grants considered

Bike maintenance, gardening and art projects planned over the next year in Whitehorse could all see funding from the City of Whitehorse in the form of environmental grants.

At Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 7 meeting, Mélodie Simard, the city’s manager of planning and sustainability, brought forward a recommendation council approve more than $24,000 for three projects through the city’s annual environmental grants.

“The City of Whitehorse is committed to encouraging and enabling societies, commercial organizations and schools to be active partners in achieving the city’s sustainability goals,” she said.

The largest of the grants would see $14,033 go to the Raven Recycling Society for a waste diversion project where artists rethink waste at the recycling depot.

Asked by Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu for further details on the project, Simard explained Raven provides a residency to artists who work with materials at the depot to create art. It’s aimed at looking at different ways of creating art and managing waste, Simard said.

The other two projects would see $7,925 go to the Whitehorse Bike Kitchen Task Force for an active transportation project where experts would teach bike maintenance at no cost to participants and $2,082 go to the Heart of Riverdale Community Centre for after school and preschool food growing programs.

Council will vote on the grants at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Getting ready for the festive season

The City of Whitehorse could soon be issuing its annual challenge to residents to risk getting a parking ticket ahead of the holiday season.

At Whitehorse city council’s Nov. 7 meeting, acting bylaw manager Kyle Morrison brought forward a proposal that council approve the annual Food For Fines program for the 2022 holiday season.

The annual program sees parking ticket payments donated in the form of cash or food — equal to the value of the ticket — to community organizations.

This year it’s proposed the donations go the Whitehorse Food Bank and Kaushee’s Place women’s shelter as it has in years past, as well as the Skookum Jim Friendship Centre, which provides food and shelter to youth year-round.

It’s also proposed that the initiative be extended from its usual one-week period to two weeks, given the increased demand the food bank is seeing this year.

Tickets issued between Nov. 26 and Dec. 10 would be deemed as eligible for the Food For Fines program.

While the city typically allocates up to $10,000 for the program, with $5,525 received in 2021, council members suggested a higher allocation this year given that it would be extended an extra week.

Council will vote on the program Nov. 14, though a number of council members were vocal in their support.

“We hope you break the law over that time period,” Coun. Kirk Cameron stated in a comment to Whitehorse residents.

Garden suite decisions

City of Whitehorse staff will spend some more time looking at the issue of a garden suite on Sybil Circle after Whitehorse city council sent it back to administration for more work.

The owner of 12 Sybil Circle is asking for a zoning change to allow a garden suite on the property.

First reading of the zoning change was passed in September with a public hearing on the proposal held Oct. 11.

The public hearing report was presented at council’s Nov. 7 meeting with city planner Mathieu Marois detailing concerns that were raised in a written submission that came in along with comments that came from the property owner looking for the zoning change.

Impacts to privacy, the residential character of the area, sunlight and property values were highlighted as concerns. Marois concluded in his report that the addition of a suite isn’t likely to have a major impact on the larger Whistle Bend neighbourhood, but that there could be impacts to adjacent neighbours.

“Administration is therefore recommending to amend the proposed zoning amendment bylaw to limit potential privacy and sunlight impacts on the adjacent properties,” he said.

Under the proposed rezoning, any entryways, doorways and windows would be prohibited from facing the side yard property line in order to maintain the privacy of neighbours.

“Additionally, administration is recommending that the height of a garden suite be restricted to a maximum of six metres, which is consistent with the maximum height permitted for accessory structures, in order to limit sunlight impacts to what is already allowed on the property,” Marois said.

That raised questions for Coun. Dan Boyd who wondered if any analysis of the shadow impact had been done. Others wondered if the property owner had agreed with the six-metre height limit, suggesting if the height limit is kept to six metres, as would be the limit for other accessory structures that could be built within the current zoning, the shadowing impact would not need to be looked at in greater detail.

Council agreed to have administration first speak with the property owner about the possibility of the six-metre height limit before it looks at shadowing impacts.

The rezoning will come back to council after administration looks into those issues.

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

Whitehorse city council