To review or not to review, that’s the municipal question

Community Services Minister Archie Lang may not want to open up the Yukon Municipal Act, but Yukon Party candidate Mike Nixon is willing to.

Community Services Minister Archie Lang may not want to open up the Yukon Municipal Act, but Yukon Party candidate Mike Nixon is willing to.

Nixon has distributed letters of support to Black Street residents, many of whom are frustrated with the voting rules applied to a proposed local improvement charge.

Citing the municipal act, the city will only count physical votes against the proposal. If a majority of eligible Black Street residents oppose the idea, it will be defeated. But, in an unusual twist, if residents stay home, those missing ballots will be considered an endorsement of the local-improvement project, which will cost each homeowner up to $11,000.

In the Black Street project to improve underground pipes and the road, curbs and sidewalks above, 50 ballots were issued.

Of that 50, 38 per cent – or 19 votes – were against, 16 votes were in support of the project and the remaining 15 votes were not received.

It is clear the voting rules could be done better, says Nixon.

And so, barring some other solution, the rules laid out by the act should be reviewed, he adds.

“Opening up the act might be one of the solutions, but there might be another solution that’s equally as effective. But at the end of the day, if there’s no other solution and it means we have to open up the act to address that one concern, then we need to open up the act and address that one concern.”

However, opening the act is something Lang is reluctant to do.

While he refused comment, in the legislature this fall he cited an ongoing territory-wide review, Our Towns, Our Future, to address any concerns with the act.

But that is not the intention of the review.

“That’s not the mandate of this committee at all, the municipal act,” says executive director of the Association of Yukon Communities John Pattimore.

“Of course it’s related to how municipalities operate, but only if we hear something … I would imagine the committee would make some recommendations on it.”

The Municipal Fiscal Framework Review Committee is conducting the review, and its focus is municipal finances, says Pattimore, one of AYC’s committee representatives. Yukon government officials also have seats on the committee.

The committee has finished touring all Yukon communities, except Whitehorse.

So far, not much has been heard about the act, says Pattimore.

Nixon’s and the committee’s proposal to only open and change specific sections of the municipal act is the wrong approach, says NDP Leader and Whitehorse Centre candidate Liz Hanson.

“I believe it is time for a complete review of the municipal act, not an ad-hoc quick fix,” says Hanson.

It is something she claims she has been saying for years.

The court case about Marianne Darragh’s attempt to hold a referendum on developments near McLean Lake in 2008 marked the beginning of the end of public engagement and participation on a municipal level, which is something that must also be reviewed, says Hanson.

However, it is only the voting on local improvement charges that Nixon is interested in reviewing at this time, he says.

If elected, it is something he will begin working on immediately, he says.

“Obviously it’s at the attention of the party now, and it’s at the attention of the minister. We’ll just have to see what happens after December 13th and I’ll go to work at it then.”

The Whitehorse public meeting for the Our Towns, Our Future review will be at the public library on Monday at 7 p.m.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon government puts $530k towards Gladue report pilot project

Three-year pilot project will train people to write Gladue reports for Indigenous offenders

Greyhound cleared to end routes in Yukon, northern B.C.

Company says ridership on nine routes has dropped 30 per cent in last five years

Yukon Quest wraps up with awards banquet

Commando and Dutch win Golden Harness Award, juicy steaks

Tagish dog owner says she surrendered, euthanized 10 dogs

Animal health unit, however, says only 8 dogs have been surrendered in 2018

No Resource Gateway construction work this season, YG says

‘We’re not as advanced as we would have liked to have been but we still are advancing’

Former Whitehorse RCMP officer gets conditional discharge for sexual assault

Judge Richard Scheider sided with the defence’s argument that conditional discharge was appropriate

Tagish dog rescue owner asks court to change dog surrender order

Shelley Cuthbert is asking for changes to an order requiring her to surrender 10 dogs per month

Dangerous offender hearing underway for former Yukon man who sexually abused 13 girls

The man pleaded guilty to sexually abusing 13 girls over seven years in the Yukon, B.C. and Ontario

Team Yukon has strong showing at Whistler Super Youth and Timber Tour

‘Anwyn absolutely destroyed the competition’

Yukon skier turns in personal best at Junior World Championships

‘It was another great international racing experience’

Most Canadians believe journalism plays critical role in democracy: poll

Survey suggests 94 per cent of Canadians feel journalism plays ‘important’ part

Yukon child care deal to fund grandparents, courses for caregivers

‘How this is completely going to look, we’re still working on’

Most Read