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Two Mile Hill gets the heaves

Every winter the silty material underneath Two Mile Hill freezes and then thaws in the spring, causing cracks in the asphalt.

Every winter the silty material underneath Two Mile Hill freezes and then thaws in the spring, causing cracks in the asphalt.

And every summer road crews, employed by Whitehorse, fix the breaks.

The road has a design flaw, said city engineering manager Wayne Tuck.

When the Yukon government first built the road in 1992, it was not constructed to city standards, which require at least two metres of material that isn’t susceptible to frost, Tuck said Tuesday.

“It’s a wet, silty material. When it freezes it heaves up and causes distortions in the road.

“The city is basically reconstructing some parts of Two Mile Hill that have failed.”

Last year the city overlaid new asphalt at the bottom of the hill.

Now Whitehorse is paying Skookum Asphalt Ltd. $700,000 for downtown road improvements, including a rebuild at the top part of Two Mile Hill, causing traffic delays on one of the city’s downtown arteries.

“We were trying to avoid the major excavation, but it just kept on failing, so eventually we’ve had to do something,” said Tuck.

Most of the work was expected to be finished by Tuesday afternoon, with “spot repairs” continuing until the weekend, said Tuck.

The road will be shut down again over the weekend while Skookum lays fresh asphalt, he said.

Skookum will run “perforated sub drains” deep in the roadbed, to allow an underground spring easier flow.

“There’s a groundwater issue up at that point too,” said Tuck.

“We’re adding some catch basins and reinstalling some catch basins, to try and catch more of the surface water when it rains and divert it into storm sewers.

“We’ve found that, because of the grade of the road and some of the flash floods we’re getting, we’re getting water running all over the road and it’s causing a safety hazard.” (GM)

Restaurant apologizes for guide-dog error

Blind people and their guide dogs are now welcome inside Tokyo Sushi.

Last month, The News reported that blind Crown prosecutor Samantha Oruski was turned away at the trendy downtown Whitehorse restaurant because she wanted her guide dog, Gilbert, to join her for dinner.

 Oruski was with her boyfriend, Steve, who is also legally blind and also had a working dog at his side.

The couple was told they were not welcome inside the restaurant accompanied by their dogs.

Restaurant staff suggested the dogs be tied outside or that the couple could buy take-out sushi.

Under the Yukon’s human rights legislation businesses have a duty to accommodate those who require a working dog.

While such discrimination could lead to fines or police action in most southern Canadian jurisdictions, Oruski’s only recourse was to file a complaint with the Yukon Human Rights Commission.

Last week, the commission announced a resolution to the conflict had been reached.

Tokyo Sushi assured Oruski and the commission that management will instruct its staff to welcome people with certified guide dogs, said Tim Thielmann, from the human rights commission.

“They also made an assurance that this type of incident would not happen again,” said Thielmann.

The restaurant has offered Oruski an apology and will give her a $100 gift certificate for a restaurant of her choosing, he added. (TQ)

Volunteers needed

for AIDS awareness

Tracey Wallace is calling all staplers.

A volunteer activist, who has lived in AIDS-stricken Sub-Saharan Africa, Wallace is joining with a small team of local volunteers today to plant flags in Shipyards Park as part of a cross-Canada day of awareness for HIV/AIDS.

And she needs help.

“If we can make even a few people more aware, then it will be worth it,” said Wallace, who will attend an international HIV/AIDS conference in Toronto in two weeks.

The 8,000 pennants Wallace hopes to use in assembling one giant white flag depicting a red AIDS ribbon represent the number of victims who die from the disease every day around the world.

More than 800 of the pennants bear AIDS symbols drawn by students from Whitehorse schools.

A similar installation will appear in seven Canadian municipalities from Thursday until Saturday.

The Victoria International Development Education Association organized the campaign.

The Whitehorse piece should be finished in time for the Fireweed Community Market, which assembles every Thursday in Shipyard’s Park.

Home Hardware donated materials for the “memory flags,” which will help offset the park’s rental fee.

The flag display is not meant to be a fundraising event. (GM)