Whistle Bend still on track

Despite problems with some of the underground infrastructure, the new Whistle Bend subdivision is still on track, says Pat Malloy, the director of land development services for the Yukon government.

Despite problems with some of the underground infrastructure, the new Whistle Bend subdivision is still on track, says Pat Malloy, the director of land development services for the Yukon government.

The problems were surprising but all relatively minor in nature, he said.

“I’ve been doing projects for 25 years and I don’t believe I’ve ever had one project that hasn’t had some deficiencies.”

The problems were uncovered once the government sent cameras down to check the underground pipes.

A few faulty connections were identified and the slope of some of the pipes was off, allowing water to settle in areas where it shouldn’t.

The sewer and water system can still operate, but if these things aren’t fixed now the city will have to dig those areas up in the future, said Malloy.

The problems came to the fore last week, when Liberal Leader Sandy Silver brought them up in the legislature.

He questioned the government’s competency, arguing that in the interest of getting lots to the market, the government, which is the developer of the subdivision, rushed the project and caused these problems.

The deficiencies have stopped the city from taking ownership of some of the infrastructure, said Silver.

In some cases that’s true. However, the city has taken over ownership of many of the roads and subsurface infrastructure, which have problems, said Malloy.

The Yukon government has identified them and has a year to fix them, he said.

Whistle Bend’s water pump and the lift station are another story, though.

The city is currently operating and maintaining both facilities, but it won’t be taking ownership of them until a proper SCADA system is installed, said Brian Crist, the city’s director of operations and infrastructure.

SCADA is the electronic monitoring system for the city’s water and sewer lines. It also allows the city to operate the stations remotely.

When the plans were drawn up for the two stations, the city was in the middle of reviewing the SCADA requirements. The contract for the system couldn’t be awarded until that was finished, which is why it was delayed, said Malloy.

Everything should be up and running by February, but the city could take it over before that, he said.

This isn’t the first time the Whistle Bend subdivision has experienced problems.

When construction of the first phase of the subdivision began, it soon became obvious the design was flawed.

The contour mapping that shaped the original designs was done from aerial photos and when the groundwork got underway the soil conditions were found to be not quite as favourable as originally thought.

To ensure proper drainage, trees had to be cleared and hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of soil and gravel brought in to raise up road and lot levels.

The Yukon government is now embroiled in a lawsuit with a Whistle Bend contractor, Norcope Enterprises, over how that $2.1-million worth of extra work was awarded.

Even the legal problems haven’t caused any delays.

A lottery for the first phase was held in September. All seven of the duplex lots were snapped up, but only 26 of the 90 single-family lots received bids.

In the end, only 10 of those sales actually closed, along with one of five multifamily lots.

The remaining lots are still for sale and next phase is set to go up next year.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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