Joel Krahn/Yukon News file Whitehorse City Hall.

Joel Krahn/Yukon News file Whitehorse City Hall.

Whitehorse city council, briefly

Updates on matters before city council on Oct. 26

A look at city issues this week:

Winter reminder

The snow has arrived for another winter and the City of Whitehorse is reminding residents and business owners of its requirements to clear sidewalks.

Under the city’s maintenance bylaw, businesses are required to clear snow and ice from sidewalk and lane crossings by 11 a.m. the day after a snowfall. Businesses with accessible parking spaces are also required to clear snow and ice from those spaces by 11 a.m. the day after a snowfall.

Meanwhile, residents whose property is next to a sidewalk must remove snow and ice from the sidewalks within 48 hours of a snowfall or immediately upon request of a bylaw officer.

“Clearing snow and ice minimizes problems for people trying to move around, particularly those with mobility challenges,” the city noted in a statement.

“When clearing snow and ice from driveways and sidewalks, place the snow at the curb edge or on your property; however, please do not move it onto roadways or private properties other than your own.”

Those not clearing snow and ice as required could be fined up to $250.

$70,000 will be spent on waste water research

The City of Whitehorse will spend $70,000 in gas tax funding for water sampling and assessments over two years to find out what type of contaminants are in the city’s waste water.

Council approved the spending at its Oct. 26 meeting after the recommendation came forward a week earlier.

As Arcadio Rodriguez explained at council’s Oct. 19 meeting, the city’s sewage treatment facility currently meets all water license requirements, but the science of wastewater treatment continues to evolve.

“Emerging contaminants are understood to be present in the city’s wastewater, but systemic testing has not been done to quantify them, and the LTECF (sewage treatment facility) is not designed to treat them,” Rodriguez said. “Regulations are not currently in place, but are expected to be brought forward, starting at the federal level within 10 years.”

The sampling and assessment now being funded for 2020 and 2021 would be the first part of what could be a longer-term plan that could go on to include the conceptual design for a treatment system for the pollutants in 2022, followed by the implementation of a treatment pilot in 2023.

While the city had budgeted $15,000 in both 2020 and 2021 for the sampling and assessment work, more recent quotes estimated that work to be about $35,000 per year and thus the amendment was made.

Fall recreation grants approved

A total of $46,680 will go to a dozen local groups for upcoming programs they’re offering.

Whitehorse city council approved the spending for fall recreation grants at its Oct. 26 meeting.

At the lower end of the scale, $700 will go to the Canadian-Filipino Sports Association of the Yukon for operational costs for programming.

The four groups set to receive the highest amount — $6,000 — include the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon for its Out and About Program, Gwaandak Theatre Society for its Winter Cultural Variety Nights, Learning Disabilities of the Yukon (LDAY) for its Camp Raven and the Yukon Arts Society for its arts and craft programs.

Others set to receive the grants include the Arctic Edge Skating Club, Chickadees Playschool Association, Golden Age Society, Inclusion Yukon, the Canadian Mental Health Association of the Yukon, Whitehorse Curling Club, and the Yukon Film Society for a variety of programs.

Event grants approved

A total of 11 events in Whitehorse will get a financial boost from the city.

At Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 26 meeting, members approved event grants to nearly a dozen groups that will receive a total of $50,000 in cash and $30,355 in-kind through festivals and special events grants for events they are planning to host in 2021.

The largest grant will go to the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Society for its festival scheduled for Feb. 12 to 28, 2021 with Rendezvous to receive $8,500 and in-kind assistance from the city valued at $20,586.

Meanwhile, the All-City Band Society will receive the smallest events grant at $800 for its Music for a Winter’s Eve, scheduled for Dec. 14 and 15, 2021.

Other events to receive funding include Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival; Queer Yukon Society’s Pride Festival; the annual Canada Day celebration hosted by the Whitehorse branch of the Royal Canadian Legion; the Yukon African Music Festival being hosted by the Teenage Life & Young Adults International Society; Heart of Riverdale Community Centre’s CypherFest Street Dance and Music Festival; the Yukon Arts Centre’s Midnight Sun Moppets Children’s Festival; Yukon Film Society’s Available Light Film Festival; the Adäka Cultural Festival hosted by the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association; and Yukon Literacy Coalition’s Family Literacy Day.

Before joining the rest of council voting in favour of awarding the grants, Coun. Steve Roddick commented that it’s good to see plans for a number of events moving forward, particularly at a time when holding such events can be difficult.

Improvement charge bylaw passes first two readings

Whitehorse city council is moving forward with a local improvement charge to a property owner for electricity.

Members passed the first two readings of a bylaw for the charge at its Oct. 26 meeting.

As Brittany Dixon, the city’s manager of financial services, explained in an earlier report that the owners of 24 Harvey Place want to add their garage and a suite onto the electrical grid.

The city has been assisting with the cost of urban properties to tie into the grid since 1989 through its Urban Electrification program, which essentially finances the work and then charges the cost back to the property owner through a local improvement charge.

To be approved, applicants must have title to the property, current taxes must be paid in full and the cost of the work cannot exceed 75 per cent of the assessed property value.

With the property owners having met all the requirements, a bylaw is now required to authorize the local improvements charge, Dixon stated.

Third reading of the bylaw will come forward to council in November.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Whitehorse city council

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