Whitehorse city news, briefly

Some of the decisions discussed at the council meeting Oct. 7

Cost of Whitehorse trail plan update could double

The price tag on the city’s update to its 2007 trail plan could double if council members approve a recommendation put forward Oct. 7 by Landon Kulych, the city’s manager of parks and community development.

Kulych outlined a plan that would see another $35,000 come out of the city’s portion of gas tax funding to be added to the $35,000 already in place for the work.

After work got underway to update the plan that’s now more than a decade old it became clear more comprehensive work would be required, he said.

“This document was designed with a 10-year-life span and it no longer adequately reflects Whitehorse’s ever evolving trail network and its uses,” he said. “Between 2007 and now, there has been an increase in trail use, more diverse types of trail users and larger demand for trail services.”

The proposal would take what was going to be an internal process with city departments and add a public consultation component to it to come up with an update trail plan.

Keith Lay, who heads up Active Trails Whitehorse, was quick to urge council to move forward with it.

“This is really needed,” he said, arguing the current plan is out of date and doesn’t reflect the many ways trails are used now.

Lay said he couldn’t think of a better way to use gas tax dollars.

Council will vote on the recommendation at its Oct. 15 meeting.

YG extends Whitehorse Handy Bus agreement

The Yukon government will continue providing funding for the City of Whitehorse Handy Bus, which provides on call transit service to those who aren’t able to use the conventional transit system.

Acting city manager Valerie Braga confirmed at the Oct. 7 council meeting, the agreement with Yukon government to provide 75 per cent of the Handy Bus costs — approximately $225,000 per year — to the end of 2020.

The move comes as the city is working to put into action its 2018 Transit Master Plan, which contemplates changing the Handy Bus system.

Jeff O’Farrell, the city’s director of community and recreation services, said it’s anticipated that changes could be implemented next year, but it is not known exactly when. By January 2021 though, its expected any changes would be in place.

Phase 7 Whistle Bend subdivision comes forward

Whitehorse city council will decide Oct. 15 whether it will approve the subdivision for the seventh phase of the Whistle Bend neighborhood.

Zoning was put in place this year, but this would divide the 9.1 hectares on the northeast side of the area into 90 lots for single detached and duplex homes, a greenbelt, five roads and one lane.

It will be years before the lots in Phase 7 become available as the Yukon government is still working on Phase 4. The first 74 lots were released in September with another lottery for the remaining 119 Phase 4 lots to come. Commercial lots in the neighborhood are expected to be released early next year.

Phase 5 is anticipated to be finished in July 2020 with detailed design for Phase 6 now underway.

Officials are also looking at planning for the three remaining parts of the neighborhood that have not had any planning work done while work continues on the update to the city’s Official Community Plan to look at where the next major site for residential development will be after Whistle Bend is finished.

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