Coun. Dan Boyd questioned the allottment of funds after a request from Whitehorse city staff to reallocate funds for the Robert Service Campground. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Whitehorse council squabbles over Robert Service Campground repairs

‘Is it going to be Disneyland or something?’

A request by Whitehorse city staff to reallocate funds for the Robert Service Campground ignited some debate among council members at the Dec. 4 standing committees meeting.

Council had allotted $125,000 in the 2017 capital budget for repairs to infrastructure at the campground. “Basic repairs” were completed to “ensure operation of the campground washrooms for the 2017 operating season” for $35,000, said Doug Hnatiuk, manager of parks and community development for the city. However, the remainder of the money remains unspent.

“The city recognizes the importance of the Robert Service Campground,” Hnatiuk said. “Given the current state of the existing washroom and office facility, the city proposes significant renovations and facility construction to improve the appearance and functionality of the campground. Consideration is being given to all suitable operational needs of a high profile municipal campground, including the overnight camping opportunities and provisions for enhanced day use.”

Staff would like the city to change the scope of the project so that they can use part of the remaining $90,000 to hire a consultant to do a concept design for a new campground facility. Remaining funds would be used for infrastructure development, said Hnatiuk.

Not everyone was pleased with the idea.

“We’re spending 90 grand on a campground? What … is it going to be Disneyland or something?” asked Coun. Rob Fendrick.

“When I first read this, it really bothered me,” said Coun. Betty Irwin. “We had $90,000 for a few people to pick up hammers and saws to (fix thing up) and now I see ‘Oh, we’re going to hire a consultant?’ Why not use that money to do the actual work?”

Mayor Dan Curtis took issue with Irwin’s statement, however.

“It does have serious infrastructure concerns,” said Curtis. “We’re trying to make it safe and accessible to the public… The infrastructure has deteriorated.”

“It’s more than taking hammers and shovels to fix this.”

Coun. Dan Boyd said he wanted to know how much it would cost for the consultant.

“I think we need to be a little bit clearer about what we’re doing here,” he said.

Hnatiuk said that was unknown, because nothing has gone to tender, but he guessed it would be between $30,000 and $40,000.

“I’m of the mind that we should give you $30,000 then and rebudget the remainder,” Boyd said.

Director of development services Mike Gau said that was not practical, because if a consultant cost more than $30,000 they just would have to come back to ask for more. Additionally, he said, a precise amount of money was not what council was being asked to vote on. The question before council was whether or not to change the scope of the project so that the unused money — which was already allocated for the campground — could be redistributed for this purpose.

Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu agreed with staff and said that the money had already been budgeted for the campground so it wasn’t as if “they were having to go looking for it.”

“I trust (that the staff) are not going to spend a penny more than they need to (for the consultant),” she said.

Curteanu called the campground “a gem in the city that just needs shining up.”

The campground is privately run, but the actual land and infrastructure is city-owned. The lease for that property expires Dec. 31, 2017, said city spokesperson Myles Dolphin.

Contact Lori Fox at lori.fox@yukon-news.com

CORRECTION: This story originally gave an incorrect date for the expiry of the campground lease. The lease expires Dec. 31, 2017.

Just Posted

Yukon government starts talking electoral reform

Yukon government launches survey to find out what Yukoners think about electoral reform

Climate change isn’t a one-issue issue for council candidate

Considering climate change can address other municipal concerns, says Kim Lisgo

Yukon MLAs consider a bigger payday

New bill proposes salary increase for some members of the legislative assembly

Curtis campaigns for third term

Collaboration is key, he says

Commentary: Consider the city’s bears when going to mark your ballot

Those in the municipal election should commit to developing a human-bear conflict management plan

Yukon soccer teams represent at Canada Soccer National Championships U15 Cup

“Everybody brought their game to a totally new level and set a (new) bar”

Commentary: Celebrating Hanksgiving

Instead of a cornucopia centrepiece filled with autumn foods and flora, we use the Wilson volleyball

U Kon Echelon holds weekend mountain bike racing camp in Whitehorse

“It’s incredible the changes I’m seeing from when we started in September to now”

Liberals to scope out ‘efficiencies’ in departments

The premier was asked about ostensible reductions to department budgets at question period

You and your new car warranty

There are some things that may put your new vehicle or extended warranty at risk

Whitecaps, TSE partner for new youth soccer academy centre program

“They’re building on that relationship”

History Hunter: A tribute to the Palace Grand Theatre

It was the best designed and most pretentious of all the theatres in Dawson City

Most Read