Whitehorse formally kills Hillcrest improvement project

The Hillcrest local improvement project was officially put to sleep May 23 by city council.

The Hillcrest local improvement project was officially put to sleep May 23 by city council.

The long-contested projected first began public consultation in 2006. It was voted down by area ratepayers May 9, largely over the issue of the cost of the local improvement charge (LIC), which would have cost induvidual homeowners an average of $15,000.

Under the bylaw, with the LIC rejected, council could wait a year and retable the project as is, proceed without the LIC, or kill the project. Council chose to the final option at the recommendation of city staff.

Coun. Rob Fendrick said he felt the defeat of the project was “unfortunate.” Local improvement charges are common and homeowners who buy new houses pay for the infrastructure costs in the price of the unit, he said.

“I feel these homeowners (in Hillcrest) should pay a portion of their share — it’s a very small portion,” he said.

Fendrick said he worried about how much time it would take before the infrastructure could be upgraded and repaired in Hillcrest, now that the LIC had been defeated.

“We’re cycling into a period of decay for Hillcrest,” he said.

The money, which was earmarked from the federal gas tax — $14 million — will be applied to other projects, said acting city manager Linda Rapp.

“We will be taking a look at a large list of projects and the best way to direct those funds,” she said.

City staff will be reviewing the LIC policy to see why the vote failed and if policy changes need to be made.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com

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