Whitehorse mayor says operations building tender ‘is a go’

Whitehorse city council agreed to put the long-debated, long-awaited operations building to tender at an April 24 meeting.

Whitehorse city council agreed to put the long-debated, long-awaited operations building to tender at an April 24 meeting.

The decision included the proposed transit addition, which required a budget increase of $9.2 million, $600,000 of which the city will pay for from the building reserve fund. The remaining $8.6 million will come from the gas tax.

Some councillors expressed concerns about how quickly the decision to add on the expansion had been made. Coun. Dan Boyd called the transit expansion “a last minute decision.”

“I have been contemplating for a year almost on how I was going to vote tonight,” said Boyd. “To move from a $45-million project to a $55-million project this quick … I think we’re just moving too quick.”

“We should step back to think about this. I’m struggling, though, because we need to do this.”

“I’m not too keen to spend so much money right now,” said Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu. But she said she didn’t want to put the project off and see the price tag increase later. “I have a hard time finding why we shouldn’t go ahead with this.”

“This project has to go ahead and go ahead at this time,” said Coun. Robert Fendrick.

Coun. Samson Hartland said the city was “doubling down” on the project by investing so much money in a building that does not offer a monetary return and agreeing to triple the net debt.

“In my mind it’s not a question of if, but rather when we will need to increase taxes to accommodate this,” he said.

An additional $412,000 was also allotted to pay for the additional design and consulting necessary to add the transit expansion to the existing operations building design. Boyd called the extra design cost “too expensive for what we’re getting.”

“Some of this extra cost may have been avoided if the city had planned on including the transit garage in the original design,” said Boyd. “Having to add it to the design contract after the design is 90 per cent complete is not a desirable situation.”

Peter O’Blenes, director of infrastructure and operations, countered that “the cost has been negotiated and includes on-site design consultation.… It’s less than the original cost per square foot.”

The increased design cost for the expansion includes adding a transit bay and a wash bay, storage bays for buses, an addition to the previously proposed administration wing into the original design, and increased inspection costs due to the larger size of the building, staff said.

The proposed expansion is “still conditional” on getting gas tax money, said Mayor Dan Curtis. However, Curtis said he doesn’t expect any problems with getting the money or its approval at council, and that the project “is a go.”

“Even though we may have money coming from the heavens, we still have to slow down and show where it’s coming from,” he said. “Essentially, it’s all but done.”

Mike Gau, director of development services, said the city will begin writing its tender agreements to include the expansion before a final decision by council, because the construction season is short and city staff want to be able to go to tender as soon as possible.

The final decision to increase the project’s budget is scheduled for May 8.

At this stage, the final vote is really a formailty, said Curtis.

“This has been 20 years in the coming,” he said.

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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two people walk up the stairs past an advance polling sign at the Canda Games Centre on April 4. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
April 12 is polling day: Here’s how to vote

If in doubt, electionsyukon.ca has an address-to-riding tool

Yukon Party leader Currie Dixon addressing media at a press conference on April 8. The territorial election is on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Currie Dixon and the Yukon Party platform

A closer look at the party leader and promises on the campaign trail

Yukon NDP leader Kate White, surrounded by socially distanced candidates, announces her platform in Whitehorse on March 29. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Getting to know Kate White and the Yukon NDP Platform

A detailed look at the NDP platform and Kate White’s leadership campaign this election

Crystal Schick/Yukon News
Sandy Silver announces the territorial election in Whitehorse. Silver is seeking a second term as premier and third term as Klondike MLA. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Getting to know Sandy Silver and the Yukon Liberal platform

Yukon Liberal Leader Sandy Silver is vying for a second term as… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
This week at city hall

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its April 6 meeting.

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks to media in Whitehorse on October 30, 2020. Hanley is now encouraging Yukon to continue following health regulations, noting it could still be some time before changes to restrictions are made. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
No active COVID cases in Yukon

Hanley highlights concerns over variants, encourages vaccinations

Most Read