Whitehorse residents cry foul over accessibility issues

Two Whitehorse residents are asking the City of Whitehorse to improve its softball facilities and make them more accessible to people with mobility issues.

Two Whitehorse residents are asking the City of Whitehorse to improve its softball facilities and make them more accessible to people with mobility issues.

Bonnie Dalziel and Dianne Williams addressed members of council at last night’s meeting.

They explained how difficult it is for people in wheelchairs to watch softball games at both the Pepsi Softball Centre and the Robert Service fields.

For example, it’s nearly impossible to get from the parking lot to the concession stand at the Pepsi Softball Centre, Williams said.

“We were watching a game the other day and we were embarrassed that we had to leave the complex to use the washroom,” she said.

Chains at the Robert Service fields, meant to keep vehicles in the parking lot and off the fields, also prevent mobility-challenged people from getting to the bleachers, they said.

Other recommendations to council included the addition of a designated gender-neutral accessible bathroom at the Pepsi Softball Centre, a designated handicap parking spot and extra seating for caregivers with friends in wheelchairs.

As it stands, softball fans in wheelchairs have to sit behind the umpire at the Pepsi Softball Centre, and there are no extra seats there.

Dalziel and Williams challenged members of council to go to the facility and try to manoeuvre in a wheelchair themselves, to see what it’s really like.

Councillor Dave Stockdale asked the delegates if they had approached Softball Yukon, the society that manages both fields, about the issues.

Dalziel said she had, but never received a response from them.

“I don’t need a wheelchair but most friends that I’m referring to are in them, and they just give up,” she added.

Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu said she’d provide a list of the recommendations to PDAC, the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee.

The accessibility issues were brought up “serendipitously,” Williams said, on the same night council was scheduled to review Softball Yukon’s new lease for the fields.

The non-profit society has operated the Pepsi Softball Centre since 1983 and the Robert Service fields since 1987.

Both were under 30-year leases. City administration is recommending the leases be rolled into one 10-year lease.

In 1986, city council passed a resolution to exempt the society from paying any water or sewer charges for the Pepsi Softball Centre.

Since the properties at the Robert Service fields have never been assessed for property taxes by the Yukon government, Softball Yukon hasn’t had to pay property taxes for them.

Softball Yukon receives annual municipal grants to cover the maintenance costs for the Pepsi Softball Centre. The 2014 grants totaled $22,776 while the 2015 grants totaled $21,724.

Under the new lease agreement, the society would continue to receive annual municipal grants.

Pat Ross, manager of planning and building services for the City of Whitehorse, said that while the lease agreement with the society contains a requirement to keep the facilities clean and safe, it doesn’t “go into the specifics of looking at aspects of accessibility.”

“Putting down a strip of asphalt comes with a cost,” he said.

“It’s not something that right now is a code requirement, but we’ve had some discussions with Softball Yukon about making sure the bleachers are up to code.”

Coun. Mike Gladish asked Ross whether it would be possible to give nearly-expiring leases to PDAC, for them to examine and provide input on. Ross said it was.

The lease agreement bylaw is scheduled to come back to council for first reading next week.

Contact Myles Dolphin at


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

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

A cyclist rides along the Millenium Trail in downtown Whitehorse on a frigid Feb. 9. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of an e-bike bylaw that would designate how e-bike riders can use city trails. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
First two readings passed on Whitehorse e-bike bylaw

Delegate calls on city to consider age restrictions and further regulations

Whitehorse City Hall at its Steele Street entrance. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Change of plans approved for city hall

Project would see 1966 city hall demolished

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Most Read