Yukon government out of touch with local infrastructure needs, says Whitehorse councillor

The Yukon government needs to do a better job of taking into account the infrastructure needs of communities, according to a Whitehorse city councillor.

The Yukon government needs to do a better job of taking into account the infrastructure needs of communities, according to a Whitehorse city councillor.

Betty Irwin made the statement at Monday evening’s council meeting, where she proposed to replace a resolution destined for the Association of Yukon Communities’ upcoming annual general meeting.

Last month, city council voted in favour of using the meeting as a platform to ask the territorial government some important questions.

One of them was a resolution for the AYC to engage with the Yukon government to ensure that municipal priorities are reflected when infrastructure investments are considered.

On Monday, Irwin proposed to replace the resolution entirely with a more beefed-up version.

The new one also calls for the AYC to request the Yukon government to check in with municipalities and their infrastructure wish lists on an annual basis.

It also asks the Yukon government to respect the budget timelines of municipalities when finalizing the territory’s infrastructure plan.

Irwin said infrastructure needs in the territory aren’t always taken into consideration.

“When municipalities put in their priority lists, the Yukon government doesn’t always recognize them,” she said.

“The municipalities have been left hanging on this. They submit a wish list and it’s ‘Gee, too bad, you didn’t get your wish, here’s something else.’

“We’re asking the government to tighten that up a bit.”

The AYC’s upcoming annual general meeting takes place from May 12-15 in Watson Lake.

Three other resolutions from Whitehorse city council, passed last month, will be presented at the meeting.

One of them encourages the Yukon government to develop and implement an electronics recycling program.

Yukon consumers currently pay a surcharge on certain products, including beverage containers and tires, at the time of purchase.

Those extra fees help cover the costs of recycling those products. But there is no program in place to cover the costs of transporting and processing electronic waste out of the territory.

Another resolution calls for the Yukon government to provide more clarity when it comes to implementing a hotel tax.

In December, the territory’s Municipal Act underwent several changes, including amendments to the section on the powers of municipal governments to levy taxes and other fees.

But it remains unclear whether Yukon municipalities have the authority to charge a hotel tax under the amended act, according to the city’s administrative report.

City council will vote on Irwin’s resolution at next week’s meeting.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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