Yukon Party promises to build outdoor sports complex in Whitehorse

The Yukon Party says it will build an outdoor sports complex in Whitehorse if it’s re-elected on Nov. 7.

The Yukon Party says it will build an outdoor sports complex in Whitehorse if it’s re-elected on Nov. 7.

The complex would include two full-sized soccer pitches with artificial turf and an eight-lane, rubberized running track.

Previous attempts by the current government to build a sports complex have been thwarted by Whitehorse city council, which twice voted against a zoning amendment that would have allowed the facility to be built in the Whistle Bend subdivision.

Now, the Yukon Party says it will find a way to build the complex on Yukon government-owned land, which wouldn’t require rezoning by the City of Whitehorse.

The party isn’t saying where that might be.

“There’s a variety of locations, and I don’t think anyone’s picked out a specific location yet,” said Riverdale South candidate Danny Macdonald.

The city councillors who voted against the rezoning, including current Liberal candidate Jocelyn Curteanu, were concerned that the city might end up on the hook for the cost of running the facility. But Macdonald said that won’t happen.

“The government would be looking to fund the operations of it.”

The party estimates construction of the new facility would cost $7.5 million.

Macdonald said a new sports complex would allow the Yukon to bid on major sporting events, including the 2023 Western Canada Summer Games.

The Yukon Party is also promising improvements to recreational facilities in several communities, including the replacement of the ice rink in Carmacks and of the recreation centre in Beaver Creek.

The party also says it will finish work on the Dawson City recreation centre by installing artificial ice and renovating the second floor, a claim that was met with skepticism by Liberal Leader Sandy Silver, who called it an “empty promise.”

Silver pointed out that there was a ground-breaking ceremony for a new recreation centre in Dawson just days before the 2011 election was called, but that centre never came to be.

“Every year when the budget came out, I would look to see if the money was there for a new rec centre, and it never was for five years,” he said.

The Yukon Party believes it can complete the work with the $2.7 million remaining in the existing budget for the project. But Silver said that amount will only cover the artificial ice and related expenses — not the second floor. He said the City of Dawson has estimated the rest of the work would cost $10 million to $15 million, and a new centre would cost $20 million to $30 million at least.

The Yukon Party also says it will continue to support Mount Sima’s early-season training program, and it will expand the Sports School program at F.H. Collins Secondary School to Porter Creek Secondary. The program allows students to spend half their day on sport training and half on academics.

With files from Pierre Chauvin

Contact Maura Forrest at maura.forrest@yukon-news.com

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