Yukoners share their thoughts on Whitehorse’s capital budget

Concerns include wildlife and wildfire preparedness

The outdoors were top-of-mind for those who spoke during the public hearing for feedback on the capital budget recently released by the City of Whitehorse.

Heather Ashthorn, the executive director of WildWise Yukon, has spoken to council many times in 2018 about using bearproof garbage bins. She said she noticed the budget has no line item for those bins.

Ashthorn said the bins are something she wants to see, either in the capital or operating budget, as well as a commitment from the city to work with WildWise and Environment Yukon on the issue of bear/human conflict.

She said she thinks Whistle Bend is the perfect neighbourhood in which to roll out a program, and that the neighbourhood association there has expressed interest in such a program.

“I think you don’t want to be sitting in those seats if somebody is mauled by a food-conditioned bear within the city. It happens. It’s happened in other jurisdictions. It’s horrifying when it does happen. We can fix this problem before it does,” she said.

Margaret Nefstead, a resident of Riverdale, said she was worried about a lack of provision in the budget for dealing with planning an evacuation of the city.

She said that, walking the trails in her neighbourhood, she often comes across former fires. In one case, she said, she called the fire department about an abandoned fire that had been left smouldering and still burning in underground roots.

She pointed to the fires in Paradise, California, and the fact that Whitehorse has experienced dry summers in recent years.

“I think that we are in danger and it’s very important that the city put expertise and attention and all kinds of thought and care into figuring out the best way for us to get out of here if we need to.”

Bill Klassen, with FireSmart Whitehorse, said that he supported the city’s proposal to spend $200,000 on fuel abatement in 2019. He further suggested moving forward any unspent funds from 2018 fuel reduction (which total $350,000) into 2019.

Keith Lay, with Active Trails Whitehorse, said the group is questioning a $20,000 snow machine for parks and trails.

“We think this seems to be a rather expensive snow machine given that the research indicates that the most expensive gas-powered snow machine ranges around $15,000 or $15,500,” he said.

Lay went on to suggest a Canadian-made, electric-powered snow machine. He said its cost is $20,000, but that it would represent a cost savings over the long term.

Lay also brought up the $75,000 being allocated over the next four years to trail plan implementation.

He cited the 2007 trail plan, which was a 10-year plan to guide trail development over the following decade. A new trail plan has not yet been developed or approved, Lay said. He wanted to know how city staff arrived at a figure of $75,000, and when residents might expect to see the process begin that will lead to a new trail plan for the next 10 years.

Second and third readings of the capital budget are expected to take place Dec. 10.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

Capital BudgetWhitehorse city council

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

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse staff will report back to city council members in three months, detailing where efforts are with the city’s wildfire risk reduction strategy and action plan for 2021 to 2024. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Council adopts wildfire risk reduction plan

Staff will report on progress in three months

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 25, 2020

Ivan, centre, and Tennette Dechkoff, right, stop to chat with a friend on Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. Starting Dec. 1 masks will be mandatory in public spaces across the Yukon in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Keith Lay speaks at a city council meeting on Dec. 4, 2017. Lay provided the lone submission to council on the city’s proposed $33 million capital spending plan for 2021 on Nov. 23, taking issue with a number of projects outlined. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Resident raises issues with city’s capital budget

Council to vote on budget in December

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

Most Read