The city could end up spending more than $20 million next year on major capital projects.
That would include planning for a potential new firehall built on the former Motorways trucking site downtown.
The plans were unveiled in the 2018 capital budget which passed first reading at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting.
Outlined is a total of $10.8 million in spending from existing funds and $9.3 million in funding that would be subject to approval from outside sources such as the federal
The budget also shows the capital spending plans to 2021.
It would see the city spend:
• more than $7 million from existing funds and $21.2 million from external funding in 2019;
• more than $8 million from existing funds and $17.1 million from external funding in 2020; and
• $4.2 million from existing funds and $6.8 million from external funding in 2021.
The plans for the firehall were revealed in Mayor Dan Curtis’ capital budget address.
He spoke of the continued focus on construction of the city’s new operations building through 2018
That project will see city staff and equipment move from several sites around town to the new building under construction off Range Road south of Two Mile Hill. It’s budgeted at $55 million over several years.
“The relocation and consolidation of nine downtown buildings will help us become more efficient in offering services to Whitehorse residents, and will free up prime real estate in the downtown and industrial areas,” Curtis said in his five-page speech.
“The city is also in the early stages and planning the demolition of Fire Hall #1, located next to city hall, as well as the Municipal Services Building on Fourth Avenue.
“We are investing $260,000 in 2018 towards environmental assessments that will inform the plan for the future dismantling, demolition and cleaning up of both sites.
“Fire Hall #1 has run its course and we are in the early stages of planning for the future services building that will eventually take its place.
“We are also investing $250,000 next year for the design and construction contracts to redevelop the Motorways property on Black Street to meet the needs of a downtown fire station for at least the next 20 years.”
Speaking to reporters after last night’s meeting, Curtis said assessments have established the need for a fire hall in the downtown area for faster access to Riverdale. That neighbourhood has the highest number of fire calls.
Curtis said the proposed location for a new firehall will allow fire trucks to access Black Street and Front Street instead heading out directly onto Second Avenue, which he
described as the “Autobahn of the Yukon.”
The location of the current fire station next to city hall on Second Avenue means that fire trucks are often backing in and out of the station on the busiest street in the city.
He noted another major focus for the city is on infrastructure.
$3.2 million reconstruction
There is $3.2 million proposed in 2018 for the reconstruction of Alexander Street east of Fourth Avenue as well as $80,000 to finish up landscaping on Black Street. “In keeping with our commitment to address safety concerns and improve traffic flow, we are investing $33,000 to add a protected left-turn signal at the busy intersection of the Alaska Highway and Robert Service Way,” Curtis said.
“Solutions for this location were suggested by the public, council and city transportation crews.”
A further $25,000 would be directed at purchasing materials like curbing, traffic posts, speed humps and other such items for calming traffic in an effort to reduce collisions
and complaints about speeding.
The city would also spend $2.2 million over the four-year spending plan for fleet purchases.
In his speech, Curtis acknowledged the importance of parks and trails to Whitehorse residents.
“As the Wilderness City, we hold dear active lifestyles and our proximity to the great outdoors,” he said. “We are committing $375,000 to improve our trails, parks and
A total of $80,000 would be directed to park and trail amenities in Whistle Bend – dog bag dispensers, benches and signs, picnic tables and the like; with $65,000 identified for upgrades to playground equipment in Cowley Creek and Hidden Valley.
“After consulting with the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee to identify accessibility issues and existing hazards in our downtown parks, we set aside $25,000 to
carry out repair work such as eliminating tripping hazards on our curbs,” Curtis said.
Among a long list of projects that would be dependent on external funding are:
• odour mitigation work at the Livingstone Trail Lagoon;
• a replacement of software for fire and bylaw computer-aided dispatch;
• bus repairs;
• the addition of new transit shelters and benches;
• upgrades to the landfill fencing and signage;
• a new stock of compost and waste carts; and
• planning work for the expansion of Grey Mountain Cemetery.
“These are only a small sample of some of the important projects waiting for external funding,” the mayor noted.
“We continue to work hand-in-hand with our territorial and federal funding partners.
“We value and appreciate that funding we receive from our government partners. Without this funding, we wouldn’t be able to move forward on important community projects.”
Curtis emphasized the efforts of the city to have the proposed capital budget out as early as possible so that contractors and suppliers can prepare for upcoming projects they may want to bid on.
“The City of Whitehorse prides itself on being a progressive community, one that is fiscally responsible and transparent,” he said.
“The 2018 capital budget responds to the needs of the community and follows our long-term plans and policies.”
With council passing first reading on the spending plan, a public input session will be held Nov. 27 during the council meeting.
A report to the public input will then come forward Dec. 4, with second and third readings then coming forward a week later.
Residents are also invited to provide input on the budget by email at firstname.lastname@example.org