Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 24, 2013

Generator may power capital budget upward

The city’s proposed 2013 capital budget may get a boost even before it’s passed.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 24, 2013 at 3:43 pm

photo

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Brian Crist and City Financial Manager Valerie Anderson

The city’s proposed 2013 capital budget may get a boost even before it’s passed.

Council learned Monday night that if funding was secured for a back-up power source at the Canada Games Centre (CGC), it would be added to the proposed $14-million capital budget.

At a press conference Tuesday morning, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency announced it would put $605,000 into a back-up generator for the recreation complex, with the city paying for the remaining $600,000.

“This back-up power source for the CGC is required for a facility of this size that becomes a natural reception centre during an emergency,” city financial manager Valerie Anderson noted in her presentation to council Monday night.

“Also, in the event of a power failure, back-up power is required to allow continued operation to multiple client groups and to maintain the temperature, ventilation, dehumidification and cooling systems to the various areas within the facility.”

It’s expected the generator will have an annual operating cost of approximately $8,600.

Anderson’s presentation also pointed to issues brought forward by the public during the input phase on the capital budget.

While no one spoke out at the feedback session held earlier this month, Anderson’s officials received three emails on the matter.

One asked that money be put into installing another advanced green signal light for those turning left towards the Public Safety Building at Two Mile Hill and Range Road.

The measure would reduce the difficulties many drivers have in making that turn and address safety concerns around the intersection.

The city’s engineering department looked into it.

Initial research – including observing traffic flow and a review of data on accidents there – found the number of collisions small compared to the thousands of vehicles that travel through there each day.

“It was also noted that the four accidents that have occurred at this intersection over the past year were related to rear-end accidents from traffic travelling from Range Road,” Anderson stated in her report.

“Engineering services and bylaw suggested that speed, driver behaviour and red light infractions are contributors to the difficulties at this intersection.

They have suggested while further study is required, this location may lend itself well to a red light camera – which would require Motor Vehicle Act amendments and dedicated capital and operating budget resources.

“Further, engineering services and bylaw have suggested that increased driver education and enforcement by RCMP could help mitigate the problem.”

Responding to questions from Coun. Mike Gladish, Brian Crist, the city’s director of infrastructure and operations, said there would be a cost to putting in an advanced green light, but he did not know the precise figures.

Coun. Kirk Cameron also wondered if the city’s bylaw department could play a role at the intersection.

Crist said officers could likely provide some assistance, and have done similar work in the past. The department is aware of the issues, he noted.

While that submission was focused more at the top of Two Mile Hill, another resident wondered about Wheeler Street.

The resident expressed disappointment that improvements to the road aren’t part of the proposed 2013 capital plan.

“She stresses that she feels potholes, water drainage problems and dust in the area of Seventh Avenue to the clay cliffs should be made a higher priority to bring living conditions up to the level expected in a capital city,” it’s noted.

It’s also noted the engineering department brought forward a number of projects for the Old Town neighbourhood.

Those include a $2.7-million project for the reconstruction and upgrade of Sixth Avenue between Jarvis and Ogilvie streets, with detailed design proposed for this year and construction expected in 2014.

Another project which had been slated for 2012, but didn’t happen due to capacity issues, was design work for the reconstruction of Ogilvie Street west. That $200,000 project is proposed to carry forward into this year.

The city had also considered design work in 2014 for the reconstruction of Alexander Street from Fourth to Sixth Avenue at a cost of $100,000, and spending $250,000 on design work for the reconstruction of Wheeler Street West in 2014. They aren’t included in the proposed four-year budget plan.

In presenting the report, Anderson noted the history involved with Wheeler Street.

In 2010, residents of the street brought forward a petition asking the city to advance construction through the local improvement charge process.

Another petition came forward in 2012. While funding was suggested in the provisional budget for 2014, it was not set out in this year’s documents.

Questioned later in the meeting by Coun. John Streicker, Crist noted he wasn’t sure what percentage of Wheeler Street residents signed the petitions.

“If council wishes to have this project proceed in 2013, the capital budget can be amended, but as a result of operational capacity issues, the Ogilvie project and the Wheeler project should not proceed in the same year,” Anderson stated.

The final issue to come from the public on the budget, directed council to a website to see the efforts aimed at developing a “walking culture”.

It was requested funding for projects focused on walking get a higher priority.

“The suggestion is that park management plans, better public consultation, more trail repair and infrastructure funding and safe highway crossings should all be included in the capital budget,” Anderson stated.

“In addition, the suggestion is that a number of operating budget items such as park and trail staffing and maintenance dollars should be increased.”

In response, it was noted the city has a number of projects proposed in the four-year spending plan aimed at active transportation.

They include spending $1.7 million to widen the Robert Campbell Bridge in and out of Riverdale, $300,000 on asphalt paths throughout the city, $240,000 on implementing the city’s trail plan, $200,000 on paved trail resurfacing, $110,000 on Teegatha Oh-Zheh Park, $65,000 on greenbelt barricades and $450,000 on sidewalks.

“In addition, environmental sustainability, planning services, parks and trails and outreach and events departments are involved in further developing projects that enhance walking and other projects similar to those highlighted in the submission,” states the report.

Coun. Dave Stockdale expressed his disappointment that more people didn’t speak up during the public input session.

He questioned the need to widen the Robert Campbell Bridge, noting it’s a suggestion that’s come up a number of times over the years.

Other things could be done with that money, Stockdale said.

Anderson noted the widening is proposed for pedestrian and cycling traffic. Most of the cash for the work, which can be done relatively quickly, is expected to come out of federal gas tax funding the city receives.

The city is expected to make any amendments to the bylaw next week prior to second and third readings.

CommentsAdd a comment

June Jackson

Jan 24, 2013 at 8:41 pm

The CGC will cost the City 600K. It would be worth it at any cost. 

However, most of the rest of these lofty items service a limited number of people. i.e. Wheeler street services only those living on Wheeler St. 

My personal opinion is..I don’t care..as long as the City does NOT jack my taxes and does not fork out boatloads of money, (6 million taxpayer dollars to Mt. Sima) to privately owned/operated business and limits handouts to associations to help those who help themselves.

What’s this level expected in a capital city BS?  Does that mean, if it were say.. Faro, dirt, drainage and potholes would be ok?

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