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News archive for February 4, 2014

Trail would link Hillcrest with downtown area

A $100,000 contribution from the city along with Yukon government funding could provide a pedestrian connection along the Alaska Highway across from Hillcrest Drive to the airport trails, then link to downtown.

By Stephanie Waddell on February 4, 2014 at 3:48 pm


Photo by Whitehorse Star

Wayne Tuck

A $100,000 contribution from the city along with Yukon government funding could provide a pedestrian connection along the Alaska Highway across from Hillcrest Drive to the airport trails, then link to downtown.

At Monday’s city council meeting, city engineer Wayne Tuck brought forward a recommendation that the city make a budget amendment for the work, with the $100,000 to come from the city’s federal gasoline tax funding share, provided the territory contributes money as well.

The proposal comes after the Hillcrest Community Association commissioned a design for the commuter path last year.

Under the proposal, the association would continue to manage the construction of the path.

“The association has applied for funding through the (territorial) Community Development Fund (CDF), similar to what the Crestview Community Association did for their neighbourhood in 2011,” Tuck said.

The entire Hillcrest project is estimated at $404,000. Along with the $100,000, the community association has asked for $200,000 from the CDF and $101,000 from the Yukon government through the Department of Highways and Public Works or the airport authority, with the association to contribute $3,000 in-kind.

“As of this date, no funding from (the Yukon government) nor CDF has been proposed, but should the funding be confirmed, then it is proposed the City of Whitehorse and the Hillcrest Community Association would enter into a written agreement that would see the city providing the funds necessary for its contribution equivalent to 25 per cent of the total costs of the project and to commit our staff to oversee the project and to be responsible for future maintenance similar to what the city does with other paths throughout the city,” Tuck noted in his report to council.

While council won’t vote on the proposal until next week’s meeting, during discussion last night, members appeared in support of the paved path.

“This is going to help us connect (from Copper Ridge and Granger to the downtown),” Coun. John Streicker said, referring to a number of commuter paths throughout the community.

Meanwhile, Coun. Betty Irwin would like to see efforts go even further.

After commending the community association for its work on the proposed path, she said, she’d like to see some sort of pedestrian crossing from the entrance to the neighbourhood across the highway to what will be the commuter path.

As Tuck noted, there is currently a study on the highway corridor being done by the territory that’s exploring a number of issues.

The issue of pedestrian safety along the highway will likely be looked at.

He also cited the city’s sustainability plan in his report.

“Not extending the path will negatively impact the sustainability goals of the city and would be against the wishes of many neighbourhoods who have shown support for its construction,” he said.

Mayor Dan Curtis and Coun. Kirk Cameron were absent from Monday’s meeting.

CommentsAdd a comment


Feb 4, 2014 at 4:32 pm

The trail would, presumably have a couple traffic circles if Tuck is involved.

Max Mack

Feb 4, 2014 at 5:38 pm

+$400,000. After the inevitable cost over-runs, this will be a cool half million or more.

Even if the entire project cost was covered by grants from the Feds or YTG, the City will simply depreciate the asset—which means our taxes will have to go up yet again.

Enough is enough is enough. Just say no to this insane cycle of spend and tax.


Feb 4, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Almost half a million bucks for a walking path??!  What is going on with this town?  I wonder who the ‘consultants’ will be?  I can just imagine there are the usual suspects lining up to design the path and hold public consultation for half that money.
What a joke!  A crew of 3 could put in a 2 km trail in a week.  Easily.

I am so sick of the porking that goes on in Whitehorse.

charles meyer

Feb 4, 2014 at 6:56 pm

If I read this right it is a Walking Trail for Pedestrians. What a Joke alright. I am sure the cyclists will make good use of it. So they are not only a Danger to Drivers now they are also a Danger for Pedestrians.

north of 60

Feb 4, 2014 at 10:40 pm

“negatively impact the sustainability goals of the city “

“Sustainability” is another one of those greenwashed buzzwords the City loves to use. Is that supposed to make us believe they know what they’re doing?
The “Sustainability” excuse gave us Wasteland Bend, traffic circles where they don’t work, a half million dollar machine to make contaminated compost rot faster at the dump, Mt Sima grants instead of fixing potholes, etc… ad nauseum.  ...and we still have the potholes, all over town.
The “Sustainability” excuse gave us residential tipping fees at the dump.  Since then the accumulation of residential junk discarded in the bush has become significant.  What is “Mr. Sustainability” doing about that?

Be specific. No more BS buzzwords. 
We’re not going to take it anymore.

Start being accountable and transparent with all the tax money we give you; that includes federal and territorial money from the taxpayers of Canada.


Feb 5, 2014 at 8:56 am

Why are there always groups and people that need these big expensive projects?
The cost of living is getting so high here. Taxes always going up, the utilities are always going up. It is very easy to get around Whitehorse with out spending more money on trails. If this is supposed to be the wilderness city why must we have paved trails? Use the wilderness trail, the dirt one that is already there.

simple solution

Feb 5, 2014 at 2:28 pm

How about hillcrest residents do some fundraising, then a 5 percent property tax increase for residents of hillcrest until the entire cost of the project is paid. Problem solved, I am all for this “path to nowhere” under these conditions


Feb 5, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Is it just me or do other people believe the trail planning involves a lot of non planning.

The city wants to reduce vehicle traffic and encourage commuting which is fine. It also wants to reduce greenhouse gases but at the same time its planning has many deficits.
The answer in my mind is to slow down, listen to people and plan carefully regardless of where the money is coming from.
Also, please plan carefully so our greenbelts and quiet places remain intact.


Feb 5, 2014 at 4:30 pm

For goodness sake, one just needs to cross the highway and walk on the dirt trail around the airport fence.


Feb 6, 2014 at 9:17 am

There is currently a trail (actually many) from Copper Ridge and Granger that lead down through Hillcrest, you cross the highway, take the path around the airstrip fence, and down the Black Street stairs.  Save the money and use the existing way around!


Feb 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Not one comment here is for this trail. If you look at the likes and dislikes you can tell there are very few people that actually want It. I would hope that this inept COW has enough common sense to see that and not waste a minute longer on it.


Feb 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Maybe it would be best to make this a multiuse trail if it’s paved.

People could then use scooters and atvs and skidoos for their commuting. It would mean less vehicles on the road and quicker access to the downtown area- it would be fun as well as offer opportunities for alternate transportation vehicles.


Feb 6, 2014 at 8:05 pm

Seems to me it’s a kneejerk reaction to complain about the expense of a public project. Trails should be considered part of the infrastructure for a city. Where I grew up we could walk for miles and miles on sidewalks, get anywhere we wanted very comfortably, choose not to take the bus and instead take the scenic route.

Whitehorse is different, the topography, geography and the population makes things more expensive, and pedestrians aren’t really accommodated.

I agree with Frank, that the planning leaves something to be desired. Partly I think because of the blowback from the public, the trails tend to be rudimentary, with not a lot of thought given to aesthetics and in many cases, not enough attention to the quality of the construction.

I’m a taxpayer and I don’t begrudge money being spent on projects that benefit the public. We do need to encourage alternative transportation. I would still like to walk more but the environment (from where I live) isn’t very enticing for that. That is, to do errands on foot (get where you need to go) as opposed to recreational walking, where you can choose your route.


Feb 6, 2014 at 9:42 pm

@ all previous posters, I agree, but you missed the later coming of a skywalk over the Alaska Highway! Of course a pedestrian traffic circle would be needed at each end to accomodate all the users!

bobby bitman

Feb 6, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Yukoner, I was thinking the exact same thing you said:  no enthusiasm for this project whatsoever.  Why not?  It is not because we do not want walking paths in my opinion.

I think the tax payers of Whitehorse are thoroughly fed up with being hosed by paying solid gold prices for what should be very simple fare.  Mt. Sima and their $90,000 a year multiple managers is still fresh on my mind.  To make matters worse, we never got clear answers on where all the money went.

Sick of it all!  This strikes me as another boondoggle for the hangers on who cultivate relationships in Whitehorse in order to get massively over paid contracts ‘planning and consulting’ for in this case, a walking path!  You just know that the lion’s share of the money is going to the wrong people and not to the actual path.  We already have a planning department, so get on it and do the work yourself, COW!  No multi-hundred thousand for ‘consultants’.  Start there.

Then start telling us why this is so bloody expensive.  I want to see the budget, now, before it is passed and spent.  I know how to build trails, I know what they cost, and this price is OBSCENE!


Feb 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Think of how much easier things will be for the junkies and addicts to do B and E’s in Hillcrest.

bobby bitman

Feb 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm

CJ I am fully supportive of trail building in the Whitehorse area.  I think every highway improvement in the Yukon for that matter should involve creating a trail/bicycle path 30 feet away from the pavement but running alongside the highway.

My issue is the half million dollar price tag (with the inevitable 20% cost over runs we see with government projects) attached to “a pedestrian connection along the Alaska Highway across from Hillcrest Drive to the airport trails”.  This is 1 km of trail!  $400,000!

Demanding financial accountability from city bureaucrats should be a ‘knee jerk reaction’ when you see bills like this.  The average schmoe/schmoette running a household is more careful than this and you don’t have the benefit of a finance department looking for deals.

Publish the budget, let’s see where the money is allocated TO not just where it is coming FROM.  That is more important to me.  It is all public money.


Feb 7, 2014 at 11:07 pm

All of the COW’s financial income and spending should be posted as public record for voter scrutiny. Income, budgets and expenditures should be shown on their website for every department.  That’s OUR money they’re spending, and the COW must be held accountable, starting with Mayor and Council.

If they have nothing to hide why should they object? 

Didn’t we elect them on promises of transparency and accountability??


Feb 8, 2014 at 11:11 am

I think the idea is good - currently have to walk on shoulder of the Alaska Highway - but from what I’m reading, the path would only be from Hillcrest Drive to the airport .. why so expensive? The path from Alaska Highway to Copper Ridge is very well-used, but I can’t imagine why the estimate for this short stretch from Hillcrest would be so expensive.

Groucho d'North

Feb 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm


Jane Smith

Feb 8, 2014 at 2:52 pm

When the Millennium Trail was proposed, there was a loud and sustained chorus of nay-sayers who moaned and complained about the expense, the expense, the expense (plus I won’t use it so no one should get it.) COW, please ignore the chorus and go ahead and build the trail, which will undoubtedly be as well-used and well-loved as the Millennium Trail.


Feb 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Jane it will not be used as much as the Millennium trail there are way more people down town and they walk the circle. Do you really think people are dying to walk back and fourth from Hillcrest to the airport? Waste of money.


Feb 11, 2014 at 1:32 am

To summarize:
- It will increase theft (allowing easy access for people to move through communities)
- There already is a trail
- COW already manages trails and the job they do is horrible. The stairs at the clay cliffs (smashed bottles, garbage, etc) They can’t manage a set of steps and they want to maintain a 400k trail?
- Increased likelihood of incidents involving rape, bodies found in freezing temperatures (drunken walks from downtown)

It seems as if the COW had some money freed up by YG and is looking to spend it. Of course the money would be placed into Parks and Rec because the budget is very hard to track. The current mayor council still won’t answer questions about their funding/backers to be elected. It seems that these large departments with little oversight are simply shells.

In response to the people that say “Where we use to live…” Well you’re the majority of the problem. Whitehorse is attempting to cater to these people (the more people that live here the higher our transfer payment). This means that our “rugged” wilderness has to be foam padded. For fifty years trails were unmarked, unmanaged and used by children/adults alike. With the arrival of the south… Locals are forced to ensure that these transplants feel safe. Eventually every tree will have a helmet and pads (don’t want the transplants to feel like they are different … make everything else feel like it isn’t natural.) Also a territory isn’t a province… know the difference

In 2013-14, the Government of Yukon received $860 million in major transfers, accounting for about 85 percent of its revenues in that year.

The Government runs/manages the Yukon with an open cheque book and no oversight. Donate the money to the YG and earmark it for the hospital or redoing YK college. Something all locals can use.


Feb 11, 2014 at 2:44 pm

I walked the existing trail last fall. It was a trail that took me from the airport to downtown. Please consider that a trail is a way to get around…..does it have to look like downtown Toronto? Enough


Feb 12, 2014 at 9:49 am

Back in the early 60’s I was a young kid living in Hillcrest.  It was air force back then.  We used to go downtown by running across the runway (it wasn’t fenced) and then down the claybank. Gee, how did we ever manage to do this without a fancy engineered paved trail?

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