Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

SHARING THE NUMBERS – Premier and Finance Minister reads his 2021-22 fiscal year budget speech in the legislature this afternoon.

Budget features record capital spending

Premier Sandy Silver delivered a record capital budget today of $434.3 million,

By Chuck Tobin on March 4, 2021

Revised - Premier Sandy Silver delivered a record capital budget Thursday of $434.3 million, most of it going to the Department of Highways and Public Works, as is generally the case.

The capital budget for 2021-2022 is 17 per cent greater than the $369.6 million budgeted for the current fiscal year, according to government documents.

The budget for Highways and Public Works for the 2021-2022 fiscal year has been set at $192.5 million, representing a 19.3 per cent or $31-million increase over the budget for the current fiscal year.

The Department of Community Services has received the second-highest budget at $121 million, representing a three per cent increase.

The Yukon Housing Corp. has received an eight per cent increase in its capital budget, up from $35.5 million to $38.4 million.

“New buildings above ground are no use without the infrastructure beneath the ground that allows them to function properly,” the premier said in his budget speech.

“Six point two million dollars is allocated for water and wastewater upgrades in Dawson City, and a further $2 million for the Dawson reservoir,” he told the legislature.

“More than $4 million will support upgrades in infrastructure in Haines Junction, including the town’s water supplying lagoon.

“Over $11.3 million is budgeted for a variety of water and lagoon upgrades in Mayo, Carcross, Ross River, Old Crow, Faro, Pelly Crossing, Carmacks, Beaver Creek and Mount Lorne.”

Silver said to ensure communities stay connected, there is $54 million for highways and bridges, including the Nisutlin Bay bridge in Teslin.

The budget outlines funding for scores of individual projects, such as $8.5 million to complete a 47-unit community housing project in Whitehorse and $500,000 to begin the planning and design work for a new Kluane Lake School in Burwash Landing.

There’s been $10 million allocated for a new health and wellness centre in Old Crow, which is being called the first of its kind for the Yukon along with $1.4 million to complete the new Vuntut Gwitchin Community Centre and $1.75 million for a Vuntut Gwitchin Elders Complex.

The budget includes $3 million for a new Potlatch House in Beaver Creek as well as $500,000 toward a new Teslin Tlingit Council Community Hub.

More than $2 million has been budgeted for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation Community Hub.

Several million is dedicated to improving municipal buildings, such as $3.5 million for a new public works building and fire hall in Faro and $3.5 million for a public works, fire hall and emergency medical services building in Carmacks. Watson Lake will get more than $3.8 million for a new public works building and fire hall.

The budget includes $2 million to help the Challenge Disability Resource Group complete its 53-unit Cornerstone housing project in Whitehorse.

There’s $3 million to go toward Mount Sima’s snowmaking and electrical infrastructure to reduce the ski hill’s reliance on diesel generation. Another $1.2 million has been identified for the completion of a new state-of-the-art skateboard park in Whitehorse.

The Mountain View Golf Course has been allocated $1.75 million to upgrade its irrigation system.

There’s $600,000 earmarked for a new boat launch in Burwash Landing and $345,000 for a new Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in youth centre in Dawson City.

Nearly $1.5 million will go toward supporting a new public transit hub and bus replacements in Whitehorse.

The budget includes $30 million for development of 150 residential lots across the Yukon, including the release of 25 commercial lots in Whistle Bend.

There’s been $50 million identified for the implementation of the government’s Our Clean Future plan, with $16 million to support community-based renewable energy projects and $14.4 million to increase energy efficiency in government buildings.

There is also $10 million committed to advance the Atlin hydro expansion project that will tie into the Yukon grid to provide more renewable energy for the territory.

There’s also $4.5 million for a grid-scale battery in Whitehorse, which will be the largest such battery in the North and is part of Yukon Energy’s new 10-year renewable electricity plan.

The budget includes $8.7 million for new learning spaces, including $4 million to add new learning spaces to the Robert Service School in Dawson.

More than $10.5 million has been allocated to begin the construction of a new elementary school in Whistle Bend.

The following is the capital budget for the other departments leading the way in planned expenditures:

• Yukon Development Corp.: $32.8 million, up $5.3 million, or more than 500 per cent;

• Department of Education: $24.8 million, virtually the same as the capital budget for this fiscal year;

• Health and Social Services: $13.4 million, or down slightly from the $15.3-million budget for this for this fiscal year;

• Environment Yukon: $3.5 million, up 71 per cent;

• Tourism and Culture: $3.1 million, up 17 per cent.

In his budget speech, the premier said: “We have made historic investments to modernize infrastructure and transportation networks to stimulate economic growth throughout the territory, while reducing the tax burden on businesses to help Yukon companies and entrepreneurs thrive as our economy continues to grow.”

Comments (17)

Up 40 Down 3

Erin Giesbrecht on Mar 6, 2021 at 7:52 am

Two smaller line items that are ridiculous:
3 million to SIMA to upgrade to electric snow maker's, basically moving the diesel generation downtown so the optics of clean energy look better -Waste of money
2. 1.76Million to upgrade sprinklers at Mountain View Golf Course, a privately owned business that received $750 000 from YG 6yrs ago. Why are taxpayers footing this bill?
Note that both of these recreational opportunities are for the wealthy. This is how the government buys votes from their "friends".

Up 37 Down 11

Health and Education on Mar 5, 2021 at 2:39 pm

No extra money for education, and LESS money for health and social services? Aren't we still in a pandemic? Who is advising these guys?

Based on their brand new 'Path Forward' document the grade 10-12 students won't be back full time until there is world peace and the stars align. God help us when we ask those kids to start paying back all this debt for us. They will still be working on finishing high school for real so that they can make it in university elsewhere.

It is pretty clear to me that they either don't care one bit about youth, OR are just using the pandemic to launch what they hope will be the model for high school education in the Yukon forever.

That's one way to not have to build another high school.

Up 47 Down 1

Sharon on Mar 5, 2021 at 9:48 am

FYI. Every year is a "record year". The feds give more money each year. It isn't because the party running the government is awesome. It's just funny that news outlets come up with headlines that always say "record budget" as if it is all thanks to the government. Next year will be another "record budget" no matter who is in power.

Up 27 Down 15

Wilf Carter on Mar 5, 2021 at 7:48 am

Liberals doing nothing in this budget to clean up their mess they created in Whitehorse in housing and land development. Just spending like they are told by Ottawa.

Up 8 Down 4

David Auger on Mar 5, 2021 at 4:35 am

Chuck Tobin's article yesterday on the new budget said Yukon Dev't Corp's budget was up 500%. This appears to be incorrect.

Up 35 Down 7

Juniper Jackson on Mar 5, 2021 at 2:43 am

The spending of both the Federal and Territorial governments should be a major concern to taxpayers. And to non taxpayers. "There is no such thing as a free lunch" said every father everywhere. Someone is sure to write and say, it's transfer payments, we don't have to pay it. uh huh. The Yukon already pays a higher tax rate than the rest of Canada because of the largess of our deductions for the working person. MOST people who work get a Box 32 for travel. But everyone who contributes to the economy through rent or ownership of property gets the NRD. The question remains, who is going to pay this money back? The Federal government is borrowing at 2 billion dollars a month in interest alone. The Bank of Canada is printing money at an exorbitant rate, thereby lessening the value of our dollar. Who's going to pay this money back???

https://theconversation.com/huge-government-debts-mean-canada-is-robbing-its-kids-147977

Up 40 Down 6

JustSayin' on Mar 4, 2021 at 9:18 pm

I feel like it is an election year

Up 37 Down 8

dick on Mar 4, 2021 at 8:31 pm

And the spending continues. Austerity should be the rule until we know the real cost of this pandemic, and what funding restraints Ottawa will put on us.

Up 34 Down 13

bonanzajoe on Mar 4, 2021 at 8:14 pm

Well, it's what the Socialists/Liberals and NDP do the best - spend, spend, spend. Then let the next future generations worry about the debt and deficits.

Up 26 Down 11

Power Imbalance is Silver’s Mal Dance on Mar 4, 2021 at 6:28 pm

When you are disengaged from the consequences of reality you have little to fear from the socioeconomic burden you saddle future generations with... No veneration with no dispensation in this Covid crazed nation we’ll all be victims of super inflation imposed without hesitation from a government without mental reservation... You should be disgusted we should feel indignation.

Free from the constraint of morality you act out your psychopathology in one long drama under the cover of a long emergency proclaiming this, that and some other urgency... A blunt, awkward, and invigorated, Liberal stupidity in the angst of resurgency... Silver for Gold... Power mad and bold... To the bank our future generations are sold...

Here we have the prophecy foretold - Teachers teach because teachers can’t do...

Up 20 Down 17

Pikachu on Mar 4, 2021 at 6:15 pm

I'm still angry about the Liberals cutting small business tax by 3% a few years ago. It is now at 0!! Tax cuts are not the way to a prosperous future!! We need to elect a Yukon Party government which will put taxes back up to a reasonable rate especially during a time of economic hardship.

Up 31 Down 11

TMYK on Mar 4, 2021 at 6:11 pm

So the tax rate for businesses has gone down but the tax rate for the average Yukoner has gone up. Every year of this Liberal government has seen the cost of living in the Yukon rise. Wages stagnate while businesses bring in more foreign labour to work jobs that should go to Yukoners. How many sole source contracts has NVD gotten in the last two years? Who gave the Liberals the thousands of dollars they are refusing to disclose? Occam’s Razor is my guess.

Up 35 Down 10

drunks spending money on Mar 4, 2021 at 5:19 pm

Easy to spend when you don't have to earn it.

Up 25 Down 13

Wilf Carter on Mar 4, 2021 at 3:15 pm

Sandy promoted Yukon a 100% refund of the carbon tax but how he did keep his promise and now trying to use carbon tax to buy our votes?

Up 8 Down 26

Adam on Mar 4, 2021 at 3:04 pm

"Don't blame lazy conservatives, they never did nothing."

Up 21 Down 13

Wilf Carter on Mar 4, 2021 at 2:52 pm

What is the cost benefit of this budget to Yukoners other than trying to buy their votes by promoting money to everyone they can?

Up 25 Down 18

Wow on Mar 4, 2021 at 2:47 pm

All that money on roads and bridges but could not find some funds to build a 2nd bridge in Riverdale which is surely needed.

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