Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

CITY AUTHORIZES PAVING – The City of Whitehorse has agreed to spend $926,514 to contract Skookum Asphalt to pave around the new Operations Building off Range Road. Coun. Steve Roddick registered the only opposition to the expenditure on Monday evening.

City workers’ parking will cost $3,000 per stall

City council has approved a $926,514 contract to pave around the new Operations Building, though Monday’s vote was not unanimous.

By Chuck Tobin on July 29, 2020

City council has approved a $926,514 contract to pave around the new Operations Building, though Monday’s vote was not unanimous.

Coun. Steve Roddick registered the only opposition, suggesting the money to pave the employee parking area would be better used for paving public streets and roadways in need of repair.

If you do the math, Roddick told his colleagues, employee parking represents 40 per cent of the total contract, or $370,000.

It works out to about $3,000 per parking stall, he said.

Roddick suggested there are areas in the city that would benefit more from new pavement – as opposed to what is essentially private parking for city employees

While Coun. Laura Cabott supported the contract award to Skookum Asphalt, she too raised the question of giving priority to staff parking over other areas in the city.

Cabott said she’s heard a lot of discussion from the public over the paving proposal for the Operations Building.

It’s been pointed out, for instance, that Range Road north from the Northland Mobile Park to Whistle Bend still remains unpaved after several years, she said.

But Cabott said she did, however, recognize the city is very long into the process of getting the Operations Building ready.

Mayor Dan Curtis defended the paving contract.

Employees who will occupy the new building look after the city, they look after water and sewer services, transit and so forth, he said.

The Operations Building will be the fourth-largest building in the Yukon, he said, and the people working there have the right to a safe parking area.

The city has 750 kilometres of roadway and can’t keep up with all the deficiencies all the time, he said.

“We do our best and we do what we can,” the mayor said. “We are not perfect, but we are working on it.”

City administration explained to council that paving the parking area reduces operation and maintenance of the parking lot, which would otherwise require regular grading, leading to issues like dust.

Peter O’Blenes, the director of infrastructure and operations, told council there’s money identified in the city’s capital plan for the Range Road north project. Design work is scheduled to be completed next year, at a cost of $200,000 with paving to follow in 2023, at a cost of $4.5 million, he said.

Cabott said while residents of Range Road north may be disappointed, at least now they have a date for the improvement project.

Comments (34)

Up 0 Down 0

Jessica on Aug 14, 2020 at 8:52 am

Oh, the hypocrisy! The City of Whitehorse is trying to force private citizens to use public transit (which, by the way, in their recent parking survey was shown to be one of the least popular means of transportation) by irritating drivers instead of improving public transit. All the while, they are providing convenient, paved, plug-in parking to their own employees?? WTF is right! They cannot possibly wonder why private citizens feel animosity toward them when they do things like this.

Have they actually absorbed the feedback from their parking survey? The results were clear - the majority of Whitehorse citizens are not happy with parking conditions downtown. Period. So how are they going to address this? If you review the parking survey, the recommendations and selected quotes appear to contradict what the stats actually show! What is the point of having a survey if the results are presented with obvious bias and the outcome is the opposite of what people are asking for?

Furthermore, Mayor Dan Curtis has said that ATIPP is too expensive and time-consuming to implement at the CoW, yet he supports the spending of 1 million dollars of tax-payer money to pave his fancy new parking lot and over 50 million for the construction of his fancy new building? We (supposedly) live in a democracy - the public should have the right to access information at the City. Hiding behind the argument that they are essentially incapable of making that happen (while being capable of taking on other multi million dollar projects) is not acceptable.

Up 7 Down 0

Jake the bosun on Aug 4, 2020 at 8:41 pm

So here is a surprising observation.....I flew slowly over the new facility today and I notice that most of the car parking lot has already been paved.
What remains is the larger unpaved area to be used for their equipment and operational storage. Is that important?

Up 1 Down 0

drum on Aug 4, 2020 at 7:43 pm

Yukon Government employees get free parking.

Up 6 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on Aug 4, 2020 at 6:17 pm

What does this council care? It's not their money. Tax payer money grows on tree's. And if it gets mean? Push people too far... there is always raising the limit on borrowed money.

Up 17 Down 0

MAKE IT STOP! on Aug 4, 2020 at 3:34 pm

WTF. I work downtown and have to move my car EVERY 2 HOURS and these guys get free plug in parking on the taxpayers dime?

Up 18 Down 2

Max Mack on Aug 3, 2020 at 11:14 pm

@Onceorthrice

Plug-ins for every vehicle stall in the parking lot?
That's so CoW employees can also charge their taxpayer-subsidized EVs on the public dime. And for those employees that are fossil-fuel dinosaurs, they can leave their battery blanket plugged in all day.

Up 20 Down 1

Charlie's Aunt on Aug 3, 2020 at 5:53 pm

May be CoW could consider paid permit parking for those employees who want it + extra for plug ins. Others who work at gov offices downtown often have to use street parking wherever they can find it, sometimes having to play the 2 hr parking meter juggle, or they buy a permit for Main Steele. I guess promoting use of bus transportation doesn't apply to employees of this building, only pushed at rest of us who are privileged to pay for this largesse.

Up 18 Down 1

Wilf Carter on Aug 3, 2020 at 4:52 pm

Maybe City employees should take the buses including the mayor and be good example for all COW residents!!!

Up 30 Down 1

Onceorthrice on Aug 3, 2020 at 7:38 am

One thing that really sticks out for me in the picture is that there are plug ins for EVERY vehicle in the parking lot. What did it cost taxpayers for that infrastructure, and how much will we be paying to keep City workers' vehicles warm? All costs included, the price for power is nearing $0.20/kw, how much will taxes go up for this?

Does council know the building that the Parks department works out of doesn't have enough plug ins for the City trucks in the winter, never mind employees vehicles? Do they know that employees park their personal vehicles out in the gravel area, if there is even parking available? No, of course they don't, one would have to actually visit the different facilities to know that.

What I want to know is, what is so special about MSB workers that they get all these untaxed benefits? Also, when is the art tour and what's the pay like for valet services?

Up 51 Down 6

Wilf Carter on Jul 31, 2020 at 9:50 am

City streets and roads are falling apart but that does not matter to the mayor has he runs the city and knows best for city residents. Anyone but Dan Curtis for mayor next time.
Back to streets roads etc. Look at Hamilton Blv. past the last turn off into Copper Ridge. They fill it with call mix and it is gone within a week and holes take the front end out of your auto.
Look the road that goes across HBV form Macitre center to Alaska highway. Full of holes and again they fill it in with cold mix which is gone in a week.
The street condition's and holes intersections etc., are a safety issue for drivers especially in winter months. If they go into one of these pot holes it could send them off the street or road or into another.
Can anyone tell me what is the actual final cost for the new building including removable of the old building and paving is? It was supposed to be $43 million but the real cost had it $52 or more. City Hall will not supply me any information other than 'look on our web sight' which there's no facts on costs.
It seems this paving was not included in the original project costs but should have been.
Can someone help get to the bottom of this.

Up 60 Down 3

Nathan Living on Jul 30, 2020 at 8:01 pm

I wish council had more interest on how our funds are spent.

If chip seal is good enough for many roads and is one third the cost council should have asked why this was not presented as an option

Up 47 Down 1

Range Point Resident on Jul 30, 2020 at 3:57 pm

Paving of Range Road north in 2023?!! That is 3 years away!
It's disappointing that the COW chooses not to pave the short, half-kilometer stretch of road...from the top of the small hill (just past Crow Street), down to the turn offs that lead to Northland Park and Mountain View Place first. The entire area in between is densely populated (fact from COW community planning staff). If not paved, drivers (including myself) will continue having no choice but to steer their vehicle to the opposite side of the road at various times of the year to avoid the massive holes. Please find the money!!

Up 38 Down 2

Anie on Jul 30, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Davis, I think your analysis is probably correct. For decades, we have watched the same people first go to council with a capital item that appears under costed, get the project approved, and then come back for more money part way through construction. It seems to be the same players all the time, and I've been surprised that elected officials never seem to notice.

Yukonmom, your facts are wrong

Up 36 Down 1

Eric on Jul 30, 2020 at 1:33 pm

I wonder if the City is properly accounting for the taxable benefit that comes with employer-provided parking places. If staff are just using their cars to travel between home and work, then those stalls are a taxable benefit. Google "Employer-provided parking is usually a taxable benefit" to see CRA's thoughts on this.

Up 40 Down 5

Bernie Stephenson on Jul 30, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Wow - nothing but the best for the minions.

Up 76 Down 1

davis on Jul 30, 2020 at 9:39 am

@Anie - To me this isn't about "putting City employees in their place", it's about the City's fiscal responsibilities. I have a hard time believing that the City forgot to include paving in the original construction contract (it's a pretty big item!). In my view the likely scenario is that they left the paving out of the original contract on purpose. Right from the start they had a hard time securing budget approval from council for the building as the cost was so high, so my guess is they left the paving out of the contract on purpose so that up front it appeared as thought the cost of the building was going to be less than it actually was, which increased the chance of the project being approved, full well knowing that after construction was nearly completed they would go back and ask for more money to include paving to actually get the project 100% complete. They did this knowing that once the project was approved and 90% completed there was no way council could say no to another $1M to finish of the building, as who wants to accept an incomplete project? Managing a project this way seems very deceitful towards council and tax payers.

I don't know this for sure, it's just my guess. But it's either this or that they honestly forgot to include the paving in the original contract. I'm not sure which scenario is worse, being deceitful or incompetent?

Up 23 Down 38

Martin on Jul 30, 2020 at 8:24 am

Coun. Steve Roddick, the ONLY one in City Council that deserves my respect.

Up 55 Down 5

Yukoner133 on Jul 30, 2020 at 6:56 am

Great, so will all of the City operations buildings, you know the ones with crumbling asbestos walls, have their parking lots paved as well? No, just the new palace eh? Interesting.

I love how the mayor acts as though City workers deserve more than the private sector, especially considering anyone who has worked with or for the City knows what a dumpster fire the entire organization is, and work happens at 1/4 of capacity. At best.

Spending close to a MILLION dollars to pave a parking lot for City workers is an absolute slap in the face to taxpayers. But sure, cut the cost of business licenses for this year. That's the same, right?

Mayor and council, you ought to be ashamed of yourselves for following through and awarding this contract.

Up 49 Down 4

Obi on Jul 30, 2020 at 5:44 am

“Why stop now!”
What a bunch of cheap SOB’S.
The least you can do for these poor employees is Valet parking!

Up 56 Down 3

Jack pott on Jul 30, 2020 at 2:10 am

I wonder how long until City employees gas is paid for by the city?

This council has lost touch while more and more of rate payers cash is being lavished on city employees in the form of higher salaries and more benefits. Over 50% of the annual budget now goes to pay staff instead of much needed services we expect..... something is very wrong here.

Up 56 Down 3

OlaF on Jul 29, 2020 at 11:51 pm

“ Mayor Dan Curtis defended the paving contract.
Employees who will occupy the new building look after the city, they look after water and sewer services, transit and so forth, he said.
The Operations Building will be the fourth-largest building in the Yukon, he said, and the people working there have the right to a safe parking area.”

Two things come to light here.
1. Gravel parking areas are not safe according to our Mayor.
2. The Mayor needs to give his head a shake. This money could be put to much better use. Good bye Danny Boy!

Up 64 Down 3

yukonmom on Jul 29, 2020 at 7:29 pm

Eighth Ave in downtown, the oldest part of town is still unpaved, i.e., gravel, not even chip sealed. Also this after deciding they didn't have the time or energy to support the downtown restaurants to get larger patios put in so people that have put their life time savings into their businesses might be able to stay afloat for a little longer. The optics are not great city council. Let them eat cake!

Up 51 Down 3

Yukoner on Jul 29, 2020 at 7:09 pm

Aww Dan are you going to get dust and mud on your car? Maybe they could install metered parking and recoup some of the costs while living life like the rest of us!

Up 44 Down 0

uh... anie on Jul 29, 2020 at 6:48 pm

There are other options than asphalt. The problem with this project is that it's not sensical. I agree, now, that the building has to be finished. But if this was a private project and it went over budget, there isn't suddenly "more money" to grab. Other, long overdue projects could have been completed with that money and the parking could be done at a later date after the ground has settled.

It getting paved doesn't really concern me. But I can understand how people would be frustrated if they have to deal with unpaved roads that are used by the ENTIRE public, while this parking will be used by an entitled few.

Up 55 Down 4

Matthew on Jul 29, 2020 at 6:20 pm

Why is it that during a MASSIVE crisis the gov ALWAYS comes out on top? I mean 1M to pave a parking lot? Imagine how much food 1M can buy for the growing number of poor and homeless.. a parking lot, wow.

Up 46 Down 3

Anton on Jul 29, 2020 at 6:13 pm

This is an outrage! What's next a free cafeteria for employees?

Up 41 Down 13

Crunch on Jul 29, 2020 at 6:04 pm

I see Mr. Roddick is doing some damage control. When you pull a few groaners this is an expected move. The kid is so politically over his head.

Up 52 Down 2

Oya on Jul 29, 2020 at 5:30 pm

City employees have a RIGHT to safe parking? Does that mean gravel parking spots are not safe? And where is it written they have a right to parking at all? Next thing you know, all YG employees will demand private paved parking. Wow.

Up 55 Down 2

Fred Norris on Jul 29, 2020 at 4:35 pm

Most of the highways in the Yukon utilize BST, bituminous surface treatment, AKA chip seal. At a third of the cost of asphalt, this would have worked nicely here,

Up 44 Down 4

Josey Wales on Jul 29, 2020 at 4:32 pm

Gee...maybe LACE that area with parking meters.
Everyone else, mere peasants, as we are known to the civic elites and political blowholes, pays to park often without hydro plug-ins too.

Folks absolute arrogance from this team, gravel, massive potholes for the mere common folks and USER PAY...REPEAT...USER PAY PARKING.
For they? Striving for extravagance, striving for division and polarity.

This parking lot represents EXACTLY how they run this city.
Thee best, the hell with costs...delusional optics department must be tired?

ya'll make me sick, despite the acting classes of concern.
The civic arrogance is past pissing me off, folks should clearly express that if you agree...with every civic administration interaction.


I say it tips 1.5 million before done, stripes are extra certainly, landscaping next...CAAAAAA CHING $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Up 39 Down 0

Johnny on Jul 29, 2020 at 4:22 pm

If it's not paved it's not safe for the employee for parking?

Up 24 Down 3

Politico on Jul 29, 2020 at 4:21 pm

@ Jayne W My work does not treat parking as a taxable benefit. In the Yukon, with a lack of public transportation, parking is necessary for employees so they can store their vehicles after driving to work. That being said, $3K for paving each parking place does seem a bit steep.

Up 31 Down 83

Anie on Jul 29, 2020 at 3:30 pm

Whitehorse residents have a long history of treating city employees as some sort of lesser beings who should be forever grateful for employment. Councillors who pander to this ideology are an embarrassment. This is a huge building by Yukon standards. Wanting to leave the parking lot as an expensive to maintain mudfield, in order to put employees in their place, is just childish. Grow up Mr. Roddick.

Up 63 Down 7

Jayne W on Jul 29, 2020 at 3:16 pm

Can someone help me on the logistics of this. Providing Parking for your employee is a Taxable benefit, unless you use your own vehicle for work, which COW staff don't. When parking is provided by an employer to an employee, the fair market value of the parking, less any payment by the employee for the parking, is generally a taxable benefit to the employee. ... The taxable fair market value of the parking spot is generally the market price for a similar spot in the surrounding area. Would this be classified as a taxable benefit then? Or it it open to the public as well and we can park then bike/walk/bus to our downtown workplace?

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