Whitehorse Daily Star

Core must lure people: Laking

City councillor Ted Laking isn’t giving up on his dream of a town square, despite the challenges facing the project.

By Whitehorse Star on February 7, 2024

City councillor Ted Laking isn’t giving up on his dream of a town square, despite the challenges facing the project.

Laking first pitched the idea last year, using a Main Street location.

Now, the city might be moving it further from the downtown core – which is rather the opposite of the original idea.

“A beautiful, vibrant, and revitalized downtown is the key to a strong Whitehorse,” Laking told the Star.

“By creating a town centre that attracts people, not just cars, you not only get individuals and families spending more time outside but you generate economic and cultural activity.

“The town square pilot project concept last year was brought forward with this in mind, and I’m excited about what the new iteration could look like this year,” Laking added.

“Ultimately, the goal is a downtown and a Main Street that is the heart of the community.

“But this is just one piece of a larger conversation; an extended patio here and an outdoor concert there are great ways to beautify the city, but we need to think bigger, and I’m hopeful that this pilot project kick-starts a larger discussion between all orders of government on what our downtown and our riverfront can be.”

Laking also discussed the city’s growth.

“Our community is experiencing a record amount of growth, and now is the opportune time to have these discussions,” he said.

“These aren’t just questions for the city, either – these are questions for the federal and Yukon governments to consider as well. Questions like reviving the trolley, the best use of the White Pass depot, a convention centre, bringing Rendezvous back to Main Street, the better integration and support of downtown cultural institutions such as museums into our marketing and downtown planning, parking, and addressing things such as derelict buildings,” the councillor added.

“There are so many properties that are undeveloped or have significant untapped potential, and unlocking these to make people want to come to, live in, and invest in our downtown core will only make us a stronger community,” Laking said.

Comments (7)

Up 19 Down 17

Terry G on Feb 8, 2024 at 8:01 pm

We should bring the trolley back and give people more reason to go downtown this is an okay idea by my thinking at least

Up 10 Down 15

KP on Feb 8, 2024 at 1:24 pm

This is unacceptable. A local politician has ideas, they aren't the status quo, and he is sharing them publicly. This isn't allowed in the Yukon.

Up 35 Down 5

Groucho d'North on Feb 8, 2024 at 12:35 pm

A suggestion to consider if you want to attract people to this area. Have a daily dunk-tank with all political representatives spending time in the seat. Proceeds to the Red Cross or another worthy non-profit.

Up 52 Down 7

Heather on Feb 8, 2024 at 10:25 am

I would like to mention that these closure have certainly not made it any easier for those who are disabled. Gone are the handicap parking sites meaning that spots are not only reduced but are now as much as a block away.

Up 73 Down 10

Smitty Jackson on Feb 7, 2024 at 3:04 pm

You weren't elected to fulfill your "dreams. I'm just shaking my head at the nonsense this guy comes up with. I actually had some hope when he was first elected but not anymore.

Up 66 Down 5

Jake on Feb 7, 2024 at 2:37 pm

You could get 125000 from the Yukon Government to fly in a Grand Piano 🙄

Up 66 Down 8

Al on Feb 7, 2024 at 2:01 pm

I must say Laking "a beautiful..." is far from what you are overall proposing. Having 6 & 7 story buildings reaching to the skies is not what I envision as either beautiful or even necessary. Besides - last year was anything but successful and at best created nothing but parking issues for a lot of folks. Not everyone is able to use "local transit" - and simply that is because not everyone lives downtown or even in Whitehorse. The biggest draw to downtown are the banks, yet you cut off access to two of them when it comes to parking. Downtown business are there for the convenience of 'getting our business done'. If you want something adjacent to downtown then by all means go for it. All I seen last year was a lot of parking spots sitting idle and virtually no-one downtown in the closed off area except those attempting to access the banks.. Best you had better think all this through more thoroughly lad.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.