Whitehorse Daily Star

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Council asked to OK a higher project budget

City council is being asked to approve a $3.9-million budget amendment to cover off additional costs estimated in the proposed reconstruction of city hall.

By Whitehorse Star on June 11, 2021

City council is being asked to approve a $3.9-million budget amendment to cover off additional costs estimated in the proposed reconstruction of city hall.

Council originally approved a budget of almost $21 million, but a scope change in the project has elevated the most current estimate to $24.7 million.

The federal and Yukon governments are providing two-thirds of the funding and the city is providing one-third, or $8 million.

Council is scheduled to vote on the amendment next Monday.

The intent is to have construction documents ready for tender late this summer to allow for project completion by late 2023.

The report notes the city will not need to raise taxes to cover the $8 million, as it could be funded by city reserves or by borrowing the money.

Under the proposed reconstruction project, the old part of city hall built in 1966 (the front half of the building facing Second Avenue) would be demolished.

New construction would see a L-shaped, two-storey structure built and tied into the newest remaining section of city hall built in 1987, where the council chambers are.

The reconstruction would provide approximately 38,750 square feet of new space, predominately new office quarters.

Comments (15)

Up 5 Down 0

Douglas Martens on Jun 16, 2021 at 8:00 pm

With the tourism industry in utter shambles, and the tax revenue battered by windfall losses due to over-reactive politics, the city opts for plusher offices. But no matter, they can always raise property taxes and blame it all on the plague of death. What a shocker. Imagine the reduction in fuel tax revenue alone, which has occurred due to the lockdowns and keeping all those Americans off the Alaska Highway for the second summer in a row! The band has quit playing but the overlords are still dancing... How do you think this is all going to end?

Up 10 Down 0

Vern Schlimbesser on Jun 15, 2021 at 5:39 am

Reading these additional comments, I wonder;
Why is this money always spent to benefit the 'public service' instead of the 'public needs'?
The old Financial Administration Acts used to allow limited movement between Capital, O and M, and Salary. When health care is in such need, basic water and sewer, energy, improved transportation.....on and on...why do we allow them to spend the money on themselves and offer us petty arguments like "it saves money", or "if we don't spend it we lose it".
If we continue with this lunacy what will the end result be, aside from eventual fiscal disaster?

Up 8 Down 0

Australian Shepherd on Jun 14, 2021 at 3:46 pm

Sheepchaser - I am sure you have written an intelligent thing or two in your life before? This is the first one that I have seen… In part anyway. Senior management is “the” problem. I do not want to confuse this with “senior” management as an age related phenomenon though.

The problem as you insinuate though is not “intelligence” per se but rather the politics of quick fix solutions to longterm problems. They are impulsively and emotionally driven solutions… The executive is not functioning. As most people know executive functioning is the mental process that allows one to plan, execute, reason, and adapt.

As you aptly point out these are not just stupid ideas they are ludicrous ideas. I would even go so far as to say “dangerous!!!” However, it seems the government has placed a moratorium on responsible thought.

Up 25 Down 2

Sheepchaser on Jun 13, 2021 at 12:21 pm

Why not build 40,000 sq ft of income adjusted housing? Given that’s the real barrier to successful small business creation in Whitehorse...

Biomass heat primary? In a downtown core already foggy all winter from residential wood burning heat? Watch it get shut down due air quality. If you think the cost overruns will be bad, just wait for the eventual power bill. Even if the biomass works, you’ve placed it as far from the fuel source as you can get. Ensuring a robust trucking industry into the downtown core if nothing else, I guess. Brilliant folks, eh?

As usual, thanks for the depressing chuckles of bewilderment.

Maybe, instead, offer early retirements and get this wholly incompetent generation of senior bureaucrats out of those chairs. The rest of us want to move on to actually solving problems, not just fattening the trough over and over. Do you all really not have any higher order of analytical, creative or fiscal ability among all these impressively ‘educated’ >$100k salary types?

Up 28 Down 0

Vern Schlimbesser on Jun 12, 2021 at 8:34 pm

10% of this amount would make this building last another twenty years. Judging from the photo, and my visits to this facility to participate or watch has revealed nothing that warrants spending more. But spending is what they do. Always knowing that sometime in the future someone else will stop the spending and stabilize the budgets.
Here is an idea, if you want to leave a legacy, be the first to stop the crazyness. That would be a record that would stand for a lot longer.

Up 39 Down 1

Al on Jun 12, 2021 at 11:31 am

We do not need this project to go forward period. It doesn't serve any interest to the city's residents, only those with puffy egos !

For bloody sake get your head out of the sand, wake up and smell the damn roses. We need a council that is not self serving and instead puts the city's NEEDS ahead of wasteful spending. We need real infrastructure improvements. Take the 8+ million and put it to better use to the benefit of the whole city.

I don't give a rat's ass that you are getting funding from YTG and the Feds (two other agencies that throw money around after bad useless projects). If you lose the funding think of it as never having had to begin with. Those agencies - like the COW - do not have any ownership to these monies they come from taxpayers - IT IS OUR MONEY - NOT YOURS !

Feel confident ? Take it to the citizens and see what kind of support you get. You won't because you know what the answer will be.

Up 30 Down 2

Garbage on Jun 12, 2021 at 7:01 am

When do we get to see an actual report from a Certified Arborist or Tree Risk Assessor regarding the health of Martha Black's mayday tree? Did council ask for anything to back up the tall tale that Parks came up with?

Here's the real reason the tree is going: the Parks dept does not have the knowledge or skill to even truly assess the state of the tree - and it's easier to just say it has to go. City Hall reno plans have been in the works for several years, and there was plenty of time to consult professional tree moving companies and prepare the tree to be moved.

But like I said, lack of will, wits, oversight, and plenty of sheer laziness means Martha's tree is destined for that brand new biomass boiler.

Up 38 Down 0

Nathan Living on Jun 12, 2021 at 12:09 am

Please cancel it for now, current council is a major disappointment and we need new people.

Up 35 Down 0

Peter on Jun 11, 2021 at 6:36 pm

Here we go again! Another project going over budget.
This City Council can not approve this extra costs. City taxpayer cannot afford to keep paying a tax increase and City borrowing. Families have taken a massive hit during this pandemic. It is about time for this city council to be responsible and accountable to their constituents and taxpayers. Note elections are coming up.

Up 38 Down 0

Lost In the Yukon on Jun 11, 2021 at 6:07 pm

Dan Curtis’s parting gift to Whitehorse taxpayers as he exits stage Extreme Left. This Council SHOULD NOT be proceeding with this project at this time when so close to an election. If any of them had any integrity they would hit the pause button.

But when it’s people like the current Acting City Manager (long time YG Senior Bureaucrat until “relieved” of duties) one can not be too surprised that it is Administration that runs the City not those who we elected.

Up 28 Down 0

Jim on Jun 11, 2021 at 5:57 pm

Good reporting would tell us what the change in scope would be. Unless that’s just a term being used for bad budgeting or material costs. We have some of the most incompetent city management and engineers. So who is the brainchild that thinks we need almost 40,000 sqft of office space while the new norm is for most public servant staff to work from home with no end in sight. There is also too much building work happening in the territory with all of YTGs election gifts, that it will most likely not be built by locals. Most economists have also said that lumber and material prices should somewhat correct over the next couple years. Waiting for a year or two would be most prudent. I for one will remember which of our elected officials vote to carry on with this. As someone stated previously, this should be an election platform this fall.

Up 4 Down 18

Uh, wilfy on Jun 11, 2021 at 5:35 pm

If you cancel the project now or shelve it, you're 100% guaranteed to pay more later on. Time of crisis? The Yukon hasn't lost a cent in the public sector. If (BIG IF) there is any difference, it will simply be made up in the next transfer payment. The Yukon just manages the fed transfer and decides how it will be spent. Unless the transfer stops, we are not in a crisis. It will be approved.

Up 48 Down 0

Done, approved. on Jun 11, 2021 at 4:02 pm

Liability for not allowing the increase - they won`t have a guarantee.

I don`t even know why this is being reported. It`s a kangaroo council. They don't change anything. They are a rubber stamp for administration.

Up 47 Down 1

Twin Mountianview on Jun 11, 2021 at 3:36 pm

Cancel it.
Twin Mountain view.

Up 39 Down 1

Wilf Carter on Jun 11, 2021 at 2:57 pm

Here we go - the budget is already over by 10% and needs more money for the project. Do not do this in the time of crises. Councilors stand up for what's right not what's wrong.

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