Whitehorse Daily Star

Councillor treads a path to trail improvements

City councillor Ted Laking wants Whitehorse residents to take a hike.

By T.S. Giilck on February 28, 2024

City councillor Ted Laking wants Whitehorse residents to take a hike.

Laking introduced a motion during Monday evening’s council meeting calling on the Yukon government – one of his favourite targets – to throw some money the city’s way for trail improvements.

His motion reads as follows:

“WHEREAS the City of Whitehorse’s strategic priorities include increasing accessibility for all and improving city services to support aging in place;

and WHEREAS a trail network that is accessible for all is one way to support these goals;

and WHEREAS accessible trails are also a way to encourage active transportation;

and WHEREAS some trails necessary to connect neighbourhoods would be required to go through the Alaska Highway right-of-way which is a Yukon government responsibility;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT council direct the mayor to write the minister of Highways and Public Works to follow-up on previous communications between the city and the Yukon government requesting that accessible trails be developed connecting neighbourhoods via the Alaska Highway Corridor such as in between Pineridge and Fox Haven; and

THAT council direct administration to develop a plan to identify and develop estimated costs for accessible trails that could be developed within existing neighbourhoods, such as Porter Creek and Whistle Bend, to be considered as part of this year’s for submission to the 2025 capital budget process.”

That is indeed a mouthful, and generated some discussion from his colleagues.

Coun. Dan Boyd said he’d like the city’s administration to describe what would be involved in implementing Laking’s request.

He said he is concerned the changes could cost millions of dollars.

“I see this as a huge project for administration to try to take on,” he said.

City manager Jeff O’Farrell said the staff has provided Laking with some advice in wording the motion.

The request would require the city to re-visit the neighbourhood trails plan respectively and bring each forward separately.

There are six such plans.

City staff said they had no estimate as to how difficult a task that would be.

Mayor Laura Cabott said there was “some confusion in the room” as to what Laking was seeking, and asked him to clarify his request.

He said he wasn’t asking for a commitment to make it a capital project. Instead, he simply wanted to bring more attention to the subject.

She had reservations about the concept, questioning how much work would go into even creating a one- or two-page report for council.

The work would begin during the summer.

After considerable discussion, council unanimously approved the motion.

Comments (2)

Up 57 Down 15

Nope on Feb 28, 2024 at 6:17 pm

Ted never comes with solutions, just delusions of grandeur.

Fix the potholes, plow the streets, lower COW taxes. These are your goals Ted.

Up 38 Down 9

North_of_60 on Feb 28, 2024 at 3:19 pm

Plans for a multi-use trail paralleling the Alaska highway have existed for years. Piecemeal completion of the trail has occurred with highway upgrades.

What's needed now is a cooperative push by the municipal and territorial governments to complete that trail from the south to north Klondike highway intersections.

No more time-consuming debates and surveys are needed - just build it.

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