Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Mike Gau

Fees taking their toll on aviators, pilot tells city

The city’s proposed new and higher fees for Schwatka Lake docks are taking their toll on pilots who use the lake, city council was told Monday night.

By Stephanie Waddell on June 23, 2015

The city’s proposed new and higher fees for Schwatka Lake docks are taking their toll on pilots who use the lake, city council was told Monday night.

The changes range from a new deposit of $1,500 for the maintenance of docks to an increase on annual dock permit fees from $75 to $300.

“Somewhere along the line, it’s just too much all at once,” Gerd Mannsperger, an Alpine Aviation pilot, told city council Monday night.

He acknowledged an increase to the dock permit fees is warranted, having remained at $75 for several years.

However, Mannsperger argued the 400 per cent hike was unprecedented.

Rates, he said, should be raised at a more reasonable, steady level.

“That is a very substantial chunk,” he said.

Along with all the other fees pilots based on the lake face, Gerd Mannsperger argued, it’s especially hurting younger pilots who are just getting started.

Mannsperger has commercial insurance on his plane.

However, he noted a number of non-commercial pilots are also having trouble getting the $2-million liability insurance required by the city (a requirement that’s been in place for some time), adding to the issues they are facing.

The new deposit isn’t warranted, he said, suggesting the city not go ahead with it.

He noted there are few docks that have floated away from the area. While some have been abandoned, the city hasn’t done anything to remove them, he added.

“There’s nobody taking action,” he said.

He stated there’s been just one dock that’s floated away in recent years.

That was countered by acting city manager Mike Gau. He pointed to Yukon Energy statistics showing three docks had to be pulled out from the water last year, and, on average, 1.5 are pulled out annually after floating away.

Gau acknowledged the city is behind in doing its periodic checks on the Schwatka docks.

He noted the deposit would be refundable and would cover costs if there were problems with the dock.

The new fees come out of an area plan council adopted earlier this year for the lake.

They came forward at Monday’s meeting as part of the proposed changes to the city’s fees and charges bylaw.

Also outlined in the bylaw are new fees for mobile food vendors; purchasing blended compost; a sewer camera equipment charge; waste services fees for clean wood, brushing, saw dust and wood chips; and for controlled waste asbestos.

An increase to the Eductor-Vactor equipment rental fee is also proposed and there are a number of minor wording changes to the bylaw as well.

First reading will come forward next week.

Comments (12)

Up 0 Down 0

YTer on Jun 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm

More mismanagement etc...
Get your facts straight. The docks are affixed to city land. That's where the fees have always come into play, and it's legal. The dock owner is paying for the use of that small strip of waterfront. The issue is that all of a sudden there are these completely unjustified increases for no increase in service. In fact, there are no services provided. No one minds paying for service, but paying for no service, then being charged more for the same no service is ridiculous. But we are all used to that, witness our lame bylaw services department who operates on a complaint driven policy, yet fails to act on complaints.
And to the comment re. YG workers owning the planes, last I checked, there wasn't one single YG owner of any of the planes on floats at Schwatka. Nice try though, blame YG workers again.

Up 13 Down 3

More mismanagement by City Executive Officer on Jun 27, 2015 at 8:45 am

Here you go again, a mayor thinks he can do anything he wants.
So it is not legal for the City of Whitehorse to charge fees to the individuals who have aircraft on water in the City.
I can't wait to see the real books of the City to get the real truth.

Up 16 Down 2

Yukoner on Jun 26, 2015 at 12:41 pm

@ what law gives you the right - the city has no jurisdiction on water not even in city limits. I was told by DFO that if I wanted to put a power boat on Chadburn lake I could and the city could do nothing about it and they would go to court with me to explain the law.

Up 20 Down 2

What law gives the CoW authority over lake development on Jun 26, 2015 at 11:35 am

I cannot find a law that gives the City of Whitehorse the legal right to regulate lake activities so they cannot do anything with the operations of the lake and the same for any of the lakes or the Yukon river.
Yukon Government has the rights from the Feds and under the DFO land water act are required to be part of this process as far as I can see.
Can anyone confirm that?

Up 12 Down 1

Atom on Jun 26, 2015 at 11:14 am

Greed. Southern economics. Used to be ok to provide little in service and charge next to nothing. Gone are the days the Yukon provided what folks could make of it. Now its 'oh, we could charge for that because we need revenue to support our population explosion....of 5000 people over a decade....wow we've lost our way.....average 450k for a house anywhere in Whitehorse? Incredible increases in property tax and service fees....Idiocy....pure idiocy.
if someone can own a plane, that's good. I mean do we hold it against folks who make (made) YG wages and managed their money effectively to be able to afford an airplane? Do we really think they can absorb any kind of rate increase to continue their hobby? Many do sight seeing tours to pad their hobby, but that's good for everyone....right? I can envision toll booths on the boat launches within city limits. I mean there are fees to own a quad and snowmachine already.... I can't for the life of me figure out how we got to this point in this great big Territory.
Think Yukon folks, not how it is wherever you came from.
And if you can't afford toys don't hold it against the ones who can....they earned it.....and now they're gonna have to pay more for it....if they can

Up 18 Down 13

my opinion on Jun 24, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Does anyone know if they are paying rent on top of the 75 bucks a year? (soon to be $400). The COW charges food trucks $350 or so, which I think is ridiculously cheap, being a person who has owned a business in downtown Whitehorse, but be that as it may, $400 for an office, dock, and parking area seems extraordinarily reasonable to me. And $1500 deposit? That's what I charge renters for a house, so come on people. It's a deposit, not money out of their pockets.

I expect that the new sail boat company will also be paying $400 for their use of valuable city waterfront as well.

Up 32 Down 53

Ritchie Rich on Jun 24, 2015 at 10:57 am

All those defending these well off pilots, maybe look at what the territory charges at the airport. For no more than a parking spot. They make a huge savings by keeping their planes in shwatka. If you don't like it, move to south Mclintock with all the other silver spoon people/YTG managers. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to raise that $400 to $4000.

Up 19 Down 6

Alan M on Jun 23, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Its nice to know a city official (Mike Gau) came well prepared for the council meeting.
The deposit does seem a little high to me.

Up 37 Down 20

Yukoner on Jun 23, 2015 at 4:57 pm

look out soon it will just be sail boats on the lake

Up 53 Down 9

Dallas on Jun 23, 2015 at 4:40 pm

City shouldn't be getting anything for the use of shwatka lake...it should be the territory or the Feds, but that doesn't surprise me, I receive jack shit for my taxes from the city!

Up 19 Down 58

June Jackson on Jun 23, 2015 at 4:28 pm

Just off hand, I'd say, if a person can afford a plane.. they can afford these increases. Its the people driving a 1980 chev, or working 3 jobs for a roof that get this so hard when the City starts jacking up taxes and fees for service.

Isn't there some little corner of the Yukon that we sell off to the Chinese for a trillion bucks or so, so that we can all have everything we want without having to go to the food bank or live on the streets for it?

Up 62 Down 15

Jim Lahey on Jun 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm

I'm with the pilots on this one. A 400% increase in fees is ludicrous. What does the city do with that money they collect? Nothing but spend it on their pet projects. I don't see them repairing docks or fixing the shoreline. Stop nickel and diming everyone. Maybe the city should look into how overpaid a lot of their employees are. Stop making people pay for your lack of vision and clear incompetence when running a city.

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.