Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

DETAILING THE PLANS – The new budget has money to study the demolitions of the fire hall on Second Avenue and the Municipal Services Building on Fourth Avenue, says Mayor Dan Curtis, seen speaking after Tuesday’s council meeting.

Mayor explains $20-M spending plans

The city could end up spending more than $20 million next year on major capital projects.

By Stephanie Waddell on November 15, 2017

The city could end up spending more than $20 million next year on major capital projects.

That would include planning for a potential new firehall built on the former Motorways trucking site downtown.

The plans were unveiled in the 2018 capital budget which passed first reading at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting.

Outlined is a total of $10.8 million in spending from existing funds and $9.3 million in funding that would be subject to approval from outside sources such as the federal government.

The budget also shows the capital spending plans to 2021.

It would see the city spend:

• more than $7 million from existing funds and $21.2 million from external funding in 2019;

• more than $8 million from existing funds and $17.1 million from external funding in 2020; and

• $4.2 million from existing funds and $6.8 million from external funding in 2021.

The plans for the firehall were revealed in Mayor Dan Curtis’ capital budget address.

He spoke of the continued focus on construction of the city’s new operations building through 2018

That project will see city staff and equipment move from several sites around town to the new building under construction off Range Road south of Two Mile Hill. It’s budgeted at $55 million over several years.

“The relocation and consolidation of nine downtown buildings will help us become more efficient in offering services to Whitehorse residents, and will free up prime real estate in the downtown and industrial areas,” Curtis said in his five-page speech.

“The city is also in the early stages and planning the demolition of Fire Hall #1, located next to city hall, as well as the Municipal Services Building on Fourth Avenue.

“We are investing $260,000 in 2018 towards environmental assessments that will inform the plan for the future dismantling, demolition and cleaning up of both sites.

“Fire Hall #1 has run its course and we are in the early stages of planning for the future services building that will eventually take its place.

“We are also investing $250,000 next year for the design and construction contracts to redevelop the Motorways property on Black Street to meet the needs of a downtown fire station for at least the next 20 years.”

Speaking to reporters after last night’s meeting, Curtis said assessments have established the need for a fire hall in the downtown area for faster access to Riverdale. That neighbourhood has the highest number of fire calls.

Curtis said the proposed location for a new firehall will allow fire trucks to access Black Street and Front Street instead heading out directly onto Second Avenue, which he described as the “Autobahn of the Yukon.”

The location of the current fire station next to city hall on Second Avenue means that fire trucks are often backing in and out of the station on the busiest street in the city.

He noted another major focus for the city is on infrastructure.

$3.2 million reconstruction

There is $3.2 million proposed in 2018 for the reconstruction of Alexander Street east of Fourth Avenue as well as $80,000 to finish up landscaping on Black Street. “In keeping with our commitment to address safety concerns and improve traffic flow, we are investing $33,000 to add a protected left-turn signal at the busy intersection of the Alaska Highway and Robert Service Way,” Curtis said.

“Solutions for this location were suggested by the public, council and city transportation crews.”

A further $25,000 would be directed at purchasing materials like curbing, traffic posts, speed humps and other such items for calming traffic in an effort to reduce collisions and complaints about speeding.

The city would also spend $2.2 million over the four-year spending plan for fleet purchases.

In his speech, Curtis acknowledged the importance of parks and trails to Whitehorse residents.

“As the Wilderness City, we hold dear active lifestyles and our proximity to the great outdoors,” he said. “We are committing $375,000 to improve our trails, parks and playgrounds.”

A total of $80,000 would be directed to park and trail amenities in Whistle Bend – dog bag dispensers, benches and signs, picnic tables and the like; with $65,000 identified for upgrades to playground equipment in Cowley Creek and Hidden Valley.

“After consulting with the Persons with Disabilities Advisory Committee to identify accessibility issues and existing hazards in our downtown parks, we set aside $25,000 to carry out repair work such as eliminating tripping hazards on our curbs,” Curtis said.

Among a long list of projects that would be dependent on external funding are:

• odour mitigation work at the Livingstone Trail Lagoon;

• a replacement of software for fire and bylaw computer-aided dispatch;

• bus repairs;

• the addition of new transit shelters and benches;

• upgrades to the landfill fencing and signage;

• a new stock of compost and waste carts; and

• planning work for the expansion of Grey Mountain Cemetery.

“These are only a small sample of some of the important projects waiting for external funding,” the mayor noted.

“We continue to work hand-in-hand with our territorial and federal funding partners.

“We value and appreciate that funding we receive from our government partners. Without this funding, we wouldn’t be able to move forward on important community projects.”

Curtis emphasized the efforts of the city to have the proposed capital budget out as early as possible so that contractors and suppliers can prepare for upcoming projects they may want to bid on.

“The City of Whitehorse prides itself on being a progressive community, one that is fiscally responsible and transparent,” he said.

“The 2018 capital budget responds to the needs of the community and follows our long-term plans and policies.”

With council passing first reading on the spending plan, a public input session will be held Nov. 27 during the council meeting.

A report to the public input will then come forward Dec. 4, with second and third readings then coming forward a week later.

Residents are also invited to provide input on the budget by email at budgetinput@whitehorse.ca

Comments (9)

Up 2 Down 0

Tater on Nov 21, 2017 at 3:31 pm

Well, no mention of repairing the road surface (filling potholes) redecking the bridge to Riverdale. Oh yea, and the $160,000 for the artwork for the busses to look at in the new palace on the hill.

Up 5 Down 2

Josey Wales on Nov 19, 2017 at 9:25 pm

Hey Charles...good input and whilst I suspect your query to be rhetorical, my answer is all of it.

Up 11 Down 1

Charles on Nov 18, 2017 at 11:40 pm

'Mayor explains $20-M spending plans.' Sure glad he has an explanation; he seems to have an ever growing list of explanations and his brain must be in overdrive. Wonder what part of need for fiscal cut backs and responsible spending he doesn't understand?

Up 22 Down 0

Your welcome on Nov 16, 2017 at 5:16 pm

I am thinking we are due for another artificial residential lot shortage, resulting in a doubling of prices. Worked well for the city last time they needed funds!

Up 26 Down 5

Stop Curtis on Nov 15, 2017 at 9:52 pm

In Europe where it is has much greater humidity buildings last 200 years easily, here 50 years (semi-arid). Curtis talks about good traffic flow and then is going to jam up an already congested Range Rd -Two mile hill junction. Second Ave. is the only smooth flowing artery through the downtown that we have and he's got his sights set on buggering that up by having fire trucks backing out onto it. We won't even get into horribly managed Transit and touring work crews going to do something somewhere.

Up 28 Down 4

jc on Nov 15, 2017 at 9:18 pm

Here's the other side of the coin: Higher taxes; higher rents; higher prices; higher government raises. Madness!

Up 31 Down 4

Hugh Mungus on Nov 15, 2017 at 7:33 pm

Wow! YG is crying poor and COW is spending like a drunken sailor.

Up 25 Down 3

Josey Wales on Nov 15, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Wow....just like proverbial drunken sailors...
You forgot your monorail, indoor parasail stadium, and solar powered stainless steel graders.

The fiscal irresponsibility, complete arrogance, and antagonist approach to the citizens here that are not “in their click” is a great reason to throw all these personal agendas to the freakin curb.

Up 21 Down 3

yukon56 on Nov 15, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Enough is enough, who is paying US is who

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