Whitehorse Daily Star

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WARNING TO PROPERTY OWNER – This notice posted on the Lodgepole Lane property by the Whitehorse Fire Department in April 2021 called attention to the risk of fi re or accidental injury.

Property is ‘complete chaos’

Whitehorse bylaw officials say there are cautiously optimistic that a long-running saga over a property needing a cleanup on Lodgepole Lane is making progress.

By T.S. Giilck on September 22, 2023

Whitehorse bylaw officials say there are cautiously optimistic that a long-running saga over a property needing a cleanup on Lodgepole Lane is making progress.

The city has been working with the owner of the property since at least 2017, council members were told Monday after Coun. Ted Laking raised the subject.

“This has persisted with complaints for a number of years now,” he said. “You can see quite clearly that oil is seeping into the ground.

“What kind of powers or abilities exist for some kind of action to be taken?

“If this type of activity was happening in Riverdale or Whistle Bend, what action would be taken?” he asked.

The property is across the Alaska Highway from where Centennial Street intersects with the highway.

Krista Mroz, the director of Community Services, told Laking the city is in regular contact with the property owners and that she thought progress was being made.

“It’s certainly moving a little more slowly than we would like, but this file has been open for a good number of years now, and we’ve seen more progress in the last four months than we’ve seen in the last two years.”

Laking questioned that, saying he was surprised the situation was allowed to persist with oil leaking into the ground on the property.

“What would the impact be on ground contamination and water?” he asked.

While there is some contamination of the site, Mroz said, the amount isn’t sufficient to have it officially declared a contaminated site under government regulations.

Laking also asked “what tools are in the toolkit” for handling the situation.

“How can we be sure that progress towards cleaning up the site continues? How are we measuring success?”

Mroz said the bylaw department is in contact with the owners on a weekly basis and continues to apply pressure to remedy the situation.

“This has been a tricky file, and it just comes down to maintaining a relationship with the owners.”

At least one neighbour isn’t happy with the town’s response.

Kimpton Gagnon told the Star Thursday afternoon, “I just want to say that it’s not only an eyesore but a legitimate incident.

“There is contamination on the property, and it is continuing. None of the work done has been permitted or in compliance with safety procedures.”

The contamination, Gagnon added, “is spreading in Porter Creek and most likely in groundwater.

“If asbestos was in the building that was demolished, I and my family and the neighbours are being exposed to lethal contaminants.

“Bylaw stated that I knew what I was getting myself into when I purchased the house and that I need to stop complaining and deal with it.”

Gagnon said he’s lived next-door to the property in question for four years, but said he’s been told the file dates back nearly 40 years.

“It’s complete chaos,” he said. “I bought the property on the premise it was going to get cleaned up next door.”

Comments (4)

Up 7 Down 1

Doesn't even begin to address it on Sep 28, 2023 at 10:27 am

Aside from 'hereby' misspelled, this order is very specific to risk of fires. It seems that all the property owner has to do is put locks on any buildings to prevent entry. As others have said, this property has been a mess and a risk going back years. Changes to the property maintenance by-law was approved in November 2022 and 'could' have been worded to deal with problems such as this one - maybe Councillor Laking should be looking at that by-law, as he was in office when the changes were passed

Up 16 Down 1

Oldman on Sep 26, 2023 at 5:02 pm


I'd love to hear more - I left the Bylaw Department years ago (after you) and the property was still an ongoing issue. It never ended during your term, (Taylor?) during the Pruden term and it's still an ongoing issue. It's the gift that keeps giving!?

Up 2 Down 51

Nathan Living on Sep 24, 2023 at 12:26 pm

It concerns that the City is openly bullying a property owner who is trying to comply with bylaws.

Very shanefull.

Up 42 Down 0

Guncache on Sep 23, 2023 at 8:47 pm

Since 2017, ha, ha. I left the city Bylaw department in 1994. We were dealing with this property way back then. At least 30 years

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