Whitehorse Daily Star

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Keith Lay

Public not consulted about trail: association

A member of the Active Trails Whitehorse Association criticized the city at council’s meeting Monday for not communicating with the public properly.

By Chuck Tobin on June 10, 2022

A member of the Active Trails Whitehorse Association criticized the city at council’s meeting Monday for not communicating with the public properly.

Keith Lay was focused on a new trail developed behind Riverdale without the public being consulted.

The Pee Wee Hill trail connects with the Lower Riverdale Trail, and from the top of Pee Wee Hill, the Hidden Lakes can be seen.

Lay provided council with a three-page summary of his concerns, a portion of which he read out at Monday’s meeting.

The city Trail Plan developed in 2020 gave hope the city would honour its commitment made in 2017 to improve the Pee Wee Hill trail, Lay said.

“There was no clear statement that ‘trail improvements’ might involve new trail construction in the Pee Wee Hill area, an action that in 2017, the City said would be unsustainable,” he told council.

“However, in September of 2021, the city did a complete about-face and built a new ‘switchback trail’ adjacent to the Pee Wee Hill trail with the help of the Contagious Mountain Bike Club, without consulting those who were aware of the 2017 commitment,” Lay said.

“The City simply ignored its previous commitment, demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of what constitutes proper process.”

He said park management will argue the Trail Development Policy allows it to build new trails without notification if they are l,500 metres or fewer in length.

The city is surely aware the Chadburn Lake Park Management Plan says that in areas of intensive recreation, new trails may only be considered where a substantial need can be demonstrated and impact on other users’ safety and enjoyment can be minimized, he said.

Lay told council the city built the new switchback trail in an area of intensive recreation without first providing the public with the required information that would demonstrate adherence to the Chadburn Lake Park Management Plan.

That amounts to a breach of proper process and makes one question why such plans are developed only to see them ignored when it is convenient to do so, he said.

Lay said the new switchback trail certainly qualifies as an initiative that should have been communicated to the public.

Apparently, since there were no set timelines for the construction of the new trail, it was not communicated to the public, he said.

Lay noted the 2020 Trail Plan mentions the need to improve communication of new trails to the public and user groups.

Instead of doing the maintenance on the Pee Wee Hill trail as committed to in 2017, he said, the city built the new trail.

Lay noted the East of the Yukon River Trail Plan provides no indication of the alternate trail adjacent to the Pee Wee Hill Trail so one has to wonder how construction of the switchback trail is in keeping with the plan.

The city’s sustainability plan, said Lay, says citizens should be involved in decisions that affect them and act as stewarts of the environment.

“These are impressive words, but they are just words if the city does not follow through on its commitments,” he pointed out.

“In our view, proper process was not followed when the city built the alternate Pee Wee Hill Trail. The public was not given the required and appropriate consultation it deserved.”

Lay said he would like to see city council direct administration to prepare an amendment to the Trail Development Policy to ensure the public is informed about new proposed trail development of any length, and is given the opportunity to comment.

“... We encourage city council to ensure that administration does this sooner rather than later,” Lay said.

Comments (15)

Up 1 Down 0

Braedon on Dec 3, 2022 at 7:17 pm

Mr Lay needs to move to a place with all the rules he wants already in place.

Up 3 Down 3

Nathan Living on Jun 14, 2022 at 4:14 pm


Brilliant balanced perspective!

Thank you

Up 4 Down 3

dave on Jun 14, 2022 at 10:11 am

You can't consult the public or your tax dollars stand around leaning on their shovels, in orange construction jackets smoking all day.

Up 27 Down 15

Lawrence Bredy on Jun 13, 2022 at 9:07 am

Keith...stick a sock in it already!

Up 17 Down 17

Woodcutter on Jun 12, 2022 at 7:31 pm

OMFG Hey old Timer, ya need to get over it, back in the day, I cut lots of trails there abouts with my chainsaw, pickup truck, dog and some smokable goodies. I sure didn't wait around for any plan and city employees to waste tax payers money. I bet I even sold you a few loads.

Up 30 Down 6

BnR on Jun 12, 2022 at 5:18 pm

At first blush, Mr Lays seemingly endless litany of concern over the City’s approach to trail management within the CofW could easily be written off as frivolous. However, given the City’s penchant for not following process on almost everything, we could probably do with more people like Mr Lay keeping the City honest.
Something like the trail mentioned in the article may seem like a nothing burger, until it happens in your neighbourhood, or right next to you.
The City needs to concern itself less with vanity projects like a new mega-city hall, and more with the nuts and bolts such as enforcing bylaws, effective snow removal etc.

Up 19 Down 20

Silly Liberals… Cultural fascism is for little dick-taters… on Jun 11, 2022 at 9:59 am

Why must we “… act as ‘stewarts’ of the environment…”? Is this some sort of “cultural” distinction?

Some people get to be STEWARDS of the land while others get to be STEWARTS of the land. Yo, dude! I saw what you did their by picking up that garbage - You pulled a STEWART. Way to go STEWART!

We are one! Diversity matters! Wear your uniqueness with Pride but conform to the narrative of chaos, division, stratification, relative power, coercion, psychological and physical violence… And so on… It’s called Doomsday Liberalism… A virulent form of democracy in which the presumptions of culture are your’s to bear…

Resist their attempts to make you a STEWART! Next thing you know there will STEWARDESSES etc…

Up 58 Down 13

My Opinion on Jun 11, 2022 at 12:56 am

What amazes me is why the City Of Whitehorse even listens to this clown. He keeps talking about we as if there is anybody else in his club. He’s been kicked out of trails meetings and counsel many times. Why does the city even keep listening to him.

Up 35 Down 4

Nathan Living on Jun 10, 2022 at 7:06 pm

So, city staff have guiding documents and a plan through consultation that they then totally ignore because they can get away with it.

Think that seems about right for the way the City does business.
Seems that city administration and council need to be reminded that they work for us.

Also, no one asked me to approve councils term from 3 to 4 years.

Up 45 Down 8

George Moss on Jun 10, 2022 at 5:13 pm

Yup I believe there are lotsa trails in Stanley park and you walk the streets of Toronto for days and never walk the same one….as a matter of fact there is a trail that leads south to Dawson creek and places way past that, I would be tickled pink if about 5000 people just packed up and used that trail south.

Up 17 Down 17

Mitch Holder on Jun 10, 2022 at 5:00 pm

So then, they are prioritizing say, a trail, over censoring the Covid talk? An opioid crisis. Food insecurity? Transportation obstruction? Housing EMERGENCY?

Up 85 Down 7

Pierre on Jun 10, 2022 at 4:51 pm

I hear there are excellent trails down on Vancouver Island.

Up 87 Down 5

Dusty Trail on Jun 10, 2022 at 4:43 pm

Really? Communication from the city about trails. This seems like a waste of time. Let's get things like snow plowing and garbage pick up right before we build any new trails!

Up 83 Down 7

Edie rue on Jun 10, 2022 at 4:22 pm

Clearly a slow news day. Someone’s fight for a trail, or lack of trail, or whatever they are talking about, nearly put me to sleep. I’ll use this story to get my kids to sleep tonight.

Up 118 Down 11

Mr Facts on Jun 10, 2022 at 4:19 pm

This whole guys legacy is worrying about a nothing called Pee-Wee Hill.

Heres some facts. When we were kids we would GT, crazy carpet, or whatever down that hill. Sure we got hurt sometimes, who cares? It's called life and having fun. We didn't need useless trail signs and bureaucrats telling us what we should and shouldn't do.

Man I miss the old Yukon. Everyone now is so scared of their own shadow, it's pathetic.

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