Whitehorse Daily Star

Trails committee on the path toward disbandment

The city’s trails and greenways committee could be disbanded as early as next week.

By Stephanie Waddell on September 7, 2017

The city’s trails and greenways committee could be disbanded as early as next week.

Doug Hnatiuk, the city’s manager of parks and community development, brought forward the recommendation Tuesday evening.

He did so after informing committee members and then speaking publicly of the plans in July.

In his report to council Tuesday, and as he explained in an earlier interview, the group, which has provided recommendations to council around local trail development, has served the purpose it was formed for.

With the 2007 trail plan reaching its 10-year “sunset”, Hnatiuk said, it was the right time for the committee to wrap up its work.

The body had been formed out of the trail plan as the implementation called for groups in each neighbourhood to be formed to work on implementation for their specific area.

The trails and greenway committee, meanwhile, was overseeing the work of the neighbourhood groups. It brought forward recommendations on the overall implementation.

The Whitehorse North (including areas north of Crestview) and Whitehorse South (areas south of Robert Service Way) neighbourhood trail groups are continuing with some work.

Under questioning by Coun. Samson Hartland, Hnatiuk confirmed that.

He noted that with an anticipated new trail plan to be done in 2019, it’s possible the committee or another such group could be formed to work toward implementation of the new plan.

Meanwhile, Coun. Rob Fendrick was quick to commend the work of those who have served on the committee over the years. He noted the efforts that have gone into further developing the city’s extensive trail network.

Keith Lay, who heads up the Active Trails Whitehorse Association, urged the city to ensure that any decisions around trail development and policies around trails be put to the public.

As he pointed out, applications to build trails will now go through city administration rather than first going to the committee for discussion.

“Those applications need to be open to the public,” Lay said. He again emphasized the need for public input on trails.

Council will vote on whether to disband the committee at next week’s meeting.

Coun. Dan Boyd was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Comments (4)

Up 8 Down 9

Supporter Snowmobile Riders on Sep 9, 2017 at 7:28 pm

Please take the time to visit the Klondike Snowmobile Association website. This association is committed to protecting trails for it's members within the City of Whitehorse.

The following updates on the KSA website provide their position on the Whitehorse Trail and Greenways Committee and the Whistle Bend Perimeter Trail.

Whitehorse Trails and Greenways Committee Update
Over the past several years the volunteer based Whitehorse Trails and Greenways Committee has been providing advise and recommendations to the City of Whitehorse with regards to trail planning and designating in the City of Whitehorse. The committee was supported and attended by volunteers from several groups around Whitehorse, including the Klondike Snowmobile Association. Unfortunately in recent months city council has chosen to ignore the recommendations of the committee supported by many and instead cater to a few vocal individuals. City Councillors and the Mayor of Whitehorse have since acknowledged this failure, and made it known that based on these actions by city council there is no longer any reason to continue with the committee, which is now in the process of disbanding. The Klondike Snowmobile Association would like to thank all volunteers for their time spend serving the committee.

Whistle Bend Trails
The perimeter multi-use trail around Whistle Bend was initially developed as a motorized multi-use trail for residents in the new Whistle Bend area to travel around Whistle Bend and for motorized trail users to use as an “out and away” trail to gain access to Whitehorse’s large motorized multi-use trail network. City council has now changed this to a non-motorized trail, despite recommendations from the Whitehorse Trails and Greenways Committee, the Klondike Snowmobile Association, and a variety of other user groups, in total representing thousands of Whitehorse residents. This means that snowmobilers and other motorized trail users in Whistle Bend now live in “The Wilderness City” but are left with few if any options for snowmobiling from their house to the trail network around Whitehorse. If you have an opinion on this matter please contact the City of Whitehorse, http://www.whitehorse.ca/about-whitehorse/contact-us.

Up 14 Down 12

Salar on Sep 7, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Oh there's Keith...wondering where he was these days.....I haven't been on the trails lately (because folks aren't allowed to do anything on them) so I hadn't seen him in a while.

Up 18 Down 12

I wish on Sep 7, 2017 at 6:00 pm

The Keith Lay and the anti everything crowd would get a different hobby. Preferably one in Ontario. We should be encouraging people to get outside and explore the Yukon. Build more trails. More camping spots.

Up 12 Down 6

Miles Ocean on Sep 7, 2017 at 5:33 pm

There is much deception here!
There is a lot of unfinished work left but this committee will be disbanded by council for reasons that will not be disclosed to the public. Council finally had enough and they had to go.

The mayor said he (and council?) failed this committee. Some truth in this because the chair of the committee could not reel in the bullying and abusive behavior.

If you ask the right people they will tell you what was going on. The conduct of some committee members may continue unchecked as they are trail stewards and they have an agenda. An example is the Whistle Bend Perimeter trail which can still be used by snow machines, essentially one group has pressured council and this group will not look at options that protects the property values and enjoyment of residents who live near the trail.

It's appalling really that this type of thing can go on.

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