Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

DETERIORATING FAST – The unused trolley tracks and related wood infills are deteriorating in several places, including at the foot of Strickland Street, as seen here this morning. The trolley isn’t running this summer because the Yukon government has cancelled its previous funding of the operation.

Trolley tracks turning hazardous, minister is told

The city has notified the Yukon government about safety concerns relating to the condition of the waterfront trolley tracks, city manager Linda Rapp told council Monday.

By Chuck Tobin on June 19, 2019

The city has notified the Yukon government about safety concerns relating to the condition of the waterfront trolley tracks, city manager Linda Rapp told council Monday.

Rapp said a letter was sent late last month to Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn. It advised him that the city is receiving concerns from citizens about the state of the tracks.

While the minister is out of the territory, his deputy minister did respond with assurances the matter would be dealt with, she said.

Rapp said city crews have flagged problem areas along the tracks that run parallel to the Yukon River.

If the city doesn’t see anything happening, it will definitely be checking into it again, she said.

Coun. Laura Cabbot raised the safety concern at Monday’s meeting.

There are areas where the railway ties are rotting, she noted, with nails and other material protruding out up to half an inch.

Cyclists, walkers and runners frequently cross over the tracks, she pointed out.

The councillor said she realizes maintenance is the responsibility of the Yukon government, but the tracks are inside the city.

Some of the problem areas are down by the Kanoe People and behind Earl’s restaurant at the Waterfront Station, she said.

Cabbot said she is looking for a quick fix, perhaps a cold asphalt overlay on top of the areas where there are safety issues.

The Yukon government had been funding the operation and maintenance of the the trolley since it began running in 2001.

Mostyn announced in a letter to the MacBride Museum early last year that there would not be any more government funding for the trolley after 2018.

He reaffirmed that position earlier this year.

Continuing to fund operations and maintenance of the trolley is just not fiscally responsible, Mostyn explained in an interview with the Star in late April.

He pointed out the government had spent $5.4 million on O & M since 2000, and the trolley only ran half-time last year, and only along the portion of track that has been refurbished from the Roundhouse to Rotary Peace Park.

Although MacBride was informed that 2018 would be the last year of funding, it did apply last fall for $193,000, of which $107,000 would be for operations and the remainder for ongoing maintenance.

Mostyn denied the application.

MacBride agreed to take over operation of the trolley from the Miles Canyon Railway Society in 2017.

The society indicated in 2016 it could no longer handle management of the trolley because it was beginning to have issues with the maintenance of the trolley and the tracks.

Mostyn’s decision to eliminate funding raised the eyebrows of many who saw the trolley as a large benefit to local tourism at a reasonable price.

Comments (18)

Up 0 Down 0

Mick on Jun 25, 2019 at 4:36 pm

@ Max Mack
Yes, lets develop a condo that is 1 meter wide and 176km long...said no one ever.

Up 11 Down 0

Max Mack on Jun 24, 2019 at 12:39 pm

"Dump the tracks and use the real estate for modern development."
That might be entirely the point of this engineered crisis.

Up 17 Down 2

Danny on Jun 24, 2019 at 8:22 am

Why is the City calling on YG to complain and asking them to fix it? Why doesn't the City fix it?

Up 9 Down 4

Yukonmax on Jun 24, 2019 at 6:46 am

@Groucho... "It would create jobs, jobs, jobs"
If only it would be to train and employ their own, wouldn't that be great?

Up 4 Down 17

Joe on Jun 23, 2019 at 6:14 pm

Dump the tracks and use the real estate for modern development. Trolley is a waste of money. Whitehorse businesses are driving tourists away from downtown anyway (Walmart parking ban is perfect example), so why subsidize a useless seasonal trolley.

Up 17 Down 1

Steven on Jun 23, 2019 at 9:20 am

I very much enjoy the real estate conspiracy theory. It wouldn't surprise me at all if that is what actually happens. But maybe (...?) it's just normal wear and tear over 10+ years. Kanoe People is right there, and I imagine cars, trucks, vans, and trailers driving over those untreated wooden ties over and over again does some damage. The same thing is happening at the KDCC crossings (and all along First where there is parking for the KDCC) only less so because it hasn't been open as long.

Whoever owns the tracks should fix them, regardless of whether or not the trolley will run (which I'm sure it will again eventually), and maybe Kanoe People and the KDCC should contribute some money because the damage is directly related to the traffic into their businesses.

Up 15 Down 2

My Opinion on Jun 22, 2019 at 1:20 pm

That picture does not show a problem with the tracks. That is only the road crossing and is not at all expensive to change and should have been maintained.

Up 15 Down 6

Groucho d'North on Jun 22, 2019 at 12:42 pm

I have heard the word 'casino' whispered in some circles, and I suspect that would be an ideal location for such a thing considering only first nations have the ability to create a new casino in the Yukon. It would create jobs, jobs, jobs, a new revenue stream for the FN governments and their Ec-Dev operations and more taxes for the governments. Win, win, win. Anybody want to bet?

Up 21 Down 3

Yukoner on Jun 21, 2019 at 8:39 am

Wilf, this is the first time I've ever agreed with you. Turnover is atrocious at the City. How much does it cost taxpayers? Seems like they have enough staff, I see plenty of City workers out there, but mostly at downtown coffee shops enjoying their "15 minute" breaks. Keep those economic wheels rolling right?

Up 25 Down 6

Wilf Carter on Jun 20, 2019 at 2:54 pm

City of Whitehorse has had the highest staff turn over in the last seven than ever before.

Up 38 Down 4

Max Mack on Jun 20, 2019 at 10:13 am

Government drops funding for the trolley and, as if playing its part, the city subsequently complains that the state of the trolley tracks constitute a safety issue.

Given that the trolley tracks lie on prime real estate, what do you think YTG's response will be?

Up 8 Down 0

Yukon Dude on Jun 20, 2019 at 9:55 am

Yup, destroyed, everyone freak out and start the blame game. zzz

Up 38 Down 5

Oya on Jun 20, 2019 at 7:03 am

....and so it begins. The tracks will soon be removed to make way for more lucrative opportunities for the old boys club. How convenient for it to become a safety issue - that will get the ball rolling much sooner than later.

Up 35 Down 3

Jim on Jun 19, 2019 at 10:39 pm

All sounds like a setup to get rid of the tracks. Then the people looking to exploit the land they are good to go.

Up 31 Down 4

Snowball on Jun 19, 2019 at 9:44 pm

Oh for god's sakes. Doesn't the city have any real problems to deal with?? First we have the climate "emergency" (it's a real problem but certainly not an emergency yet) and now we have tripping hazards. Everything else in the city must be tickity-boo for such ridiculous things to become issues at city council. What's the next hot button issue, cat leash laws?

Up 31 Down 6

charles on Jun 19, 2019 at 7:31 pm

Why fix the Tracks? The Drolley is not running anyway.Just an other Piece of History that lastet 15 years. The Land grabbers are coming. Something big is going to be built there very soon. Let us all guess. I bet on a Waterfront Condo Complex or a Boutique Hotel as they call it now.

Up 23 Down 8

Wilf Carter on Jun 19, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Is the minister in Canada because he spent three months or so in Europe. But he still collected his pay check. Liberals do not meet with the voters. Our MLA who is this minister has not visited the voters.

Up 4 Down 33

Michael Storm on Jun 19, 2019 at 5:18 pm

This hazard should be gone as soon as possible.

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