Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Taylor Blewett

PROGRESS ROLLING ALONG – Community Services Minister John Streicker, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell and Mayor Dan Curtis share a ride on a city bus Tuesday morning. Their destination was a press conference, during which they discussed the acquisition of two buses and several infrastructure projects.

VIP bus riders celebrate projects’ completion

On Tuesday morning, the Yukon’s member of Parliament, the territorial minister of Community Services and the mayor stepped onboard a city bus.

By Taylor Blewett on February 21, 2018

On Tuesday morning, the Yukon’s member of Parliament, the territorial minister of Community Services and the mayor stepped onboard a city bus.

They were headed for the Canada Games Centre (CGC) to make an infrastructure announcement in which their ride featured prominently.

Two new Whitehorse city buses have been purchased with federal and territorial funding.

The buses have been on the road for several months already.

Rather than announcing new funding – which press conferences often focus on – the politicians spoke to local media at the CGC about the completion of this and six other infrastructure projects in Whitehorse.

“The purchase of these two buses will help ensure the city is equipped to offer residents (the) public transit services they need to fulfill their personal and career goals and meet their daily needs,” said Yukon MP Larry Bagnell.’

He offered comments on behalf of Amarjeet Sohi, the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities.

Ottawa put up $890,000 and the Yukon government contributed almost $300,000 for the new buses.

They are replacements, rather than additions to the 15-bus Whitehorse fleet.

Development in Whistle Bend means expanded bus service in the neighbourhood, and more pressure on city buses, said Community Services Minister John Streicker.

While the new buses haven’t translated into any service expansion since they’ve hit the road, the minister said they are relieving pressure on the transit system as a whole.

The city already extended its weekday evening service a few years back, Mayor Dan Curtis pointed out.

While buses don’t run on Sundays, extending service to fill that gap “is just not something that would be viable or possible,” he said, citing “miniscule” traffic.

The city’s forthcoming transit master plan will determine future service changes, Curtis noted.

“I know that we’re constantly looking to have more efficiencies and getting more services out there.”

Service to country residential areas was tried many years ago, but was withdrawn due to a lack of ridership.

NDP Community Services critic Kate White told the Star she trusts the bus purchase will meet transit needs the city has identified.

However, she wants to know more about the future of infrastructure in the territory.

“We’re making announcements about money that’s already been spent, but we’re not talking about what the future looks like,” White said.

Indeed, the agreement to provide nearly $900,000 in federal funding to the City of Whitehorse through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund was announced under the previous government in 2016.

Yukon Party MLA Scott Kent pointed this out in an interview with the Star Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s good to see those types of projects built on some of the work that we started carrying forward. We’re obviously happy to see the buses delivered here now,” Kent said.

But White said the government needs to address other pressing infrastructure issues instead of broadcasting past accomplishments.

Greyhound Canada is slated to end its passenger bus service in the territory in the near future, she pointed out. Tuesday’s announcement made no mention of this.

“What I’d like to know is ... ‘What do you see? Do you see connectivity? Do you see people being able to get between point A and point B in the territory?’”

Bagnell did make reference to a planned $2 billion in federal funding that will support infrastructure projects in rural and northern communities.

That money hasn’t started flowing yet, but “that could be things like connectivity, which is very important in the north,” he said.

Tuesday’s announcement also celebrated the completion of six projects financed through the federal Gas Tax Fund, with contributions ranging from $360,000 to almost $83,000. These are:

• a Porter Creek connector path from McIntyre Creek to Pine Street;

• the transition to LED lighting at the CGC;

• a transition to LED lighting at the Takhini Arena;

• a replacement entrance for the Valleyview reservoir;

• improvements to the Burns Road storm water system; and

• reconstruction of the Schwatka Lake plane/boat launch.

Comments (13)

Up 0 Down 0

Max Mack on Feb 28, 2018 at 5:03 pm

I thought YTG wasn't in the transportation subsidy business (think Greyhound).

Up 0 Down 1

Hugh mungus on Feb 26, 2018 at 6:17 pm


Does any Yukon organization, private or public charge for parking?
I’ll answer for you: no.

The fact you didn’t finish grade 10 and can’t get a job in YG is no ones fault but your own.

Up 1 Down 0

mug shot on Feb 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm

The look on Dan's face says it all lol... "How bad is this bus omg when will it be over, I can't believe people actually ride these things... can't wait to get back into my golden suv... almost there... almost there..."

Up 3 Down 4

David Griffiths on Feb 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Wow! What a bunch of negative nelly's we have commenting on this story. If you all have such great ideas, why aren't you running for office.

Up 4 Down 0

Mike on Feb 23, 2018 at 7:09 am

After numerous year of asking Mr.Bagnell for help after a serious adverse drug reaction which left me bedridden for years, which is harming roughly 800,000 Canadians a year, and completely being ignored. I see that Larry could care less about real issues and only looks for photo ops to try to convince us he is here for us. He has played a politicians game with severely sick people and could care less. Retire Larry. You are no voice of the people.

Up 1 Down 1

jc on Feb 22, 2018 at 8:57 pm

Isn't that nice!

Up 4 Down 0

Barbara Collins on Feb 22, 2018 at 5:13 pm

So so - the VIP's celebrate a projects completion. Did they not celebrate
the new Salvation Army Centre of Hope as well??? How comes it is still empty???

Up 6 Down 2

Josey Wales on Feb 21, 2018 at 10:53 pm

Hmmm...funny how if your ‘hood needs new pipes, CAAAAaaaching PAY UP! However your beloved pet project pooville needs a bus and it is everyone’s issue.
Let them buy their own bus, or get Larry to buy the pipes needed to keep the bullshit flowing...make up your mind our lords.
In case y’all may desire a photo caption?
Scene of the three blind mice...one is jacked on red bull.

Or, “can you believe those foolish subjects think we care”
“Yes, yes Larry I can”...he says with a chuckle
“Tell me about the rabbits” blurts the king as he comes back to earth.

Up 7 Down 2

Peter on Feb 21, 2018 at 5:29 pm

Well! Now if YTG start charging YTG employees parking, it may force employees to consider taking the city transit. Reduce the traffic downtown and the nightmare traffic jam between 3 to 5 pm!

Up 5 Down 1

Federal Government not supporting our environment on Feb 21, 2018 at 5:09 pm

with fossil fuel buses. Not moving to electric motor powered buses.
John you are a environmental engineer and not concerned for our environment, especially having a downtown that is beside a river?
Wilf Carter

Up 9 Down 0

Herb Grolewegen on Feb 21, 2018 at 3:11 pm

Two new buses to relieve imagined pressure on the transit system from the horn of plenty. What pray tell happened with the two old buses and what was the mileage on them or is that privileged insider information because it's been asked before. Were they sold or kept for spare parts? Free is never free and someone's taxes are paying for these. Typical COW transparency (we have the answers you don't need to know) just trust us.

Up 7 Down 2

ProScience Greenie on Feb 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

More high carbon footprint photo ops. On the bright side, nice to see a city bus more full than usual.

Up 7 Down 0

Whistlebender on Feb 21, 2018 at 2:44 pm

So I've been in whistlebend for almost 3 years and bus service is essentially nonexistent. When will these dolts realize that there are thousand potential customers in WB right now?

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