The City of Whitehorse presented its proposed capital budget for 2024 to 2027 on Tuesday evening, which would see nearly $305 million in spending over four years.
Almost $55 million of the total proposed capital budget has already been confirmed — including some money from the city's reserve funds as well as external funding from grants and other levels of government. It will require an additional $250 million of external funding to complete some of the planned infrastructure projects.
The proposed budget also calls for $47 million of capital spending next year, with the city expected to draw down its reserves by approximately $15 million.
Mayor Laura Cabott said on Tuesday that the budget is "not extravagant, rather it's necessary."
Cabott reiterated how the city remains one of the fastest-growing municipalities in the country, but with some infrastructure that is nearing the end of its life.
"By making these difficult decisions today, we are setting the city up for success in the future so that we can deliver on the major projects that will support out city's growth well into the future," Cabott said.
The city has identified more than $7 million for 2024 and 2025 to do ventilation upgrades inside the Canada Games Centre's aquatic area, as well as repairs to the pool slide wall.
The plan would also see more than $14 million go toward the city's fleet and transportation maintenance. That includes repairs on the Two Mile Hill sidewalk.
About $360,000 has been set aside to replace playground equipment in parks.
Dealing with landslides on the escarpment
Cabott also spoke on Tuesday about the city facing "a number of pressures outside of our control" — including climate change.
For the past two years, landslides — and the threat of additional ones — along the escarpment closed Robert Service Way and the Millennium Trail for weeks at a time. Finding a permanent solution "will be one of the largest projects the city has event undertaken," according to Cabott.
An excavator helps clean up the debris from a landslide on Robert Service Way in May 2022. Another landslide closed the road again a year later, for several weeks. (City of Whitehorse)
The proposed budget earmarks around $57 million for "Robert Service Way Permanent Solution - Construction." The city, however, would be entirely reliant on outside funding, and it's not yet clear what the "permanent solution" will look like.
Cabott said the city has applied to the federal government's Disaster Mitigation Adaptation Fund.
"This ... budget is to actually dig down and start to do some design work on what's going to happen there, whether it's re-profiling the escarpment, whether it's trying to push the road [Robert Service Way] a little bit further," Cabott told reporters after Tuesday's council meeting.
"We're looking at all options."
The city will hear feedback about the proposed capital budget from residents on Nov. 27. Council will vote on Dec. 11.