Mark Rendell
Mark Rendell

City Briefs: Kennels out of Kam, Budget Wish-lists

The latest municipal action sees an unusually generous package to shift dog kennels, and councillor hopes for the 2016 budget.

Following a recent bylaw forbidding further kennel development in Kam Lake, the City is hoping to convince the Yellowknife Dog Trotters Association to relocate to the Engle Business District with a very generous package of benefits.

Since 1978, the association has run a kennel in Kam Lake, next to the new Grace Lake subdivision, that currently houses around 200 dogs. But as Kam Lake has become more residential in recent years, there have been increasing complaints about the kennel’s odours, noise and general safety.

To deal with this, the City is hoping to coax the association into moving to a 8000-square-metre lot in the yet undeveloped Engle Business District Phase III.

The content of the relocation package is still up for debate, but at yesterday’s Municipal Services Committee meeting, City administration presented a memo suggesting, among other things:

  • The price for the land in Engle should be reduced by up to 25 percent.
  • The City should offer tax rebates to the association for up to ten years.
  • The City should take on the bulk of cost associated with remediating the current site.
  • The City should level and blast the proposed site ahead of the move.

Some councillors expressed concern about offering such a generous package to a private business when NGOs don’t receive this level of assistance. “Every other user group in town will be watching this closely, and we need to make sure we aren’t establishing a double standard,” said Coun. Adrian Bell. There was also some concern about agreeing to anything before the cost of remediating the current site or preparing the new one is known.

The issue will come back to council for more discussion at the next City Council Meeting, on July 27.

NACC no show

After kicking up a fuss about $15,000 in cuts to their core funding from the City, representatives from NACC failed to show up to a July 6 meeting of the Grant Review Committee, organized largely at their request. “I haven’t heard why they missed the meeting,” said Coun. Rebecca Alty, who chairs the committee. Though she said she’d reach out to them to see if a follow-up meeting could be organized.

Boosting the budget

The draft budget for 2016/17 was delivered to councillors a few weeks back, and yesterday they had a chance to request additional line items. Councillors and other Yellowknifers have until the end of the month to make further budget line requests. Here are some of the things councillors are hoping for:

Mayor Mark Heyck wants funding for the Sombe K’e water park moved from 2017 to 2016. “I understand there may be some external funding available for that project, and I have a nice stack of letters from Yellowknife school children who would love to see that sooner rather than later.”

Coun. Linda Bussey asked the City to put more funding towards social development: “I clearly understand that we do not have a social development mandate; however, we are advocates and we’ve been very involved in social issues through our support for the day shelter, through the social issues committee and from the community advisory board… I think we need to start thinking about a separate budget line that would help us to plan and coordinate our efforts.”

Coun. Bob Brooks suggested adding $250,000 to the 2016 budget to help develop a trail system around the new Twin Pine Hill development and down to Bartram Court. There’s already $500,000 set aside for the trail, but this was based on cost estimates from ten years ago, “and it’s quite conceivable it won’t be sufficient to create a connective trail system in today’s dollars.”

Coun. Niels Konge recommended the 2016 budget focus more on land acquisition: “We don’t have a lot of land that’s on the market right now for single family homes; our stock has kind of dwindled. As part of the budget, I’d like to see how we could get more land on the market.”

Coun. Adrian Bell wants the City to invest in technology to help count cycling and pedestrian traffic: “I feel we missed the boat on 52 Ave. by not doing such a count before spending money on a permanent bike line, and I want to make sure we don’t make that mistake in the future.”

Coun. Cory Vanthuyne suggested looking into placing small water turbines inside the City’s water pipes as a source of clean energy – a newly developed technology being piloted in Portland, Oregon. “I don’t know much about it so I can’t go into detail… That said, knowing that the City has a forthcoming large project with regard to replacing our water intake line from the Yellowknife River in the next handful of years, 2020 I believe, I would like council and administration to give this some further consideration.”