Whitehorse City Councilors Prepare to Advance Wildfire Mitigation Strategy

    City councilors discussed advancing their Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategy at a city council meeting Monday night. The discussion revolved around awarding a $69,000 contract to a Yukon-based company to help implement the strategy goals.

    City councilors discussed advancing their Wildfire Risk Reduction Strategy at a city council meeting Monday night.

    The discussion revolved around awarding a $69,000 contract to Yukon-based TransNorthern Management Consulting to help implement the strategy, which would include coordinating better city planning to mitigate wildfire risks, conducting better forest management planning to deter the spread of wildfires and doing outreach to Whitehorse landowners around wildfire prevention.

    Councilor Dan Boyd says he's hoping a draft of the report can be implemented sooner to tackle wildfires in the territory earlier.

    "We won't be able to implement much this year and we won't be able to implement much next year. If we're not going to receive the strategy back until March of 2020, is there a possibility we could shorten that timeframe up or implement an interim report to create some action around it in the winter of 2020?".

     City of Whitehorse Environmental Services Coordinator Glenda Koh says she's not completely certain a final draft could be implemented sooner, however she confirmed to council that the funds being provided by the federal government are being administered by Yukoners.

    "Through the chair, this fund is provided by the Government of Canada.  The decision on funding are made by a local-advisory committee. My understanding is that the members of that committee are all Yukon-based individuals and representatives."

    Koh says the planning for the city's wildfire reduction strategy is over the next 20 years.

    "Part of the reason of the long timeline is because we have somewhat of a late start in 2019. Two of our important partners, Wildland Fire and Forest Management Branch,  tend to be busy through the summer until September so we wanted to make sure their was one full non-fire season (for preparation). One more piece of information is that this contract specifies it's a 20-year timeframe, which corresponds to our Official Community Plan timeframe. It is both a short-term and long-term plan."

    The city will vote whether to award the contract to TransNorthern Management Consulting next week.

     

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