$3M Whitehorse wharf complete
Construction of a major waterfront development in Whitehorse is now complete, but what comes next for the $3-million development is what matters most.
The new wharf is at the foot of Main Street in downtown Whitehorse, right in the middle of the city's tourist district.
It's 80 metres long, and once the landscaping is finished, its amphitheatre will hold 200 people.
Yukon Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor said she hopes it will become a venue for cultural events.
"The Whitehorse waterfront wharf is a major piece on the Whitehorse wharf, and of course it ties in very nicely with other cultural venues such as the Old Fire Hall to our right," Taylor said.
"Just behind us, we have the MacBride Museum that was recently expanded. And, of course, to our left we have the Roundhouse and then the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre."
The waterfront was a focal point of life in the city in the first half of the last century. The train station and riverboat docks were busy places as passengers and freight bound for the Klondike were loaded and offloaded.
The territorial government's project manager, Christine Lambert, said the wharf and other improvements have been 25 years in the making. She says she’s proud to be a part of it.
"I'm born and raised in Whitehorse. To be part of a project like this that is enriching our town with culture and history, and the ability to have an event right down on the waterfront in a historical place, it means a lot to me," she said.
Main Street businesspeople also see a lot of potential in the wharf.
Mary Jane Warshawski of the Main Street Yukon Society said lots of effort should be put into making it a busy place.
"This is the first, the ground step. Now with great hope the city, other proponents will be able to build on this and create something that's vibrant and alive, not big and empty," she said.
Warshawski said personally, she would like to see Vancouver's Granville Island used as a model for Whitehorse's waterfront activities.
Whatever it's actually used for, Warshawski said she wants the development to be a key part of the riverfront revitalization.