Whitehorse City Council set to debate $65M budget

Whitehorse city councillors begin debate Monday night on the city's $65 million budget, and a funding request from Mt. Sima operators continues to be a contentious issue.

Councillors to consider funding request from Mt. Sima operators

Whitehorse city councillors are set to debate the city's $65 million budget Monday night. Councillors will discuss further funding for the Mt. Sima ski hill at a special meeting Wednesday. (CBC)

Whitehorse city councillors begin debate Monday night on the city's $65 million budget.

While there is no money in the budget for the cash-strapped Mt. Sima ski hill, councillors say they are willing to discuss the hill and whether it has a future. 

Operators of the ski hill and adventure park shocked city councillors recently with a demand for $400,000 just to make it through the summer. Councillor Kirk Cameron said that while he supports Sima, taxpayers are already looking at a 3.8 per cent hike.

"To add possibly two per cent more to fund Sima was just not in the cards is what I'm hearing," said Cameron.

Councillor Betty Irwin said Sima operators simply must cut costs.

"I don't want to see Sima close. I mean I think it's a wonderful facility, but under the way it's been operating I don't think it's sustainable," she said.

Councillor Dave Stockdale said he's astounded at the latest funding demands, but says the taxpayers can't just walk away from the investment.

"I don't mind the city subsidizing a little on the ski hill operation, but it has to be a three-way operation: city, YTG [Yukon Territorial Government] and the users."

Stockdale said the Sima funding question won't be on the agenda again until a special meeting Wednesday night with senior city managers.