Whitehorse city council nixes ‘flaky’ art idea

Whitehorse City Council won't be using a creative art project to solicit citizens' ideas on sustainability.

The city of Whitehorse is reviewing its sustainability plan that will take it into 2017.

But the plans for that review have been scaled down considerably after council rejected the idea of using an art project to solicit citizens' ideas.

Last night the city's manager of environmental sustainability, Shannon Clohosey, presented council with a more modest approach, with a price tag of just $60,000 rather than the $100,000 plan that included the art project.

When the art idea was first pitched at a council meeting Feb. 17, some councillors scoffed at the idea.

Councillor Kirk Cameron worried it might be ‘flaky.’

He recalled a Yukon government art project with cryptic messages scrawled on sidewalks about poverty and homelessness. "A certain government in the territory, and I won't name which one, used a chalk option to relay certain messages to the community and it didn't go down too well," Cameron said.

Dave Stockdale also had qualms. "Is this a proven strategy, or is this someone's 'high-level, visionary thinking?"

At the meeting last night, Clohosey described an alternative approach.

"This third option proposes to retain the services to determine and implement a public engagement strategy that would focus on public engagement practices that the city has had some success with in the past,” Clohosey said.

Most councillors fully support the concept of sustainability.

But Dave Stockdale wants to know when the magic time would arrive.

"Will sustainability be a never-ending expense for us? Will we be doing this forever? Is there a perfect scenario in the world where we'll have reached this nirvana?"

Council unanimously approved the new recommendation.

As for when nirvana will arrive, that may fall outside of city council's purview.