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Float plane owners want action on Whitehorse dock shortage

The city says more docks can't be added without more parking along the narrow Schwatka Lake shoreline.

City says more docks can't be added without more parking along the narrow Schwatka Lake shoreline

Dozens of people turned out for an update from the city on progress improving facilities at the Schwatka Lake float plane docks. (Dave Croft/CBC)

City officials were told to move ahead with plans to improve float plane facilities at Schwatka Lake at a public meeting Friday.

The waiting list for docks is now six to nine years, according to the city.

In the meantime, space for parking has run out as public use in the area increases.

Float plane owner Iain de la Mare said he's been on the waiting list for a dock at Schwatka Lake for about five years.

He credits the city for making improvements at the site in recent years, but he said progress is stalled over the need for more parking along the narrow strip of lakeshore.

"I feel like it's critical that we get something in place now because the steps that have been taken so far have only increased the use without providing any parking," said de la Mare.

He was referring to a new boat dock and other improvements in the area.

Float plane owners Kyle Cameron, left, and Iain de la Mare say the improvements are needed. (Dave Croft/CBC)

It's a matter of money

De la Mare, an engineer, said solving the parking problem would be easy to fix. And he said growing congestion on and around the busy roadway is a safety issue.

"If you go down there on a summer day there's nowhere to park. There's kids running around everywhere," said de la Mare.

"It's a gravel parking lot," he said, "you need a couple of them and all these problems go away."

City planner Erica Beasley said no more float plane docks can be added until there's more parking.

But the issue is finding money to pay for it.

"I've done that in the past for parking areas," said Beasley.

"It's not a sexy story. Funders don't really, they don't really want to fund parking," she said.

Beasley said the city has little access to money other than it's own revenues. She said if people know of sources that specifically fund aviation projects, they should let her know.

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