Canadian Consulting Engineer

Whitehorse revitalizes its historic waterfront

Politicians, officials and First Nations representatives were on hand to celebrate the official completion last month of the revitalization of the waterfront in Whitehorse, capital of Yukon.

October 16, 2013   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Politicians, officials and First Nations representatives were on hand to celebrate the official completion last month of the revitalization of the waterfront in Whitehorse, capital of Yukon.

Work has been going on since 2008 on projects to revitalize the historic area along the Yukon River. The area was once a hub of activity in the 1900s when the only access to the town was by river and steam paddleboats would tie up at the wharf. When a highway was built after World War II, the once bustling docks fell into disrepair and were largely abandoned.

Now, 16 projects have been completed to make the riverfront a destination for locals and tourists. Construction has involved green space and trails, the restoration of heritage buildings and the construction of a roundhouse train shed for the tram that runs along the quay. Streets have been reconstructed and two new buildings have been added, including the Whitehorse Public Library and adjoining Kwanlin Dn Cultural Centre, completed in 2011-2012. David Nairne & Associates were the architects-engineers for these buildings.

EBA Engineering was engineering consultant on the reconstruction of the Whitehorse wharf. Richard Trimble, project manager at EBA, explains that all that was left of the original structure from the 1900s at the end of Main Street was some wood piles. Some of these wooden piles are still on display as historical artifacts beside the new wharf, but at the centre is a new fixed structure consisting of steel pipe piles drilled 20 metres into the sloped ground. The structure has to withstand huge ice loads in this northern latitude. The reconstructed wharf is 44 metres long and 13 metres wide and incorporates a small amphitheatre.

The entire $43-million Whitehorse Waterfront Revitalization project has been nominated for a Brownie Award at the Canadian Urban Institute’s annual Brownfields Conference to be held in Toronto on October 21-21.

Funding was provided by the governments of Canada and Yukon ($33.3 million), the Kwanlin Dn First Nation which had its ancestral home on the lands (8.1 million), and the City of Whitehorse (1.4 million).

Brad Cathers, Yukon Minister of Community Services, said at the opening: “The Whitehorse waterfront is now a vibrant and exciting place where Yukoners and visitors alike come to meet, play, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Yukon River. Years of planning, public consultation and government partnerships have helped transform the waterfront so that it can once again contribute to the economic, social and cultural wellbeing of Whitehorse and Yukon.”

photo caption

View of the new wharf on the Yukon River in downtown Whitehorse. Photo courtesy EBA Engineering/Tetratech.

Kwanlin Dn Cultural Centre and Whitehorse Public Library, Yukon. Photo courtesy Government of Yukon.


Print this page

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*