FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 13, 2023
WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition raised questions about changes to the previously announced replacement for École Whitehorse Elementary School (EWES). The five-year capital plan now shows the Liberal government has delayed construction timelines for the new school and anticipates the earliest completion in 2028.
“This delay comes as a surprise to many of the stakeholders involved in this project, as last year’s budget projected construction to begin later this year,” said Education Critic Scott Kent. “Now that this project is delayed, we hope that the Government will reconsider the location that was chosen unilaterally.”
In the summer of 2022, the Yukon Government unilaterally announced the relocation of EWES to the Takhini Educational Reserve, right next to Takhini Elementary School. This location was chosen without any consultation with affected groups such as the Takhini School community, Takhini residents, the City of Whitehorse, or Softball Yukon.
Since the announcement was made, there have been several questions raised from the education community about the relocation, including the impact of putting Yukon’s largest elementary school on the same lot as another school, the loss of an important greenbelt in the Takhini neighbourhood, traffic concerns, and the potential loss of the three heavily used softball diamonds.
Liberal Ministers were not able to tell the Legislature if any consultation was done with the affected groups.
In addition, downtown residents signed a petition last fall urging the government to keep a school in their neighbourhood.
Due to these concerns from downtown residents, the Yukon Party also asked the Premier if the Yukon NDP requested a replacement school downtown as part of the renewed Confidence and Supply Agreement. The Premier refused to address the question and left the Minister of Education to respond. The minister did not answer the question.