Whitehorse Businesses Need Real Action on Ruinous Conditions Downtown

WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is asking Premier Ranj Pillai for an update regarding the review of Connective’s operations at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter and across the Yukon, as directed by a motion passed in the Yukon Legislative Assembly on May 1, 2024.

Last fall the Premier claimed the problems were outside the facility, and ‘inside the shelter there has been good work done’. Despite this defense of his Liberal government’s actions, the Coroner’s Inquest in the Spring of 2024 found major policy and training gaps inside the shelter and recommended a review. Amidst the ongoing Substance Use Health Emergency, the Premier should be acting on this direction immediately.

The Yukon Party is also extremely concerned by the lack of progress to curb violent and criminal behaviour outside the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter and improve conditions in the downtown core of Whitehorse. Last fall, the Premier admitted he should have taken the file over earlier from the Minister of Health and Social Services. It has been almost nine months since the Premier took over and according to businesses, nothing has changed, and the so-called ruinous conditions remain.  

Area residents and businesses have said property damage, vandalism, harassment, open substance use, and general crime and illegal behaviour have become the norm in the core of Whitehorse over the past few years. The conditions caused at least one long-time business to close its doors.

Businesses have once again notified the Premier and the government about the ‘terrible’ conditions in an email dated May 23, 2024. Businesses say nothing has changed despite the Premier’s intervention last fall and are demanding a plan ‘now’. They say downtown is well on its way to becoming a ‘boarded up ghost town.’

“It is clear that downtown Whitehorse businesses feel that they have nowhere else to turn,” said Leader Currie Dixon. “The Premier, who personally took over this file from the minister, appears out of ideas that will yield results. A motion passing unanimously in the Legislative Assembly, and a coroner’s inquest both call for a full review of the shelter’s operations. As we head into the summer months, the Premier needs to provide business owners with some hope that their businesses have a future in downtown Whitehorse.”


Tim Kucharuk
Media Director
(867) 689-7874

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