Statement from Premier Pillai on updates on 405 Alexander

Premier Ranj Pillai has issued the following statement: 

“At a meeting last week with Walter and Sylvia Streit, owners and operators of Whitehorse’s Alpine Bakery, I promised to provide a public update about the efforts that the Government of Yukon is taking to address the situation around 405 Alexander Street in downtown Whitehorse.

“Our government believes in building communities that work for all Yukoners: young families, retirees, First Nations Canadians, immigrants, business owners and patrons and vulnerable populations.

“Our government is committed to working towards a solution on behalf of those we were elected to represent. That means balancing the needs of citizens to access low-barrier essential services with the rights of those living in the downtown core. 

"I am committed to working with partners to address concerns around 405 Alexander so that downtown residents can feel safe, downtown businesses can thrive and that users of the services provided at 405 Alexander can have their needs met in a culturally appropriate way that minimizes harm, is supportive of individual needs and gets people back on their feet.

"As I have stated in the legislative assembly, inside 405 Alexander, facility users are receiving and engaging in meaningful, appropriate services and behaving in a way that is a testament to their willingness and desire to heal. However, on Alexander Street, we are seeing criminal behaviour, often by individuals who have chosen the area as a gathering place without seeking the services offered by Connective and the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN) within the facility’s doors.

"We value the contributions, Whitehorse business owners, along with countless others, make in our community. Without entrepreneurship, our downtown would be less vibrant and without their commitment to improving Whitehorse’s downtown core, our city would not be the city we know and love.

"As promised, here are the steps that our government has taken recently to address the situation around 405 Alexander:

  • We have removed privacy benches from outside of 405 Alexander, which encouraged gathering and made sightlines difficult for community partners like EMS and the RCMP.
  • We are working with CYFN to pilot a downtown safety outreach initiative that will be a supportive response addressing safety and security in the downtown area.
  • We are working with partners such as the City of Whitehorse to improve garbage collection in the area.
  • We are in discussions with local non-profits and partners to provide alternative locations for food services.
  • We have engaged with community safety partners, including the RCMP and CYFN, to address outside and after-hours gatherings by individuals who are not clients of 405 Alexander.
  • We have scheduled meetings with partners, including representatives from facility operators Connective and CYFN, the City of Whitehorse, the RCMP and other service providers to continue to implement solutions.
  • We are working with local business owners to discuss the solutions they would like to see implemented in the short, medium and long term.

"In the short term, the Government of Yukon will be:

  • Continuing to work with community partners to discuss de-centralizing services where appropriate.
  • Launching a managed alcohol program.
  • Continuing to work with community partners including Kwanlin Dün First Nation, the Ta'an Kwäch'än Council, the City of Whitehorse and CYFN to determine implementation responsibilities moving forward, especially around areas like cultural programming, construction and maintenance of public washroom facilities, garbage collection and infrastructure maintenance.
  • Holding downtown safety meetings to seek input and collaborative efforts from the community.
  • Continue to support clients in finding permanent housing by providing assistance navigating the Yukon Housing Corporation’s intake process, as recommended in the Vink report.

"I want to express the Government of Yukon’s willingness to continue working with local businesses, downtown residents, 405 Alexander clients and staff and service providers to find a solution that meets the needs of all parties involved.

"I look forward to sharing additional updates with the public as this work progresses."





Media contact 

Renée Francoeur 
Cabinet Communications 

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