Homeowners need not apply

Murray Biggin wants to sell his $30,000 trailer and move into the Canada Games athletes’ village.

Murray Biggin wants to sell his $30,000 trailer and move into the Canada Games athletes’ village.

Before he sells, the 75-year-old single man wants confirmation that he’ll actually get an apartment in the 48-unit village — which has become subsidized seniors housing.

But the Housing Corporation wants him to sell before they’ll confirm him.

Enter the catch-22.

“The bottom line was I had to sell the trailer before they would put me on their list, before I would get confirmation of accommodation,” said Biggin on Wednesday. “I said, ‘No, I’m not going to do that.’”

While the two sides remain at odds, heating fuel costs are draining Biggin’s old-age pension income and putting him “at my limit,” he said.

“If you have to sell it, you’d probably have to go rent — and that’s more expensive than where I’m at now — or live with friends,” said Biggin.

“There’s no solution there that’s an easy one.”

Because Biggin owns real estate he doesn’t meet the criteria for the village, said Yukon Housing Corporation spokesman Don Rutledge.

“Right now, if you own a house you do not qualify for social housing,” he said.

But the corporation’s board of directors has asked its staff to review eligibilities with assets, said Rutledge.

That process is “well on the way,” with an option paper that includes the issue of home ownership being prepared for the board, he said.

Here’s the rub for Biggin.

Victims of abuse and rural homeowners that otherwise qualify for subsidized housing are offered guaranteed spots and then given six months to sell their homes.

Biggin knows that and thinks the rules should be changed to allow everyone the same opportunity.

On Wednesday, Liberal leader Arthur Mitchell challenged Housing Corp. Minister Jim Kenyon if he is “prepared to change the policy.”

The Housing Corporation is responsible for setting the rules, said Kenyon.

Thirty-one of the 48 units are already spoken for at the village, said Rutledge.

He couldn’t give a timeline for the review’s completion.

Expensive mould

The leaky re-roof at the still mouldy Thomson Centre cost taxpayers $1.46 million.

It was paid on an hourly basis rather than a set price the contractors involved had to meet.

Superior Roofing of Whitehorse received the bulk of the money — $1.23 million — to fix the roof.

That contract was publicly tendered by the property management agency.

But the rest of the contracts weren’t.

Northern Cadworks received $112,058 in sole-sourced contracts from property management for the roof and exterior overhaul at the Centre.

Dorward Engineering received $27,939 for “condition assessment” work.

And Deloitte and Touche got $14,925 for an “external review” of the building.

This week, the Liberals called on the government to release air quality testing of mould levels in the Whitehorse General hospital, both the old and new Carmacks schools and the Thomson Centre.

They also demanded a list of the number of employees who have taken long-term disability or are collecting workers’ compensation benefits as a result of mould-related workplace problems.

Allergists keenly await the response.

Klondikers, Cadillacs

 and quorum

The Klondike riding is costing taxpayers the most in MLA travel.

Last year, former MLA Peter Jenkins ran up a $21,064 bill between April and the October 10 election.

Since then his Yukon Party replacement, Steve Nordick, has spent $19,692 on travel.

Total: $40,756.

Liberal MLA Gary McRobb is second in travel expenses, according to the annual report prepared by the legislature.

Before the election McRobb spent $22,531 on travel.

Afterwards, he spent $13,146.

Total: $35,677.

And on Thursday, McRobb’s, err, mode of travel came up during debate about the rejected power deal between Yukon Energy Corp. and Sherwood Copper.

Energy Minister Archie Lang has taken a lot of heat from McRobb on the deal.

Being Lang, he retaliated with a cheeky barb about McRobb’s switch from the NDP to the Liberals . . . and his new car.

McRobb has “seen the light” on mining, said Lang.

“It might be because of his new life as a Cadillac socialist.”

The dig was aimed at McRobb’s new ride, a flame-red Cadillac V8 coupe.

House speaker Ted Staffen demanded — and received — a retraction from Lang.

McRobb isn’t one to let a slight land without a counterpunch.

After the legislature dissolved quickly following question period Thursday — due to too few Yukon Party members sticking around to debate the budget, including Premier Dennis Fentie — he issued an angry release.

“This caps off a pretty bad week for the government,” said McRobb in the release.

“They arrogantly refuse to work with the opposition parties in the legislature and today it resulted in the house shutting down two hours early.”

The Yukon Party changed the day’s business “at the last minute” and didn’t bother telling the opposition, he said in the release.

By 2:30 p.m., the place was empty.

“We are not prepared to let this bullying continue.”

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