Letter to the Editor

Nursing shortage solutions Two ignored perspectives on the nursing shortage, retention and education, are worth exploring because they provide…

Nursing shortage solutions

Two ignored perspectives on the nursing shortage, retention and education, are worth exploring because they provide locally sustainable solutions for the territory.

I believe it is time to tap into the vast resources found within our Yukon communities.

Governments, employers, unions and associations must focus on both nursing retention and laddered health-education initiatives for Yukon students.

It is time for accessible educational opportunities for Yukon First Nation and community students.

In January 2006, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions released a study on the retention of experienced nurses.

The study lists six findings that support retention: flexible work practices, retirement options, reduction of work hours, participation in decision making, professional development and transference of knowledge, nurse and patient safety and mentoring new graduates.

In 19 years of nursing, in a variety of Yukon settings, I have witnessed qualified experienced nurses leave because they are not valued for their knowledge, experience, decision making and efforts to enhance patient safety.

These nurses cannot be replaced.

Instead of expensive recruitment strategies, focus on retaining and recognizing qualified experienced nurses, and provide educational opportunities for all Yukon students to enter the health professions.

As in all workplaces, sustainable and healthy work environments retain staff.

It is time to strengthen partnerships between the Yukon Registered Nurses Association, all governments, unions and employers, Yukon College and other institutions that offer health programming.

This is not the to me to lose ourselves in the rhetoric of our own locations or departments.

As Dr. Tadepalli says, it is time to walk forward holding hands.

Jeddie Russell, BScN

Whitehorse

Don’t be blinded

by the green

The upcoming plebiscite and referendum for zoning change in Arkell and the green space plan for the lower Porter Creek Bench are not just an Arkell or a Porter Creek issue.

The results of these two initiatives in the land-development process will affect every resident and taxpayer in the city.

New developments provide continued employment for the entire housing industry, which includes not just the obvious benefactors: carpenters and electricians, drywallers, roofers and plumbers.

Every sector of the population is affected. It is local lumber, window and door, flooring and paint suppliers, heating contractors, furniture and appliance stores, window coverings and home décor specialty stores.

It is local nursery and landscaping companies, gravel and concrete businesses.

It is surveyors. It is backhoe operators. It is draftsmen. It is Yukon apprentices getting the opportunity to learn their trade without having to leave the territory.

It is every small- and medium-sized local enterprise, your friends and neighbours, who will feel the pinch when residential construction grinds to a halt and contractors and trades people move elsewhere for work.

The proposed developments will, of course, affect surrounding neighbourhoods by reducing the amount of green space in their immediate area and by increasing traffic and population.

However, the proposed developments are consistent with the present use and there are numerous positive returns for development and infill in established subdivisions:

Area residents have an opportunity to stay in their neighbourhoods and build new homes; seniors who have their support system in place and family in the area can invest in smaller, more accommodating and energy efficient homes; older, larger, used housing will pass on to the next generation and be retrofitted and updated; neighbourhoods will be reinvigorated by having young families move in; when infill and expansion of existing subdivisions takes place infrastructure costs are significantly lower than they would be if a subdivision were created in a previously undeveloped area, and reasonable commuting distances provide both financial and social benefits to residents.

The developments proposed for Arkell and Porter Creek will provide much-needed serviced building lots for a growing population, and will provide revenue for the city through development fees and building permits, as well as on-going utility payments and taxes.

This revenue is needed to maintain the services that all residents appreciate, whether they live in Hillcrest, Takhini, Riverdale or downtown.

It pays for everything from snow removal and streetlights to funding for the arts, sports, libraries, arenas, community associations, early childhood and seniors’ programs.

It pays for the operation of all facilities, new and old, that are available for each and every one of us if we so choose.

In 2006, there was a total of 189 dwelling units permitted, resulting in well over $1 million worth of development fees, permits, taxes and utility payments.

Now, with no serviced lots available for at least another two years, there will be a shortfall.

We as taxpayers may well have to make up the difference in increased taxes and utility fees.

Housing industry representatives, whether in government or private enterprise, sales associates or contractors, lenders or retailers, know that the Whitehorse housing market is in a very precarious state.

Demand is high and supply is low.

By next summer, the supply of new single-family residences in urban residential areas will be virtually non-existent.

In all likelihood, this will ensure house prices stay at levels which have become unaffordable for many.

This reduction in available housing will also affect a company’s ability to recruit new employees.

If you are concerned about escalating housing costs, vote yes on Thursday.

If your son or daughter graduates this year and you would like your children to settle in Whitehorse, vote yes on Thursday.

If you don’t want to suffer the exodus of our tradespeople, vote yes on Thursday.

If you care about the continued growth of our economy, vote yes on Thursday.

If you are excited about northern development and look forward to a prosperous future here in the territory, vote yes on Thursday.

On May 31, we can sit at home and let all the residents who oppose development vote to stop the proposed changes or we can ensure the residents of Whitehorse deliver the message that planned development is good for the city.

By voting yes on May 31, we will be sending the message to council to move forward and provide us with the serviced building lots we need, not only in Arkell and the Porter Creek Lower Bench, but wherever it may be sensible and sustainable to do so.

Yukon Real Estate Association

Whitehorse