Letter to the Editor

Mayor needs our direction Apparently Mayor Bev Buckway feels that Whitehorse taxpayers are content to pay more taxes.

Mayor needs our direction

Apparently Mayor Bev Buckway feels that Whitehorse taxpayers are content to pay more taxes.

When she became mayor and had to raise them again, for what was the sixth year in a row, few voiced dissatisfaction, she said. She didn’t ask me.

Councillor Dave Stockdale stated that Whitehorse is growing and those costs are being borne by these repeated tax hikes.

I thought expansion would create more revenue not more costs.

Didn’t the Yukon government pay for the new country-residential development south of the city? How much will the city make on that sweet deal?

Councillor Stockdale just can’t bring himself to accept that Canada Games Centre and recreation costs are the leading culprits.

I feel Mayor Buckway is confusing taxpayers’ content with the honeymoon period that usually follows any new mayor into office, and Councillor Stockdale has just been there too long.

Tax increases, coupled with increased assessments as property values rise, have doubled some people’s taxes over just a few years.

While rising assessments normally coincide with inflation and should satisfy the city’s increased costs, rising mill rates cut into every taxpayer’s disposable income and should raise serious concerns.

Few like to see their money whisked away at ever-increasing amounts when they probably have plenty of other places they would sooner see it go.

However, my own dislike for spiraling taxation goes beyond the personal desire to hold on to my money.

Rising taxes are just one more hurdle for young people trying to break into the housing market for the first time. When the banker sharpens his pencil, runaway mill rates can easily be the final obstacle that prevents many of that generation’s ability to acquire a home of their own. I am sure they would not be content with that outcome.

Rising taxes are a cost of doing business and are passed on to consumers purchasing goods and services. They are inflationary in themselves and by their effects. No one should be content with these inflationary pressures.

Rising taxes are certainly a consideration for any business thinking of locating in Whitehorse. Given the pattern of increased mill rates over six consecutive years alternative communities start to look a lot more attractive. This will cost Whitehorse jobs and municipal revenue in the long run. That is not something to be content about.

It is time for the mayor to go further than directing the city’s departments to tighten their belts. They should already be running a tight ship. That goes without saying.

The city should freeze all future capital projects including the fire hall, until it gets a handle on future operation and maintenance costs associated with the Games centre and new developments on the waterfront. I would be content with that.

The projected deficit has not put a damper on council travel. Half of our councillors have had travel plans approved after the deficit was announced. Maybe they should stay at home and sort out the city’s finances.

The mayor should freeze all travel, including her own, until council can solve this dilemma. I would be content with that as well.

Maybe your readers can suggest other ways that the mayor and council can trim their sails. They don’t seem to be doing very well on their own. I look forward to your letters.

Bill Barnie

Whitehorse

Don’t sell out

our democracy

Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie:

I read with alarm that your government is considering signing on to the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement without discussion or even without the electorate knowing that you were in talks.

I would like to thank MLA Todd Hardy and the NDP for bringing this issue into the light. I am concerned that non-elected corporate interests will affect my rights as a citizen in a democratic society.

I have some questions regarding TILMA and hope that you will take the time to answer them:

What are the problems that you hope TILMA will solve?

What other solutions has your government considered to these problems?

How will the Yukon First Nations be affected — specifically those with signed land claims agreements?

How will their right to self-rule be hindered?

Given your government’s history with working collaboratively with Yukon First Nations and recognizing the land claim agreements, I question how much information you have shared with First Nations regarding possible impacts of TILMA.

Will First Nations be involved in negotiating this agreement?

If First Nations are exempted in the first year, what guarantees can you give that they will continue to be exempted as this list is updated yearly?

Who decides on the exemptions?

Who else will be affected if your government signs this agreement? For instance, I understand entities such as school councils will also be affected. How will municipalities’ right to govern be affected?

Who sits on the dispute panel? How are these people appointed? Would the Yukon have its own panel?

Does the dispute panel have the final say in disagreements or is there still possibility of court action?

Will you follow the five steps as outlined by Hardy in his letter to you and allow open and frank discussion of this far-reaching agreement?

I look forward to your response.

Debbie Trudeau

Whitehorse

The truth hurts

It is said that good journalism afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted.

Genesee Keevil’s pieces on The Wheeler Dealer and Addicted to an Addict come to mind, as warts-and-all portraits of a reality that many would deny exists in Whitehorse.

The pieces make the hairs on the back of my neck rise, as they should, with telling detail.

All too often people whitewash the organized crime and social dysfunction that is behind the illicit drug scene. These articles show a gritty reality that can’t be denied.

The pieces show that we have many people who are broken inside who will put just about anything into their veins or down their throats or up their noses to escape themselves and the way people treat them.

Keevil is to be congratulated for being brave enough to write such pieces on subjects and in areas where the rest of us dare not go.

Name withheld by request

Smooth driving

We would like to express our appreciation of a job well done on the recent repaving of the North Klondike Highway between Burma Road and Horse Creek.

Our home is located north of the project so we drove through the project at least twice a day. We were always impressed by the professional and expedient way that itinerant traffic was marshaled through the construction zone.

Our sincere thanks go out to the flag persons and pilot vehicle crews for their efficient and courteous service.

The job was completed very quickly and the resulting paved surface is absolutely perfect. What a pleasure it is to drive home at night on the seamless, smooth, quiet pavement.

To the Skookum Paving crews, the YES and JR Paine engineering and survey crews, the Yukon Highways department crews, and anyone one else who had a hand in producing the excellent finished product, we say thank you and congratulations!

John and Bernadette Witham

Grizzly Valley