Letter to the Editor

Wastewater facts In August 29th’s Yukon News I’m quoted as saying that the designated site for our new wastewater treatment plant is…

Wastewater facts

In August 29th’s Yukon News I’m quoted as saying that the designated site for our new wastewater treatment plant is nobody’s best choice.

I may have been misquoted; I distinctly remember saying that it’s nobody’s first choice; it is however the best location for the treatment plant given the constraints we have to work with.

The proponent of the petition for a referendum on the location of this facility says in the same article: “Who would build a toilet on top of his water tank?” referring to the site as being in proximity to the Klondike River.

This is the kind of fallacious information that needs to be dispelled so that people can make a rational choice based on fact, not emotional scare tactics.

Engineering studies have been done to show that even under catastrophic conditions, a breach in the system isn’t likely to contaminate the wells on Front Street that supply our drinking water.

By catastrophic, I mean a scenario where a freshwater well won’t be needed because the town will have been wiped off the map.

Our existing water and sewer infrastructure is buried in the ground, in some cases right on top of the aquifer, and has been for years. Has there been a breach in the pipes? Has our water ever been poisoned?

There are a few Dawson citizens still using outhouses right on top of the aquifer that feeds our wells, not to mention dog feces that some pet owners elect to leave sitting on top of our aquifer, in some cases right next to the wells by the dike.

The underground water that feeds our wells is filtered through thousands of cubic feet of sand and gravels, cleaning the water of contaminates.

It then gets sent to the pumphouse where it is chlorinated before distribution to water taps in our community.

The aerated lagoon will be more than a kilometre from the three community wells on Front Street located across the street from the commissioner’s residence, which in turn are each 22.5 metres deep. The water contained in them fluctuates up and down according to the height of the water table.

The proponent of the petition claims “They’ve (Dawsonites) just never been asked for input.”

Let us remember that we have had ample opportunity to offer input over the last 25 years, ever since waste-water treatment became an issue and a responsibility for all of us.

Today we have a location, we have a plan and we have the money in place, and a court order as added incentive to get the job done. Dawson has never been as close to getting a secondary treatment plant as it is now.

I hope we can put aside baseless fears and emotion and endorse this scientifically sound project.

I invite concerned citizens to view the documentation related to our project at this website address: http://www.community.gov.yk.ca/general/dawson_sewage.html

John Steins, mayor, Dawson City

Urges wise

municipal spending

It is a good-news story that Whitehorse sustainability group has prioritized seven of the 17 chosen projects, to be paid for by the federal municipality gas tax agreement, as water and sewer related.

Let us hope the mayor and council foresee this priority of using funding for infrastructure rather than glorifying the waterfront or building white elephant monuments.

By going forward with these projects, the city can keep our taxes stable, as they have now been on a continuous rise for the last five years.

Simultaneously with rate increases, rising property assessments have been causing many citizens to find these new taxes as unsustainable … tax shock!

The same holds true for the last five years’ of utilities bills we citizens have received from our city … unsustainable rate shock!

An issue, which again is brought forward here, is that of installing and activating water meters.

Although Utilities Consumers’ Group supports the use-pay concept, the city has to look at its obligation very seriously as many households are still using some type of bleeder system to keep water and sewer lines from freezing.

This must be corrected first and foremost before the city moves ahead with metering.

Alternatives to the bleeder system need to be implemented first and supplemented by infrastructure dollars.

This will save the city money in the long run as not so much water will be wasted and sent into the lagoon system infrastructure.

Also when this water metering does take place, we suggest a maximum usage amount (perhaps the average household usage) must be determined as a base cost and then layered on usage above this amount.

Back to the sustainability group recommendations — one last point.

Would it not make more sense to use the $8 million to build a new fire station than to use this funding for a municipal services building?

Roger Rondeau, president, Utilities Consumers’ Group, Whitehorse

A joyful noise

In your notes on the U17 Boys basketball championships, you forgot to mention the highly vocal and outstanding cheerleading section for the territories during the game against Newfoundland.

The territories played an outstanding game, and were very close in scoring. Kyla Marrin and her friend Hanna Rose McKie and their mothers, cheered vigilantly throughout the game.

The foursome overpowered the 25-member cheering section for Newfoundland in enthusiasm and vocal support.

The cheering section, now residing in Ottawa, made the trek to Sherbrooke to give the territories (and Marrin’s many friends) support.

Well done, territories!

You were awesome!

Kathy Marrin