Letter to the Editor

An quick fix to save lives Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie: I write this letter while watching from my window (again) a number of emergency…

An quick fix to save lives

Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie:

I write this letter while watching from my window (again) a number of emergency vehicles removing the carnage and injured from the intersection of the Alaska Highway and Hamilton Boulevard at the top of Two Mile Hill.

My first complaint was October 23, 2002, in the form of a letter and a drawing of the intersection which I sent to the Yukon government’s Highway traffic people.

It demonstrated both the problem and the solution to many of these accidents.

At the time, the response from Highways bureaucrats was: the issues you describe are more complicated than you can understand.

OK, so I am not an engineer I admit, but eventually you would think that, even at my age, I am not too old to learn a few things.

But while I watch the injured being removed in ambulances today I am motivated to risk humiliation again to try for needed changes to the intersection.

(This time I will bypass the bureaucracy and try publicly.)

It looks like most of the accidents occur when vehicles turn from the Alaska Highway to go either west up Hamilton Blvd., or east down Two Mile Hill.

Currently these vehicles are effectively blind to oncoming traffic until they are committed into the oncoming lanes of the Alaska Highway.

This is because it is impossible to see past the traffic in the opposing turning lane, especially if it contains vans, buses or big trucks.

The traffic going straight through is likewise blind to turning traffic until they are four or five feet (their hood length) into your lane.

This situation would not be allowed in any major jurisdiction.

In other jurisdictions the two turning lanes would be directly aligned with each other, thereby nearly eliminating the large blind spot of oncoming traffic.

The correction here is simple: tear up some of the grass and move the turning lanes 10 feet to the left.

There is room for the change, and the cost would be minor.

The slippage from your “airport improvement” project that has gone on all summer could cover it many times over.

I am available to your officials, or those who face litigation for more details on this or my last complaint.

J. George Balmer

Whitehorse

Fall clearance

of sled dogs

Re Friday September 28, Yukon News pets classified section (five separate ads):

“Sled dogs — sprint and distance, leaders, gd bloodlines. Some to give away. Also lots of gear”; “Blue-eyed husky cross abandoned or strayed near Annie Lake Road. Appears to be a sled dog”; “Six Alaskan Huskies looking for a home and we are free with our houses. Don’t have to take all of us. Take as many as you want.”; “Hard working sled dogs to give away to gd homes”; “Sled dogs to sell/give away. Gatt/Kleedehn bloodlines, mostly two & three year olds. Kennel sell out.”

I sincerely hope this person is getting out of the sled dog breeding business once and for all and that the ad was not simply for a ‘Fall clearance’ (as opposed to the annual ‘Spring clearance’ of Yukon Quest dogs) to make way for more breeding.

In a related matter, thank you Jeremy Warren for your article about the upcoming Yukon Animal Protection Act, in the Friday, September 28, News.

It was unfortunate that Ken Kilpatrick, the author of the draft report on the legislation ‘declined to comment.’ It was equally unfortunate that Humane Society Yukon spokespeople could not be reached for comment. (I am a member of Humane Society Yukon and deserve to be kept informed by them).

I would be very interested in knowing the identities of the “other interested individuals” Kilpatrick consulted with.

I can only speculate that the Yukon Quest and the Yukon Dog Mushers’ Association were first and foremost among those consulted.

On behalf of the animals, if there are no laws contained in the upcoming legislation to specifically protect the ‘beasts of burden’ used as sled dogs, I would not at all be surprised based on our territory’s history of exploiting and discarding these noble animals.

Terry Cumming, web administrator, SledDogWATCHDOG.com, Whitehorse