Welcome to Dawson municipal politics
Open letter to Dawson City residents,
The Association of Yukon Communities is pleased to see that elected government is being returned to the town of Dawson!
With the election day set for June the 15th, we hope that a number of Dawson City residents will let their names stand for mayor and council positions.
For those who have considered running for office, and for those waiting in the wings, we offer some thoughts.
Serving on council can be exciting and rewarding.
The role of local government in Yukon is to provide infrastructure services and thereby improve the standard of living of the people in the municipality.
As a councillor, you will be a member of the team that determines what services residents get for their money.
Some decisions will be difficult and will require considerable thought and consultation and the decision may not go the way you want.
But with good discussion and by keeping an open mind until you have collected all the information you need to decide, you can be comfortable knowing that the decision is the best one possible.
And each decision directly affects your municipality and your friends and neighbours.
You will have opportunities to get together with other Yukon municipal leaders through committees, seminars and workshops put on by the Association of Yukon Communities and with mayors and councillors across Canada through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Some words to the wise: Being an effective politician requires time and effort.
You will find yourself using all that spare time you once had. You will always be ‘on duty’; people will come to you anytime, at the grocery store or in the coffee shop, with a municipal issue.
Some financial compensation is available, but it is limited.
Try not to bring a personal agenda with you to council as you are elected to serve all residents and all interests.
Remember that you may need to declare conflict of interest in some situations and remove yourself from the discussion or voting process.
Nomination day for Dawson City is May the 25th.
We urge anyone in Dawson City who wants to take responsibility for their community to consider running in the election.
Contact Bonnie Barber, the returning officer, at Robert Service School, 993-5435 for more information.
We wish you all success.
Doug Graham, president, Association of Yukon Communities, Whitehorse
Open letter to Dennis Fentie, minister dept. of Environment,
In the fall of 2004, a petition was presented in the house containing more than 1,500 signatures supporting the review of the Human Wildlife Conflict Policy.
The petition was dismissed by the current Yukon Party government.
The behaviour of the grizzly bear in the recent tragedy near Ross River was not unusual.
The response from the Environment department wasn’t unusual either.
A 25-year-old grizzly mom and her two cubs were murdered in their own backyard.
Premier Dennis Fentie, can you please respond to this archaic approach to resolve human-wildlife confrontations in this “larger than life” Yukon?
The big pictures
Open letter to the Peel River Watershed Commission,
There should be no industrial development allocations in the Peel River watershed before a regional land-use plan is completed.
Political games and corporate greed should not be the driving forces that decide what to do with this significant and extremely important, still intact, northern ecosystem.
This area has sustained First Nations people, their cultures and their way of life for generations and, overall, is still important to the well-being of all people.
It is home to the largest intact woodland caribou herd in the Yukon, and with all its wetlands, birdlife and significant mountain areas, it is one of the last pristine ecosystems on this planet.
Outfitting, trapping, resident hunting and wilderness tourism are well-established activities in the Three Rivers watershed (Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume rivers), and provide valuable assets for the regional economy.
It is very important to take the activities of these stakeholders into consideration when drafting any regional management plan.
Mining for coal and uranium, and developing coal-bed methane gas fields have a long lasting and devastating effect on ecosystems and people.
This has been clearly demonstrated in all jurisdictions where it occurred all across western North America.
People in these regions are struggling now for responsible development.
They have seen, firsthand, how the cumulative effects of such activities have destroyed their ways of life — ranching, farming, etc. — in most cases, irreparably.
We have an ethical responsibility to conserve and protect these areas for ourselves and future generations.
Because we rely on functioning, healthy ecosystems, it is imperative for any government to finally recognize this fact and act accordingly.