Taylor delivers to municipal politicians

Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor arrived at the 37th annual Association of Yukon Communities meeting with lots of good news for municipal politicians.

DAWSON CITY

Community Services Minister Elaine Taylor arrived at the 37th annual Association of Yukon Communities meeting with lots of good news for municipal politicians.

Taylor promised her department will finally do a review of the Municipal Act. It’s a request that was made by nearly every community during the Our Towns, Our Future consultation last year.

The act is the main guide for communities, dictating what they can do and what falls into the territory’s lap.

Taylor said the review will begin in June.

She also committed to making annual lump-sum municipal grants every April. The grants make up a major chunk of municipal budgets.

As well, to much fanfare, Taylor announced that she’s reversing a decision by her predecessor, Archie Lang, to take over municipal emergency services such as fire and ambulance.

Last year at the annual AYC meeting, Lang said the government would run all emergency services from Whitehorse, a move opposed by most communities.

Occupational health and safety regulations have raised the cost of providing emergency services, putting even more stress on already understaffed and under-qualified emergency services in remote communities.

Taylor said she will follow through with the first option offered by an advisory group made up of firefighters, the fire marshal and other government officials, to deal with the issue.

The government will give money directly to the municipalities for fire services, exercising some oversight. It will also give funding to the fire marshal’s office, which provides most training and prevention awareness.

Taylor was unable to offer dollar amounts, but did say the government was prepared to make a “significant investment.”

The investment includes a $1-million mobile, live-fire training facility – a burning house on wheels.

“Live-fire training is becoming a rarity,” said fire marshal Dennis Berry, listing the number of regulations and assessments needed before fire departments can set a real fire for training purposes.

Because of its mobility, the new facility will help the fire marshal become more visible in communities, spread awareness and prevention knowledge and help with recruiting more volunteer firefighters, he said.

Dawson fire chief Jim Regimbal, who is the president of the Association of Yukon Fire Chiefs and a director of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, said this investment is an addition, not a replacement, to budgets already allocated to fire services within communities.

He said the balance of territorial involvement with local autonomy is the best possible solution.

“Especially in smaller communities, the fire department is the main staple of that community,” he said.

“I’m very encouraged by this, we have a lot of work to do… but this is a great partnership. It is striking a balance that’s going to be needed.”

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at roxannes@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Territorial government cancels oil and gas disposition process in northern Yukon

Move comes after consultation with 3 First Nations, Pillai says

Yukon government announces housing first project for Whitehorse

‘It’s too early to quote an amount of money,’ housing minister says of $2.7M project

Darryl Sheepway takes the stand in first-degree murder trial

‘He was leaving, I wanted to stop him’

In Yukon’s budget battle, politics trumps reason

It’s a shame our politicians have decided to take months of consultation and throw it in the trash

Erebus or bust: Sailing the Northwest Passage

Even today, weather still scrambles the best laid plans of mariners

Alexander Street improvements are a go

Council votes to allow LIC amid misgivings surrounding voting system

The Yukon’s health care crisis cannot continue

The government needs to stop reacting in crisis mode and plan for the future

Lesson spurned: The New Zealand sales tax experience

Would it have worked here? Looks like we’ll never know

Feds give $7.5M for community spaces at future Yukon French high school

The funding will help build the gym, theatre and kitchen, Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee says

New bylaw would standardize advisory committee process

‘There’s an obvious effort to ensure transparency’

Moving patients is bad policy

Home care > hospitals

Human rights hearing over Destruction Bay pantsing put off until next year

Motel co-owner accused in case did not attend hearing due to illness

Most Read