YP boiler issue bubbles over

On Monday, Yukon boilers will be steaming away under new pressure. All their certificates are getting revoked unless the Yukon Party government…

On Monday, Yukon boilers will be steaming away under new pressure.

All their certificates are getting revoked unless the Yukon Party government reinstates more inspectors, according to a letter written by the chief inspector earlier this year.

Even if the certificates are pulled, government is going to keep the boilers running, said Community Services Minister Glenn Hart on Wednesday.

“Otherwise we’d be in a deep freeze by Tuesday morning,” he said.

Two or three years ago, the Yukon Party cut the number of boiler inspectors in the territory from three to one, said Liberal Gary McRobb.

“This went against the advice of people in the department, but the Yukon Party chose to do it anyway,” he said.

It was too much to ask one inspector to do the job of three inspectors, said McRobb.

The problem was exacerbated because he also had to carry out all the administrative functions expected of the chief inspector.

He tried his best to do it all, said McRobb.

“But it reached the point of frustration that led the chief boiler inspector to write to his superiors indicating that all boiler certificates will be withdrawn by Monday unless the other inspectors are reinstated.”

Now it’s a public safety issue, he said.

“Boilers are high pressure vessels that need to be operated safely and checked periodically to avoid extreme situations that could lead to an explosion in the boiler itself.” 

McRobb’s father worked at a distillery. He was around high-pressure boilers for 35 years.

When McRobb told his dad what was going up here, “his eyes got big.”

“He said it was a serious safety issue,” said McRobb.

There are lots of boilers in the territory.

Each new athlete’s village building has three big ones, he said.

“After all, there’s a reason why there were three inspectors to begin with.

“We didn’t hear the Yukon Party’s rationale for decreasing them,” he added.

The government has been on the hunt for new inspectors for the last three months, said Hart.

“But they are in high demand in Western Canada.”

“If it’s difficult to recruit these people the Yukon Party should have thought of that two or three years ago,” said McRobb.