In Dawson City, the owners of the Slinky Mine started digging up a municipal road before obtaining the necessary permit.
In Whitehorse, Energy, Mines and Resources officials did a shoddy job enforcing a city-ordered eviction of a caretaker from a gravel quarry.
The quarry operator was plowing a seasonal road he shouldn’t have. And Yukon officials were oblivious to this.
And there was some question about the quarry operator’s unauthorized installation of a septic bed. He was permitted after the fact.
These are relatively small matters.
But they do not inspire confidence in the department.
Energy, Mines and Resources is responsible for monitoring and ensuring $100-million Chinese-owned mines follow Yukon laws.
And yet it can’t compel a quarry operator to vacate and clean up his site?
What sort of message does this send?
It seems like the territory is, quite literally, the Wild West. A place where the rules are nothing more than guidelines, or simple annoyances that are easily dismissed if you are loud enough. Or well-enough connected.
This is not good enough.
Society establishes rules to keep things honest and fair and orderly.
Currently, on little matters, enforcement is lax. And this raises serious questions about oversight of the big stuff.
Yukon government officials now owe the public a solid explanation about why enforcement failed in these cases.
And, also, how it’s going to strengthen enforcement in the future.
The public deserves no less. (Richard Mostyn)