tent city the sequel

The first swan. The first crocus. The first street sweeper. And soon the first tent of a tent city - the latest addition to the Yukon's sign-of-spring roster.

The first swan. The first crocus. The first street sweeper.

And soon the first tent of a tent city – the latest addition to the Yukon’s sign-of-spring roster.

Nobody knows just yet where it’s going to spring up, only that it will, somewhere in Whitehorse.

But it won’t be sprouting up on the lawn outside Premier Darrell Pasloski’s office, where last summer it quickly flourished from one tent to several dozen, plus a travel trailer and, in the final days, an Occupy Whitehorse truck/camper combo.

The government is making darn sure that’s not going to happen again.

Anyone who tries to push their pegs into that particular piece of real estate or any other public land will be fined up to $1,000 or thrown in jail.

Chances are (and this may be stepping out on a limb) that a person living in a tent on a public lawn in the middle of a bustling city, without heat, power or water, probably won’t have that kind of extra coin kicking around to pay a hefty fine.

Given the swanky digs up at the new Whitehorse Correctional Centre, they’re more likely to go for the “up to six months” option. Not only cheaper, it’ll come with a private room, an eight-channel TV, three squares a day, and a job.

But the government’s plans to ban camping on public land is not going to stop another tent city from taking root, say anti-poverty advocates.

They expect the new tent City to be bigger and to attract the same mix of residents – the truly down-and-out who have somehow survived another winter, students on a tight budget who are saving for school, the working poor who simply can’t afford current rents or can’t resist a good bargain, and the occasional tourist.

They say, as long as there’s a booming economy there’ll be a need for inexpensive shelter.

Granted, the housing crisis is a complex problem and a political minefield, but it’s time to stop the thumb-twiddling.

How can there be government money to provide emergency shelter for feral cats from Beaver Creek while there is nothing for cold and hungry people who mill around the Salvation Army entrance early each morning?

It makes no sense.

Cheap, basic housing units could be constructed in weeks or existing buildings renovated, but there has to be the political will.

Although it may already be too late to do any of that for this summer, if the government would get off its duff, it could have the problem well in hand before the first crocus blooms next year.

Affordable housing, not a tent city and related court cases, would be a much nicer sign of spring.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris in the State Dinning Room of the White House on Jan. 21, in Washington, D.C. The administration announced plans Jan. 20 for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Gwich’in. (Alex Brandon/AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden halts oil and gas lease sales in ANWR

“Its great to have an ally in the White House”

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 22, 2021

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

The Boulevard of Hope was launched by the Yukon T1D Support Network and will be lit up throughout January. It is aimed at raising awareness about Yukoners living with Type 1 diabetes. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Boulevard of Hope sheds light on Type 1 diabetes

Organizers hope to make it an annual event

City of Whitehorse city council meeting in Whitehorse on Oct. 5, 2020. An updated council procedures bylaw was proposed at Whitehorse city council’s Jan. 18 meeting that would see a few changes to council meetings and how council handles certain matters like civil emergencies. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Whitehorse procedures bylaw comes forward

New measures proposed for how council could deal with emergencies

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your Northern regulatory adventure awaits!

“Your Northern adventure awaits!” blared the headline on a recent YESAB assessment… Continue reading

Most Read