We need to call the closure of Raven Recycling’s free store, the Salvation Army thrift store, and the dump’s free store what it is: a tax on the poor.
Mayor Dan Curtis’ comments and the majority of media coverage around the closures have centered around how inconvenient it will now be for people to dispose of their stuff.
The brunt of these closures are not going to be felt by people who feel guilty after a trip to the dump, they will be felt by residents of this community who no longer have an opportunity to access second hand goods.
The minimum wage in Yukon is $11.32 per hour which falls well below the living wage of $19.12 per hour recently calculated by the Yukon’s Anti-Poverty Coalition.
Every Yukoner knows people who have used Raven Recycling, the Salvation Army and the free store at the dump to clothe their kids or find functioning home appliances.
It saddens me to think our community is no longer willing to assume the liability associated with allowing residents of Whitehorse the opportunity to find bikes for their kids when they may not be able to afford one at Canadian Tire.
This tax on the poor was created due to poor policy. The city’s closure of the dump’s free store created a chain reaction which overwhelmed the Salvation Army and now Raven Recycling.
The environmental sustainability budget for the City of Whitehorse in 2017 is $339,000. How much could it possibly cost to employ a seasonal employee to organize materials at a free store at the dump?
I think it’s time city council and Yukon government shook their collective heads and, instead of decrying poverty in the boardroom, went to work to help those in need.