Open letter to Wade Istchenko, minister of Highways and Public Works:
As a resident who lives and works along the Robert Campbell Highway, I am very much appalled at a situation that appears to get worse before it would get any better. The Campbell Highway is in terrible shape and at present not suitable for personal or tourist travel. I have not seen it that bad in 30 years.
By now it is clear to almost everybody that the Wolverine Mine with their heavy loads and increasing truck traffic is the sole reason for this terrible road condition. So it seems prudent to address some questions to the minister of highways in order to shed some more light into this situation.
Was the mining company exempt from the weight restrictions in the spring? If so, why were they exempt and did they pay any money to receive that special status?
Is the mining company held accountable for the damage and how much would they have to pay? Will the mining company be told to adjust weight on their trucks to the capacity of the Robert Campbell Highway, or does that cut too much into their profits? Will the mining company pay their share to repair the highway if they have been using it like that? Do these trucks have to go through the scales or are they exempt from that too?
The Robert Campbell Highway is a public road and also the only practical connection between Watson Lake and Ross River, being used quite a bit by locals and tourists alike. Everybody has the right to travel safely on this road, which is not possible at this point, especially for motorhomes and smaller cars. So, in a practical sense, it is not usable for tourism anymore.
This is not the fault of the truck drivers, nor is it the fault of the highway maintenance crew, which works very hard to keep this highway passable with limited resources and funds at their disposal. But it is definitely the fault of the mining company, and the Yukon Party government, which is known for constantly favouring big corporations at the expense of taxpayers and the environment, while paying lip service to other issues that are also important.
Politicians of that kind cannot be trusted to provide real balance. The ignorant way they dealt with the Peel watershed commission’s recommendations, First Nations issue and the Campbell Highway situation shows only three examples of a political agenda that favours big business and hardly anything else! They will make it very easy for corporate dictatorship to slowly change the Yukon into an industrial wasteland.