In defence of the city’s sustainability efforts

In defence of the city's sustainability efforts Mike Peltier's letter (City should stop making make-work projects, April 18) requires a response. To start, I happen to be involved with one of the city's "sustainability boondoggles": as a contractor, I o

Mike Peltier’s letter (City should stop making make-work projects, April 18) requires a response.

To start, I happen to be involved with one of the city’s “sustainability boondoggles”: as a contractor, I operate the city’s compost facility.

Any organization has room for making improvement, the city being no exception, and I have my own list of possible improvements. However, I remain taken aback by the tone of Mr. Peltier’s letter, and I know he is not alone in his views.

Let me first put in a good word for the city’s operators and transportation supervisors. In my experience of working with them professionally, and as a tax-paying resident of Cowley Creek, I can only say that to a person, I have found the city’s heavy equipment operators and supervisors to be highly competent and skilled craftspeople, who take pride in the work they do. They are eager to do a good job at all times, to be efficient and safe.

Mr. Peltier’s assertion that they are incompetent is simply wrong, borne of ignorance, and highly offensive. The city’s equipment operators and supervisors are required to do more work with less resources in an escalating spiral, by us taxpayers. This creates stress, and is only compounded by the lack of understanding encumbering Mr. Peltier and other citizens prone to outrage and complaint.

I believe the reason we do not have four inches of smooth blacktop running up to our front doors in rural residential areas is due to one simple concept: leadership.

One of the few places in Canada and North America where one can find genuine leadership is right here in Whitehorse. Successive councils, with administrative support, have had the spine to make some very difficult decisions. I find our roads in Cowley Creek to be perfectly adequate, especially considering the very low volume of traffic on them. To rebuild and repave is impractical, and will only benefit very few.

On the other hand, the city has to clean up after all its citizens. Our economy is based on externalizing costs. One of those is the cost of dealing with the vast amounts of garbage we create.

Like it or not, that garbage has to land somewhere, and the city has to deal with it, and as taxpayers, we have to pay for it now, and like Faro, in perpetuity. Our city leadership could easily spend money on populist road-building projects for a privileged few (aren’t we all?), but they have chosen to make sure that our children, and their children and so on, will not be burdened with the cost of cleaning up after our generation of wastrels has passed on.

That is leadership with a long-term view, way past the next election cycle, with an eye on future generations. That means that we have to foot the bill now.

Too bad it’s unpopular with some. My vote is for our future generations, and the City of Whitehorse people who are paving the way for them.

Garret Gillespie