Letter to the Editor

Wilderness city needs wilderness Open letter to city council, Council chambers were filled on Monday night with concerned citizens opposed to the…

Wilderness city

needs wilderness

Open letter to city council,

Council chambers were filled on Monday night with concerned citizens opposed to the proposed industrial zoning near McLean Lake.

The only proponents in the room appeared to be the applicant, and a not-so-unbiased city council.

Council emanated frustration and irritation at the crowded room, and made several adversarial, editorial remarks during and after presentations.

Watershed advocates have fought this battle through many rounds, over the course of many, many years, even before it was handed over to Whitehorse to deal with.

Presenters were patient and refused to be baited by the confrontational behaviour of some of the councillors, and I commend them.

I can understand council’s longing to bring this issue to a close.

Residents of McLean Lake and their supporters feel the same way.

Please, councillors, I urge you to acknowledge and consider the great number of voters in this city who want to see McLean Lake remain a wilderness within the city limits.

Five minutes from downtown, we have a sampling of some of the stunning beauty the Yukon has to offer.

It’s accessible. People fish in the lake. It’s near Squatter’s Row, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in town, and one full of character and history.

Let’s not open it up to heavy industrial zoning so we have to go elsewhere to be in the environment we boast of to our visitors.

Let’s find creative ways to allow wilderness and human activity to co-exist.

Heavy industrial activity, from a healthy urban planning perspective, needs to be further from residential areas, and located where it will have the least amount of impact on its surroundings, i.e. not on the edge of a fragile wetland.

Some politicians seem to have an old-school approach to urban development, based on immediate convenience and short-term solutions.

I would like to see planning approached with a more progressive vision, including a friendlier, collaborative relationship with members of the community and a healthier, more sustainable allocation of zonings.

As the world slowly realizes the damage caused by ill-planned industrialization, Whitehorse has an opportunity to be a leader in finding alternatives.

We live in an incredible place; let’s work to keep it that way.

Kim Barlow


Government snares

Wolves and other animals are once again in “danger” from government-set snares, this time in Haines Junction.

A snare is a thin metal wire designed to tighten around an animal’s neck, leg, or anywhere around the body. (The more an animal struggles to free itself, the tighter the wire gets, cutting deeper into the flesh.)

Animals suffer unimaginable physical and mental pain for an indefinite period of time.

A set of snares could easily consist of 10 or more of these “inhumane” traps surrounding “bait”(meat products) put in place by government officials/trappers.

The government also does not want you to know these “inhumane” traps are not selective.

They pose the same threat to so-called “non-target” animals–coyotes, fox, bears, dogs, etc. (You would think a civilized place would outlaw these traps.)

A deputy resource-management officer recently tracked down a wolf near a dead moose.

Snares were set using the moose as bait to entice any remaining wolves in the area.

As mentioned, these snares pose the same threat to any other species of animals that would, by their nature, feed on the moose/bait.

“Conservation” officers?

Please define the meaning of this word.

Mike Grieco


Government glacially slow

Why have governments worldwide, and conspicuously in Canada and the Yukon, found themselves so far behind public opinion on global warming?

There are all sorts of answers.

One reason is that although climate change has been discussed and accepted in the scientific community for years, it has only recently been accepted by the general public.

It does politicians no good to listen to scientists if the voters don’t believe them.

Politicians are supposed to lead, but they cannot lead from too far out front: they have to be electable.

Another reason is that the solutions are so unpalatable.

No politician is seriously going to suggest an uncomfortable or expensive policy unless there is substantial public pressure

And a third reason is that there are other pressures on politicians.

Money talks, and money hates change and restrictions, and money typically has a three- to six-month horizon.

Now that most politicians are at least paying lip service to climate change, they have to be pushed to take concrete action. 

Politicians do not follow Newtonian physics (“Once an object is moving it will continue to move in the same direction unless an external force is applied”).

Rather they obey the older Aristotelian physics (An object will come to rest unless a continuous force is applied”).

Climate change is a global problem, but there are actions that local governments can take to help.

Towns need to be planned to be less dependent on cars — and Whitehorse is an appalling example of sprawl.

Houses need to be better insulated.

Yukon building codes are (how can I put this?) unimpressive.

Both these things can only be corrected, over time, by government action.

Both take time to have any effect.

Some would argue that it is too late to play the game this slowly, but even these steps are hard for government to make.

If we are going to limit the damage to the global climate, we must all do our bit: limit our driving, turn down our heating and encourage government at all levels to respond boldly and with urgency to enact policies that reduce the severity of climate change and help us adapt to climate change.

Peter Coates

Via website

Trail Destruction

To the owner of the dark green Jeep Rubicon, Yukon plate #BPA10:

I hope your little joy ride down the trails behind Mary Lake was enjoyable.

Your inconsiderate actions have completely destroyed the trails for other users.

I live at Mary Lake and I use those trails almost daily.

It is one of the most heavily used sections of trail in this area.

It’s frequented by joggers, walkers, mushers, skijorers, snowmobiles, ATVs, skiers.

It is the only access to the lake which is also heavily used by skiers, snowmachines, dogs and skaters.

Your tire tracks have made walking difficult and all other activities dangerous!

When my dog team develops shoulder injuries or breaks a leg due to your destruction of the trail, will you pay the vet bill?

Will you come out and take care of them when I break my ankle in the ruts?

Will you compensate the skiers and walkers who are bound to be injured by your stupidity?

How many small trees died under your wheels?

Will you be hiring a trail groomer to repair the damage? 

I realize that the trail is public land and, legally, you were probably allowed to drive down it.

That doesn’t change the fact that it was selfish, destructive, potentially dangerous and has ruined winter activities for countless other people.

The other users of this trail shouldn’t have to pay for your stupidity.

Maybe you should hire a trail groomer and repair some of the damage!

Tamara Young