Letter to the Editor

Columnist responds I was pleased to read Clive Aspinall’s open letter to me in last Friday’s News, and to learn that “wars,…

Columnist responds

I was pleased to read Clive Aspinall’s open letter to me in last Friday’s News, and to learn that “wars, genocides, gang-rapes and brutal killings” in Africa, and particularly in Congo, “almost always have their foundations in deep-rooted multi-ethnic African tribalism.”

Prior to this, I had believed that centuries of predatory colonialism may have played a role.

Aspinall credits “firsthand experience” growing up in Africa for his expertise on the subject. I wonder how this worked?

Did he spend his free time talking with the elders, and learn from them that the Belgians didn’t really enslave half of the people of Congo and kill the rest while hauling away a fortune in rubber, diamonds and uranium?

Did his boyish investigations uncover evidence that the US didn’t really back the thug Mobutu in his coup against the democratically elected Lumumba?

Did he learn something that would later exonerate Anvil Mining of its culpability in the Kilwa massacre, or explain away charges against Canadian mining companies in the 2002 UN report?

It must have been a remarkable childhood.

Al Pope

Mount Lorne

Grateful patient

I would like to thank Dr. Koltun and the hospital nursing staff for the excellent care I received during my recent stay in Whitehorse General Hospital.

Gordon McRobb

Whitehorse

Hot Springs sets

the record straight

Takhini Hot Springs is ready to proceed to the development of a world-class hot springs resort community. We plan to create a “back-to-nature” resort theme to complement the Yukon brand of “pristine wilderness.” Essentially, we want our projects to be “islands in a sea of forest.”

This letter is to help readers understand why Takhini Hot Springs Ltd. has applied to the government to amend the area development regulations and reduce the minimum lot size of subdivided parcels of land. It will also, hopefully, reiterate our desire to work with area residents to create benefits for them, and mitigate any undesirable impacts arising out of our developments.

Recent history

When we bought out approximately 35 shareholders this past spring, the hot springs was broke, run down and ready to shut its doors. The heating pipes were clogged and the change rooms were dilapidated. The septic system had collapsed. The pool was a shambles. Anyone familiar with the hot springs knows it had never looked in such desperate shape since the existing pool was developed in 1971. Following our renovations, Yukoners can once again come out and enjoy a quality experience. With renovations nearing completion, we can now focus on redevelopment issues, and that is what our application seeks to do.

Application to amend

zoning regulations

To provide some background on the zoning issues and the Hotsprings Road Local Area Plan, it is important to understand Takhini Hot Springs sat on the steering committee the Yukon government set up about a half dozen years ago.

Once the steering committee completed its work on the plan, it then had to make recommendations to change the area development regulations.

However, this work was never completed and that is why we are now applying to amend the zoning regulations.

Residential component of application

Takhini Hot Springs requires residential development as part of its plan to develop a hot springs resort community. We have applied to subdivide two parcels of land for residential development, totaling 20 households. This is in line with the local area plan, as per policy 9.4 residential development (p. 58 in the plan)

The plan recognizes that Takhini Hot springs Ltd. wishes to increase its capacity for residential development as part of their business planning, which is in progress at the time of plan preparation. They wish to concentrate their residential development at a higher density than other rural residential designations to conserve commercial lands, preserve the trails and wilderness character of the area and allow for innovative, energy-and cost-efficient designs in keeping with their commercial redevelopment planning. They are planning to phase in residential development over a 10- to 20-year period.

In policy 5.17, the plan further states:

Landowners of several contiguous properties designated as commercial (mixed use/tourist accommodation) may be able to transfer their residential development potential to a single lot, subject to the following conditions:

Residential units may be in the form of a single-family-dwelling unit, duplex, or multiple-family dwelling.

Residential units are subject to applicable legislation and regulations on housing densities and septic systems.

Any additional residential units beyond what is permitted in this designation would be subject to community consultation, rezoning and site plan approvals.

Commercial developments

Commercial development is at the heart of our plan.

We are applying to subdivide out nine parcels of land from our land/holdings for tourist projects.

Five of these parcels would be created to recognize five existing developments: the campground, the hot spring source well, the retreat centre, the log house by the pond and the existing hot spring pool building.

The four other developments would be for the greenhouses, the new hot pools, a lodge and a bed-and-breakfast.

In working on the local area plan and later the area development regulations, we were, as a local area steering committee and as area residents and property owners, able to agree on a definition of what a resort can be at Takhini Hot Springs. As per the approved Area Regulations:

Resort means a comprehensively planned and operated development offering tourist facilities and attractions in a location chosen for the unique qualities and attributes of its natural and physical setting.

Appropriate uses of a resort area include but are not limited to: visitor and staff accommodation; indoor and outdoor recreational uses; learning and health facilities such as health spas and tennis courts; convention and conference centre; retail and personal services; restaurants; and accessory uses and buildings”

Two very different models for development

In essence, we are seeking to develop the hot springs property in such a way as to preserve the green belt space, parkland and trail network. In other words, rather than subdivide with large parcels, dividing up green belt, parkland and trails on these 10 hectare parcels, we want to keep new parcels small, sized just big enough to accommodate the proposed development. This would leave the remainder of the land in our existing and much larger parcels so that they can be separately managed by our resort corporation.

Area resident concerns:

Takhini Hot Springs recognizes that with development there are impacts.

Our job is to help determine what those impacts are, and work with area residents to augment positive impacts, and mitigate negative impacts.

Takhini Hot Springs is committed to working with area residents, and we hope to begin a dialogue with area residents on our proposed developments.

We believe it is important to look towards creating a “win-win” scenario for all of us out in the Hotsprings Road area, as well as for other Yukoners and visitors to this beautiful and magical land.

Thank you.

Garry Umbrich, president, Takhini Hot Springs Ltd.

Whitehorse

Sound sense

Thanks for the great piece (Making sense of winter) on Kyle Cashen in Monday’s News.

The only thing that troubled me was a reference to a superiority of vinyl in terms of fidelity.

While vinyl does have many desirable traits, especially its unique compression for rock music, the fidelity of a CD, while not ideal, is eight times that of vinyl.

As well, the dynamic range which would admit the perception of quiet sounds is vastly greater in the digital realm. The compression which you refer to is much greater when mastering to vinyl. Any failings in digital reside entirely with poor choices by humans.

Sean Pond

Whitehorse