Letter to the Editor

Too much fuel tax Government officials say increases on the price of oil are good for the economy of Canada.

Too much fuel tax

Government officials say increases on the price of oil are good for the economy of Canada.

What? That may be good for the economy of politicians and kazillionaires, but what about the economy of consumers?

All items brought to any market for sale are transported by vehicles using diesel or gas. When fuel costs go up, taxes on this fuel are increased, then these costs are transferred to consumers and we all pay much more for goods.

We have to write our new prime minister and let him know we are ever so tired of paying all these damn taxes.

Hey, what about our premier, Dennis Fentie, who seems to excel in criticizing the new Conservative government.

Mr. Fentie, would you explain to the federal politicians that northern citizens, actually all Canadian citizens, are fed up with paying more and more taxes just to grease the political wheels and overflow the coffers.

Let’s get the GST down to five per cent. Let’s remove the “deficit tax” on gasoline that was added eight years ago (that was 1.5 cents a litre and Canada has had a surplus for over two years). And let’s also decrease the “hidden” tax on gas at least four or five cents per litre.

The government needs to do this, and do it soon.

Do nothing and the people will vote you out!

Bob Mitchell


Protect the Peel

Open letter to the Peel Land Use Planning Commission,

I strongly urge you to do whatever you can to protect the Peel watershed.

Large, intact ecosystems are our best line of defence against the impacts of climate change.

The Peel watershed is a treasure that supports a multitude of life forms, attracts visitors from around the world and, most importantly, has immense intrinsic value.

This is our opportunity to protect it.

I understand that the planning commission has the responsibility to make recommendations for the future of this watershed and trust that you will do the right thing. As Yukoners, we owe this much to our children.

Diana van Eyk


NDP stands strong

An open letter to Gary McRobb, MLA for Kluane,

As someone who has worked for you variously as campaign chair, riding president, and official agent through three successful elections, it was with some surprise that I found out in March that you were contemplating switching your political allegiance.

Granted, you did inform me (through a third party) of your intention to poll your constituents on leaving the NDP before you released the letter that you’d already drafted to that effect.

You’ll recall that I responded (through the same third party) that I felt you should work out your difficulties within the party, and that I would not support you or vote for you if you left the NDP, which remains my party of choice.

As things have worked out, you did release your letter, were removed from the NDP caucus as a result, and have joined the Liberals (or “the Libs” as you used to disparagingly call them).

I’ve gathered through this whole process that you’ve been unhappy with the leadership of the NDP, and that you feel that the party is in disarray.

Thus out of respect for our former political alliance, I decided I’d best check out the state of the party before addressing you in any public way.

I attended the NDP convention on the weekend. And what I found was not a party in any sort of disarray, but an energetic collection of idealistic people working together with the party leader for social justice and good government.

I admit that I went to the convention out of a sense of duty, but ultimately was glad I did as I left charged with positive energy and optimism.

So at this point I feel comfortable in saying a political goodbye to you, Gary. I will continue to support the NDP, and look forward to helping a strong candidate win the Kluane riding in the upcoming election.

See you around. I wish you the best in everything — except the next election.

Richard Godson

Haines Junction

 Tangled trails

An open letter to the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club.

We are writing to clarify our position with respect to our proposed property development and the impact it is likely to have on the ski trails that presently cross our land and land we have an option to purchase.

Our company purchased Lots 71 and 73 in the late autumn of 1998, with the intention of developing them into a small country-residential subdivision.

The following year we contacted the ski club’s executive and advised them of our plans.

Several meetings followed in 1999 — including an October 8th ‘walkabout’ with a ski-club representative during which we examined those areas of the trails that would be affected and discussed how they could be re-routed.

On November 19, 1999, Tom Ullyett, who was then president of the ski club, wrote to us and confirmed the discussions that had been held to that date. That letter acknowledged, among other things, that:

Portions of the club’s 10-kilometre and 15-kilometre trails fall within the land that our company owns;

That our plan was to develop a country residential subdivision on the lands comprising approximately 37 lots most of which would be 0.6 hectares in size;

The proposed subdivision would significantly impact the 10-kilometre and 15-kilometre trails; and

Our company reached a land-swap agreement with Yukon Electrical Company Limited (the other private landholder whose land the trails cross) that is subject to making fair and reasonable arrangements with the ski club and the Miles Canyon Historic Railway Society.

Ullyett also said in his November 19th letter that “we (the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club) would like to continue to work with you so as to minimize the impact of the subdivision on the WCCSC’s trails.

“In that regard, we understand that you are prepared to consider options such as integrating the ski trails into your subdivision as well as developing the subdivision in stages with an initial focus on those lots that would not impact the ski trails.”

Co-operation and dialogue with the club has always been and remains our position. From the outset, we have sought to work with the club with respect to our development and we remain committed to that to this day.

In February 2006, we wrote to the executive and advised them the project was proceeding (it had been delayed while one of our partners was away in school) and on March 23 we met with the executive to discuss the proposal in more detail.

At that meeting, the executive was again advised of our desire to work with the ski club to minimize the impact of our development on the club and its trail system.  

We understood that the club shared that desire and we expected our meeting to be followed by many more as we worked together to develop our property in a responsible manner.

It was also at that meeting that we reminded the executive of the possibility of a second phase of development — something that has, in fact, been known to the ski club since 1999. 

Our position with respect to the second phase, should it proceed, is that we will again seek to work with the club to minimize the impact on its trails.

That was made clear to the executive during our meeting and was confirmed in an e-mail sent to the executive on April 6.

That e-mail enclosed a sketch plan of the portion of the trails likely to be affected if the second phase were to proceed and in it we suggested that “perhaps you could make some suggestions about how we can integrate the new lots with the existing ski trails.”

Contrary to the executive’s recent statements, the second phase would not “obliterate 850 metres of the 10 kilometres” — at worst, portions of the 10 kilometres would be relocated as the trail is integrated into the subdivision.

Leaving aside our desire to work with the ski club, it is also in our interests to do so, as we believe that one of the greatest selling features with respect to those lots is their proximity to the ski trails.   

We have not been contacted by anyone from the club executive since we sent the April 6 e-mail.

However, given the statements made to the media by club representatives, the e-mails they have sent to club members, the material posted on the club website and the position taken at the recent Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act public meeting, it is clear that the executive has undergone a significant change in its position.

We regret that, as we believe that by working together there is the opportunity to develop a unique and special community that has ski trails integrated into it.

We are also aware that not all ski club members share the executive’s view, as several have contacted us to inquire about the possibility of purchasing a lot from us.

Finally, we wish to correct a misunderstanding that appears to exist with respect to the club’s tenure to its ski trails. 

Some members seem to believe that either the city of Whitehorse or Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board have the ability to legitimize the club’s use of the trails that cross our land.

That is not correct. It should also be noted that, contrary to what was stated in a presentation to the board, the ski club has no “Licence of Occupation” to cross the land owned by our company.

Regardless of any decision taken by the city or the board, we have the ability at any time to terminate the club’s use of those portions of the trails.

We have no desire to do so rather we continue to hope that we can work with the club in a constructive manner.

Mark Radke, Raven’s Ridge Developments Ltd.