Letter to the Editor

I’ll keep my car, thanks. The April 30th editorial was clever.  I agree with Richard Mostyn that riding your bike to pick up milk…

I’ll keep my car, thanks.

The April 30th editorial was clever. 

I agree with Richard Mostyn that riding your bike to pick up milk instead of driving is a great idea.

But perhaps he forgot a couple of things.

First, Whitehorse is not overly populated with local corner stores.

Tahkini residents would get their exercise, certainly, riding up some hill to get to a store for that milk.

And, if there are a couple of kids in tow and a single parent, it is an adventure, to say the least.

Second, at minus 40, with said kids in tow, riding your bike doesn’t seem worth it, despite the three weeks of labour required to pay back that litre of fuel (and yes, I drive a fuel efficient Toyota Echo).

Whitehorse has an extreme love affair with vehicles, more than a lot of Canadian cities. 

The city is hugely spread out and has the feel of a suburb anywhere in Canada.

Perhaps a solution to those vast distances would be public transportation that actually runs on the weekend and after 6 p.m. 

More fuel right?

Well, Whitehorse is blessed with hydro power and the question is — why isn’t the Yukon government and the city looking at electric street cars powered by those water turbines? 

Let’s face it, we are spoiled, but we have to face up that we have destroyed the infrastructure that allows one to easily bike or walk to the local corner store for milk. Or anything else for that matter. 

When did the last local hardware store close here?

And, love it or hate it, Wal-Mart is cheap and a local store just can’t compete on prices.

If people did stop driving so much, they could fork out the extra cash to help the local store exist. Maybe.

But certain local stores are outrageously expensive (.99 cents for bananas versus .69 cents, for example).

But the most glaring error in the editorial was the fact that the existence of Whitehorse, and most of Yukon, is entirely dependent on oil and gas for transporting all the food, furniture, clothes, building materials (including the unattractive vinyl siding that is so popular here), etc.

Whitehorse is hardly a sustainable community in its current incarnation.

Something has got to give.

It is possible to wean ourselves from our love affair with car culture. but that takes vision and leadership and sacrifice, ideals that are not evident  in our leaders at the municipal or the territorial level.

Perhaps they all know how to fiddle and will do so as the world warms/burns as an orchestra, rather than soloists!

Add to that lack of vision the recent whining from the real-estate association. 

Whitehorse can barely afford the infrastructure it has.

How could we support a population increase when we can’t support properly the community we have?

Why would people want to move to a community that cuts down trees in favour of condos (may I say: support the petition to save Tahkini park).

I’ll ride my bike because I am able and want to and I should — but I’ll still have a car parked in my driveway just in case.

Sorry Mostyn.

Vanessa Thorson


End poverty

I recently worked with some members of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition about increasing access to the Canada Games Centre for low-income families.

It was a privilege to do so.

I’m sure of one thing: something is going to happen to help those (our neighbours) with less means to enjoy the centre.

Someone once said, “Nothing kills the spirit like poverty.”

We all know about the benefits of physical health and emotional health for a better community.

Spiritual health is just as vital and what poverty does is drive a stake through all three.

Many of us here in Yukon believe all things are possible.

Why not a poverty-free territory?

We know governments everywhere put poverty issues low on priority lists (there are positive signs of change in Canada).

We also know governments have to make choices about scarce resources, despite tempting surpluses here in the Yukon.

Criticism of our government or public officials takes us only so far.

The challenge is to focus on what’s possible.

We also need to focus on the costs of doing things now, versus the cost of not doing things down the road.

Let’s work for a poverty-free territory!

It can only happen with the support and determination of all the stakeholders.

Nothing kills the spirit like poverty.

We can take our stakes and drive them through the heart of poverty!

We can do this.

What a legacy it would be for the Yukon; it cares for all its citizens.

Bill Thomas