Civil leadership lacking
Open letter to Mayor Bev Buckway,
As you will recall I made a presentation to council Tuesday night regarding the McLean Lake issue.
Aside from two previous letters, this was my first presentation to council on an issue that personally concerned me.
My issues included, among other items, lack of consultation for Copper Ridge residents, air quality, and the potential risk of dust and airborne carcinogens, which over 15 years could result in health issues for my children.
Rather than listen to my views as part of the public hearing, demonstrating that council wanted public participation in the planning process, and a genuine interest in hearing all sides to make an informed decision (even if they have been heard before), two members of your council were belligerent, aggressive, intimidating, mocking and, overall, an embarrassment for me as a resident and taxpayer.
If you recall, Councillor Dave Stockdale suggested the risks of air pollution for my children were far less than getting struck by a car on my street.
What gives him the right to make a mockery of my concern for the well-being of my children?
Stockdale continued this way throughout the hearing (Councillor Doug Graham sweetened up later in the process).
As a newcomer to this issue I found it very disrespectful that a consultative process set up by the city turned into something that resembled a circus.
Stockdale clearly brings a bias to these meetings: he is sick and tired of hearing the same thing over and over again and explaining why things should not concern me personally.
I was so disturbed by this process that I reviewed the councillors’ code of conduct on the city’s website.
8) Always behaving with the appropriate level of decorum at council meetings and in public;
9) Committing to a consultative approach to solving problems, developing effective decisions and communicating outcomes that build teamwork and co-operation; and
10)Demonstrating leadership by focusing on issues and refraining from personalizing matters particularly in relation to making personal remarks regarding other councillors, citizens or city staff.
Also included are:
a) Act in a reasonable and fair way and in a manner which is not discriminatory; and
b) Treat all members of the community honestly and fairly and in a way that does not cause offence or embarrassment to individuals or groups.
I suggest Stockdale needs to review this code of conduct. He was out of line throughout the entire process.
I thank him for one thing: reinforcing my need to become more active on this issue and future issues that affect my family and community.
With his inability to be unbiased and to listen, I don’t think I can trust his judgment as my representative.
In addition, I was shocked at his comment regarding the Official Community Plan as “merely” a guiding document that the city can stray from if required.
In closing, I am looking to mayor and council to provide a leadership role, make informed decisions, honour the spirit and intent of the planning process (OCP and generally accepted public participation principles), and act in the best interest of Whitehorse residents.
A review of your code of conduct would be the first step a serious discussion about the importance of the OCP and true consultation in the planning process.
News too tough on Games
I am so disappointed with the continuing negativity of the Yukon News toward the Canada Winter Games.
Some 3,700 people have pledged to give their time and energies to the Games, to the young athletes, to our community and to this country.
All the News can focus on are a few last-minute malcontent local businessmen whose aim is to leverage profit from the Games beyond what fair and transparent tendering processes allow for.
Hundreds of Yukon people have been volunteering for months and even years to make these Games a legacy that will benefit all Yukoners.
And the News is so myopic in its coverage.
What a sad commentary on such a thankfully small segment of our society.
News wimpy on Games
With all the issues regarding how tenders for the Canada Winter Games were (mis)handled — and I am one that thinks that the locals have been mistreated — why has the Yukon News been so quiet?
I mean, I think that your paper would have a very strong opinion about this and would be leading the charge in asking for the books to be open to the locals.
Also, if a few misguided dancers can get over-the-top coverage (and weasel their way into the CWG shows) I would think that the local press would be ‘all over’ the poor treatment our local businesses have received.
Let’s see: the chamber of commerce thinks we have dirty taxis.
We allow high-risk convicted sex offenders in Whitehorse.
We have a very large community of homeless people, and many Yukoners depend on the blessings of places like the Salvation Army for their main source of food.
The past mayor and the Yukon government spent how much for these Games?
I don’t see the logic behind this.
I think that Rolf Hougen has more to worry about than unsuitable taxis.
Has any civic leader gone down to help distribute food hampers or serve a hot meal at the soup kitchen lately?
I noticed the government and the mayor had no problem making Whitehorse appear to be a safe place for the Games.
Let’s not put all these big-dollar Games in front of our values.
How many free tickets or game passes, or even bus tickets went to our less fortunate people?
Our money is
I feel very reluctant to write this letter criticizing the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce and, in particular, the president, Rick Karp, because my business is directly responsible for approximately $1,500 a month in sponsorship to the chamber.
However, I believe it is important that the business community and the citizens of Whitehorse understand that Karp does not always speak on behalf of all Whitehorse businesses and certainly does not speak for me.
In a recent article in the Yukon News, Karp defended the Canada Winter Games Society for some of the sponsorship of the event, in particular the sponsorship by national companies.
There is only one reason for the National sponsorship and that is exposure, and, of course, return on their investment, whether financial or otherwise.
Likewise companies in the Yukon would like a return on their investment and be able to garner some exposure nationally.
As a businessman in the Yukon but also a businessman that in no way will benefit financially from the Games — however by writing this letter may suffer financially — I am extremely offended when the Canada Games Society states that since it is not a government agency it does not have to open the books on tenders.
I am offended by the arrogance of this organization, which has complete control of so much public money (an amount we will likely never be totally privy to) and believes that it is above us lowly taxpayers and that it can accept tenders without proving justification.
They very much may have made the right decision, but through its lack of transparency it has eroded trust.
This is the same organization that recently contacted a couple of Whitehorse hotels and cancelled more than 150 reservations four weeks before the Games, leaving these local business scrambling to fill this unexpected void.
It is obvious that the Games are being run by people that have very little or no business sense or experience.
In fact, the Games appear to have come about by the promotion of individuals who no longer live in the community and do not have to face any responsibility if the event fails.
As taxpayers, we will have to foot the bill.
Already our taxes have risen because of the Games and that is just the beginning. The attitude is: if we believe, we can make it happen.
Well folks, it is here and it will happen, but believe it or not that does not mean success.
The future will tell. Remember that when you get your tax notice next year.
Remember that when you pay your parking tickets.
Remember that when your streets are not plowed because of cost cutting.
But that is OK, because we have such a wonderful facility for the future generations.
It is really too bad we can’t afford to pay for it. It already is running a deficit and is only a year old. All the hope in the world will not make it successful.
Remember Mt. McIntyre. It hasn’t paid for itself yet.
It is so sad when I see more than $100 million being spent for so few when there are so many that could have benefited.
I often wonder how many homes could have been built for the deserving seniors with this money.
How many meals could have been served for the homeless with this money?
How many beds could have been opened in Copper Ridge or the Thomson Centre with this money?
I am certain that the athletes will have a great time.
They will be coming from all parts of Canada on the public’s tab.
The government officials will be here for the photo op, on the public’s tab. It is rumoured that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be here for the closing ceremonies.
How much will that add to the budget?
I know, that is federal money, so Ontario is paying for it. Yeah, right!
The Games are here; we cannot stop that and like many others I feel helpless. But maybe we shouldn’t despair. Maybe it is time to take our community back.
Maybe it is time to tell Whitehorse and the Yukon government, enough is enough.
Maybe it is time to take responsibility.
Maybe it is time to make our elected representatives show some responsibility. But it definitely is time to make some financially sound decision and not live on a hope and a prayer and if our elected representatives cannot see this then it is time to toss them out onto their asses.