Letter to the Editor

Don’t allow industry to be hijacked An article on Wednesday stated “the Yukon government hopes to mollycoddle the territory’s…

Don’t allow industry

to be hijacked

An article on Wednesday stated “the Yukon government hopes to mollycoddle the territory’s timber industry.”

Although I have spent most of the last 50 years employed in the forest industry, I’m not sure that I am quite ready to be “mollycoddled.”

Upon consulting my Webster’s Dictionary, I find two definitions for the catchword “mollycoddle”:

1) mollycoddle (n) a pampered or effeminate man or boy; and

2) mollycoddle (v) to surround with an excessive or absurd degree of indulgence and attention.

The first definition brings to mind visions of Boy George in a pink tutu and cerise hard hat prancing through the forest with his Barbie chainsaw. While this manifestation may have some appeal to the purveyors of political correctness at the Yukon News and the Yukon Forest Values Group, it’s not me.

The second definition is slightly closer to the mark.

For most of the past two decades, Yukon’s forest industry has been subjected to “an excessive and absurd degree of attention.”

The excessive and absurd degree of indulgence has been consistently applied to those in Yukon’s conservation industry who would have us do nothing with our natural resources beyond smelling the flowers and snorting the mushrooms.

The most positive occurrence in recent years affecting Yukon’s forest resource and nascent forest industry, has been devolution.

Transferring control of the resource from Ottawa to the Yukon government has finally placed control of the resource in the hands of those who have the vision and ability to manage it in a manner beneficial to all citizens.

Yukon’s new Forest Act is the first step in realizing this vision. The minister is correct in presenting an act that addresses the future needs of the resource and those who rely on it for their livelihood.

We have similar legislation that provides for the needs of other resource users.

For example: Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Act, Federal Fisheries Act, National Parks Act, Yukon Wildlife Act, Yukon Parks Act, and Yukon Environment Act, to name a few.

I practise my trade with pride in my labour and respect for the resource.

I bear the same respect for all those employed in harvesting Yukon’s forests.

Harvesting trees to build and heat Yukon’s homes is an honest and honourable profession.

The legislature should not allow the new Forest Act to be hijacked by the conservation lobby.

Bill Bowie, forest technician, Arctic Inland Forest Products Inc.

Dawson City

Watson Lake must

prepare for railway

Open letter to Watson Lake mayor and council:

I have had an opportunity to study data relating to the 1943 US Corps of Engineers survey of the Trans-Canadian/Alaska Rail route, extending from Prince George, British Columbia to Fairbanks, Alaska, an estimated overall distance of approximately 2300 miles.

Physical characteristics of the Watson Lake Section (Mile 518.8 to Mile 570.5) indicate that from a bridgehead crossing of the Liard River, Mile 518.8, about one and one-half miles below the confluence of the Dease River below Lower Post, “a gradual departure is made from the river level, ascending on maximum compensating grade with curves up to 13 degrees in medium work through an area of densely wooded ridges and benches to Mile 525, thence the line continues in a northwesterly direction in light construction through rolling wooded country with undulating and light curves to mile 570.5 where the line crosses from the left to the right limit of the Frances River.

This crossing is approximately 475 feet wide between rock walls and 60 feet above water level.

From Mile 523, the line is in close proximity to the existing road between Lower Post on the Liard River and the Watson Lake airport at Mile 544.”

Based on this information, the survey appears to enter Watson Lake somewhere near the rodeo grounds, then generally follows the centre line of the Alaska Highway right-of-way to a point near the old Watson Lake Hotel. It then continues in a northwesterly direction towards the Watson Lake airport.

While pipelines are able to overcome elevations, railways can only tolerate rising and descending grades and wide curves over long distances. Consequently this could leave little opportunity for lateral adjustment of the railway right-of-way, particularly along the south side of Wye Lakes.

In this regard I would suggest that Northern Affairs be asked to undertake a traverse between the Liard and Frances river bridge sites to better define the original route, and to consider any alternate right-of-way options that might be available.

A recent Russian proposal to construct a tunnel under the Bering Strait for the purpose of providing an intercontinental link to the North American railway system has revived interest in building the railroad, perhaps sooner than anticipated.

It is therefore important that every effort be made to identify a precise location of the railway right-of-way traversing our community.

This will certainly have a multifold impact when revising the official community plan.

In conclusion, I would ask that council seriously consider requesting that Northern Affairs be asked to assist with all necessary survey or engineering support, in an effort to define, once and for all, a precise location of any present or future railway right-of-ways, respecting the municipality of Watson Lake and surrounding areas.

Donald E. Taylor

Watson Lake

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