A quest for integrity
When I decided to write this letter, (yet another letter concerning the McLean Lake issue), I thought it would be a good idea to go online and find the minutes and direct quotes from the last few city council meetings I attended in order to get my facts straight.
Here are a few quotes that I have pulled from the Whitehorse homepage :
“Over the past few years the city of Whitehorse has been moving towards greater levels of sustainability… Sustainability is considering the environment in everything we do to help us maintain our quality of life in the future.”
“The Whitehorse EcoVision Strategy will assist council in making its operations more sustainable and act as a platform to educate and involve the local community in expanding sustainable practices into businesses, homes and other organizations.”
“Councillors are elected by the residents to make decisions for the betterment of the community.”
“The city of Whitehorse values feedback from the community.”
All of this information (and more) is written under lovely green banners promoting such slogans as “Leadership and Integrity”, “Environment and Sustainability”, “Equity and Cultural Diversity.”
For a moment, I had hopes that the whole McLean Lake issue was a figment of my imagination, that such a city as Whitehorse would never in a million years contemplate the possibility of allowing a quarry so close to an inner city lake.
Whitehorse has vision!
Whitehorse has integrity!
Whitehorse understands sustainability!
Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before I snapped out of it and realized that the homepage I was looking at did not belong to Whitehorse, Yukon, but rather to a newly incorporated city in Australia also called Whitehorse. www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au
But I did linger on their site awhile.
I looked at the beautiful pictures and insight and I dreamed that some day, our Whitehorse would support the same values and I could feel confident that the people in charge were looking out for the better interest of its people and future generations.
Meanwhile, however, I find myself writing letters to express my utter disgust at the way our city councillors acted during the meetings I have attended at city hall these last few months while I followed the McLean Lake issue.
I witnessed citizens of all walks of life (doctors, construction workers, environmentalists, lawyers…) bring forth their concerns : air quality, water, dust from the proposed activities, loss of an inner city recreational site, failure to follow the OCP, etc.
Although it is true that there was in some cases some confusion over the facts of the matter at hand, all of the concerns raised were valid.
If not all for the current proponent’s activities, then for the possibilities entailed by the precedents set in this case.
Before the zoning decision was made, it was my belief that if 100 people packed into city hall to voice concerns, if petitions were drawn, protests organized and over 30 individual letters were written on the same matter, then the city would have to address these concerns, clarify any misunderstandings or bring forth all of the facts in order to justify a decision.
I had not in my wildest dreams thought that the city councillors would bully and intimidate the speakers, laugh at their concerns and refute them with atrociously silly counter-arguments, wink and joke with the proponent and imply throughout the whole proceedings that the decision was already made, even blatantly admit that the public hearings were only being held because they had to be and that nothing anybody said would nor could change the fate of McLean Lake.
But unfortunately, that’s what happened.
And it’s all on video.
Anyone interested can watch the whole saga on the city’s website, www.city.whitehorse.yk.ca.
Just click on council, then council on video for the dates of December 11, 2006; January 29, 2007 and February 12, 2007.
And then, just for fun, why not check out Whitehorse, Australia’s homepage.
Doesn’t that look like a great place to live?
Like something to aspire to?
Open letter to Wal-Mart:
I don’t like shopping at Wal-Mart.
You did kill frogs and minnows.
You also killed grayling and all the birds had to move out or get run over by a bulldozer.
It was a bad idea to build on a swamp.
You lost a valuable customer. I won’t shop at Wal-Mart any more, and neither will my mom.
If you were kind enough you would change things back to the way it was. You could bulldoze your store down and take a loader and scoop the cement out of the swamp and rebuild everyone’s pond.
I’ve told my whole class about the pond.
Keenan Roush, 5
And then the mom…
The previous letter is from my five-year-old son.
It was prompted after I read a story to him about endangered Canadian birds.
After that story, Keenan became concerned about how animals lose their habitats.
I used the Whitehorse Wal-Mart location as an example about how our swamps and wildlife can be taken over by humans.
The two weeks following were very emotional for Keenan.
Keenan began to speak to his extended family members, classmates, teachers, people in passing and Wal-Mart employees.
At times, I overheard Keenan say, “The birds could have flown away, but the fish, minnows and frogs had nowhere to go when they dumped cement in the ponds for Wal-Mart to be built.”
After Keenan voiced these concerns, the response ranged from concern to outrage and boycott.
I am deeply sorry for bringing about this change in some people’s view of Wal-Mart, but I believe it has to happen to give nature a voice.
If it wasn’t for my son opening all of our eyes to what has happened to that wildlife sanctuary, we would be blinded to what might happen in the future.
Today I am writing to you to inform you of the concerned Whitehorse citizen’s view, as well as give you a possible solution to the situation.
To clear Wal-Mart’s name, it should find a similar habitat and convert it to a protected area.
I feel we have come to a time when we need to listen to the children (our future) and put nature first!