Letter to the Editor

YTG dumps on dogs Open letter to the Education department: This letter is written in regard to a recent decision made by Education officials.

YTG dumps on dogs

Open letter to the Education department:

This letter is written in regard to a recent decision made by Education officials.

On November 7th, a city employee (parks and recreation) informed all dog groups that the animals would no longer be allowed in the city’s schools either for training or trialing purposes. The new policy is to be effective as of November 30.

In the current publication An Essential Guide to Services in Whitehorse there are 10 different dog-training groups listed.

This is evidence that training dogs and being involved in dog sports has become a popular recreation for Whitehorse residents.

At this time the only available space that allows dogs is the Takhini mezzanine.  Because this is the one and only space, it is difficult to acquire the time needed for classes and training sessions.

It is also costly, as non-profit groups pay for the rental of the room and storage.

Although we are extremely grateful for the creation of the outdoor training field that was built behind the arena, groups also pay for maintenance and storage here.

The seriousness of the problem becomes evident when you realize that all this training may be for nothing!

Without a space large enough to hold obedience, rally-obedience, canine demo practices, and seminars, our options for holding events are practically non-existent.

A United Kennel Club (a group that allows all breeds, including mixed breeds) obedience trial planned for April of this year by Whitehorse Woofers may need to be cancelled due to the lack of space.

It is impossible to have trial run-throughs, fun matches or the actual trial itself without a proper venue.

Takhini mezzanine presents both size and flooring issues that will not accommodate a trial.

Outside activities in the Yukon are limited to two months in the summer and, therefore, the most we could hope to host is an agility trial.

It is our understanding that the Education department has recently dealt with legal issues involving dogs in the schools.

However, we would like to encourage your help in finding alternate space for dog training. Consultation would have been appreciated.

Are there compromises that could be made by the dog handlers?

Are there alternate spaces available belonging to government that would work?

Are there other groups that have space willing to work with us?

In a city where dogs are dragged behind cars, puppies are left in dumpsters and it is necessary to rescue 2,821 animals at the local shelter, canine education and dog sports should be valued.

A large part of our club’s mandate is public education and classes. Without public space in the schools it will be very difficult to fulfill this mandate.

Whitehorse Woofers Dog Club is very concerned about Education’s decision in regard to no dogs in the schools.

We are extremely limited in what we can offer in terms of trials and activities and would welcome suggestions, or collaboration, in order to rectify the difficult situation that our non-profit club is facing.

Whitehorse Woofers Dog Club

Unfair to Cash

Re Cashing in on the Wind, (the News, November 23):

In the Yukon, when a request or proposal for a new initiative develops, a corresponding argument naturally arises.

Cash Minerals’ proposal for winter road access in northern Yukon is no exception.

Similar to many topics regarding the environment in the Yukon, public debate is expected.

Unfortunately for Cash Minerals, local interest groups, including the media, have been intent on proliferating misinformation on the subject.

The recent article in the Yukon News is an example of a haphazard attempt to sensationalize the winter road issue by using misleading commentary.

Many of the well-regarded daily newspapers make an effort to present both sides of an issue in order to foster objective public debate, but it is apparent that the aim of this article was quite the opposite.

As such, I would like to address some of the issues mentioned in the article.

First, it should be noted that members of the Wilderness Tourism Association have personal financial interests in the outcome of the winter road permitting application.

Though this group may be perceived as a conservation-oriented organization — and they may very well be — members of this group own businesses that depend on the Wind River, which impacts their balance sheet.

In this respect, they are very much like Cash Minerals, which is also accountable for its finances.

This group also raised the subject of increased air traffic in the Wernecke area due to exploration activity. We anticipate that the permitting of the winter road will alleviate air traffic during the exploration season (i.e. April to September), as a sizeable portion of equipment and supplies, previously taken into camps by air, can be moved in via the winter road.

It is also important to note that the use of the winter road is confined to the winter months and will be used on an annual basis, which is contingent upon the success of future exploration programs. 

Stakeholders have also been misinformed about the history of the winter road.

The winter road was built in the 1950s to facilitate exploration by large mining companies.

When the commodities market collapsed in the early 1980s, exploration companies left the area and use of the road ceased.

There has, however, been recent use of the road to transport equipment and supplies into the area.

Road use has occurred in 1995, 1997, 1999, 2004 and, more recently, in 2006. This road will not only reduce air traffic during the busy summer months, but it will also create jobs and enhance operational efficiencies for exploration companies who wish to use the roads to mobilize in and around the Wernecke area.

To clarify, contrary to the comment on the ‘increase in uranium mining’ in the Yukon, there is no uranium mining currently taking place in the Yukon.

Yes, one of the minerals being explored for is uranium oxide, along with a host of others, some of which include copper, gold, molybdenum and silver.

However, it should be noted that there is a significant difference between uranium exploration and uranium mining, the former of which the Yukon has had a long history with, dating back to the 1970s.

It is clear from last week’s article, meaningful debate on the winter road issue has been clouded by subjective commentary and quasi-facts.

Companies planning to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs are now questioned and considered guilty of events (e.g. inability to pay for cleanup) that may never come to pass.

The possibility that cleanup costs have already been planned/budgeted for is not even a consideration.

The depiction of an exploration company mindful of its stakeholders and the communities in which it operates will never happen, despite its work in the community and the job opportunities that have been created over the years.

The intent of this letter is not to change the minds of the individuals therein, as these parties, like us, have vested interests in the outcome of the permitting of the winter road.

The aim here is to provide objective and, more importantly, factual information on the subject enabling all parties involved to engage in meaningful public debate.

Basil Botha, president and CEO, Cash Minerals Ltd., Vancouver