Letter to the Editor

Democracy isn’t about minorities ‘Tis disheartening to realize that the “Porter Creek Drug Dog Issue” is still current and…

Democracy isn’t about minorities

‘Tis disheartening to realize that the “Porter Creek Drug Dog Issue” is still current and unresolved.

If a proven system has been established, tested, and been found to be effective in curbing the High School drug scene, I say, “Bring it on!” Even if it comes in the shape and size of a dog.

If I have ‘human rights’ and you have ‘human rights’ … which right is right?

When one or two individuals dictate or determine the fate and direction of the majority, or ‘masses,’ we learned in school it is called socialism.

Socialism is in direct conflict with democracy.

Most people would consider me a rather compassionate person. And I am. But I begin to see red when I feel there is ‘minority bullying’ going on and no one stands up to it because, well … “poor minorities.”

A few thousand years of recorded human existence has proven, right or wrong, that the ‘fittest of the fittest’ will ultimately survive, push forward, adapt and endure.

I will count myself in with that lot.

If you have life-threatening allergies it is your responsibility to live wisely.

There are many educational alternatives.

No one has to attend a public school against their will.

In fact, the Yukon’s public school system offers multiple ways to complete a Grade 12 diploma.

It leaves a lot of room for “special needs.”

I believe we all pay enough taxes to ensure that your kid and my kid have their educational needs met.

I do not believe that the “majority” should be required to accommodate one individual’s special needs.

I am shocked that this has even been allowed to go on so long without resolution — enough is enough.

Majority wins. Welcome to what is known, so far, as a democratic nation.

Access your alternatives.

Sheila Robertson


Rude councillor … again

An open letter to city councillor Doug Graham:

As a resident of Takhini North, I listened with concern to your response to fellow community member Erica Heuer at the CBC Radio public forum on land development in Whitehorse.

It was striking the way that most of your response had little to do with her comments and question.

There are many points of view and a variety of opinions in my neighbourhood on any issue.

I do not share the same opinions as Heuer on some issues, and I am certain that she does not share some of mine.

What we have been able to do, however, is to come together as a community (with the vast majority of homeowners represented) to co-operatively enter into a planning process for redevelopment of our neighbourhood with your city planning department.

Because, in spite of all the different opinions in the neighbourhood, I think that we generally all do want what is best for the community, both here and throughout Whitehorse.

Your response to Heuer’s comments was uncalled for and reflected badly on all members of our neighbourhood.

I have been to neighbourhood meetings and participated in community workshops, and I have never heard anyone be yelled at or otherwise marginalized for their opinion.

The fact is that we have been participating in your planning process where we have inherently accepted the future infill of our neighbourhood.

In all three design options that we, as community members, have helped to develop as part of your government’s process, the number of residential units in Takhini North will double, or more than double.

There are already 82 units in the neighbourhood, so this new development will be significant.

If this is news to you councillor Graham, ask your planning staff, because it is work that was completed in the spring.

We as community members and a neighbourhood are working co-operatively with you to do our part to densify this city as per the Official Community Plan.

Your publicly implied suggestion otherwise is misplaced.

Isaac Anderton

Takhini North Resident

City versus citizens and law

Open letter to Whitehorse city council and mayor:

I am exasperated by the current proposal to re-zone the McLean Lake area to Industrial Quarry in absence of detailed hydrological studies.

This issue has been discussed at great length before.

This matter has been brought before the territorial Supreme Court and has been ruled upon by judge Ron Veale.

The Yukon Supreme Court decision of August 17, 2007 clearly explains:

“If a zoning bylaw amendment is not in conformance with the (Official Community Plan), it cannot be validated after its passage. If that were the case, bylaws not in conformance with the OCP could be validated by some retroactive process, which the Municipal Act does not contemplate.

 In other words, it is the zoning bylaw amendment that is being reviewed for conformance with the OCP, not an unknown subsequent process or afterthought that may be utilized for that purpose.”(p.27)

In other words, the Industrial Quarry zone designation cannot be made until the OCP requirements are fulfilled. Additionally:

“Policy 8.6(3) states that the aggregate quarries in the Industrial Service areas along McLean Lake Road may continue, but they are over time to be redeveloped to other industrial uses, thereby being ‘perceived’ as ‘interim uses.’ If the proposed quarry development is captured by this policy it is clearly not in conformance as it has a 50-year life expectancy, which is anything but an ‘interim use.’” (p.29)

If the heavy industrial use of this area is intended as interim, what is the benefit in moving from the current location at great expense to the developer for a short-term purpose?

If it is not for a short-term purpose, it does not classify as interim and therefore contravenes the OCP.

And finally, on whether the city needs to conduct the hydrological assessment at McLean Lake before zoning the area as Industrial Quarry:

“It is, in a word, mandatory.”

(p. 30)

If disobeying the law is not enough for the city to turn from its current path, another consideration is the irresponsibility of zoning an area based in relation to a primary use that is non-existent for the zone designation currently being brought forward.

The grandfather clause allowing concrete and asphalt to continue on gravel-quarry designated areas is a contingency use and should not be allowed to proceed in the absence of the primary use.

It should not be used in the absence of the gravel quarry and, in fact, should not be used in new applications where concrete and asphalt can be more appropriately reviewed as Heavy Industrial designation.

The current application for quarry designation in absence of quarry development is absurd.

Following this course, one could apply for quarry zoning anywhere in the city for the actual purpose of heavy industrial developments, asphalt or concrete, and thereby sidestep criteria intended to regulate these industries in relation to their proximity to the Whitehorse population.

I know of no other example where a zone has been designated based on a side use in absence of the actual use.

This undermines city planning and public process.

It is time for the city to act responsibly and conform to the spirit of the OCP and the Supreme Court decision.

Thank you for consideration of this perspective for the betterment of Whitehorse city planning and sustainability.

Sue Moodie