Letter to the Editor

Mayor monkeys with referendum I have to respond to the rather predictable comments in letters-to-the-editor by mayor Ernie Bourassa and councillor…

Mayor monkeys

with referendum

I have to respond to the rather predictable comments in letters-to-the-editor by mayor Ernie Bourassa and councillor Buckway.

First, I find it amusing that the mayor is now taking credit for passing the bylaw to require a referendum if the city tries to eliminate greenspace.

I would think he would be shamefaced that it was even necessary for a referendum petition and six months of haggling before Whitehorse voters got that passed into law.

That the mayor takes credit for the hard work of 2,500 Whitehorse electors is certainly an interesting turn of events.

Second, it is predictable that some, such as Bourassa, are zeroing in on the requirement to have the homeowner do a Greenspace plan and have a plebiscite on something like a split of one lot into two.

It is predictable because that is something that the city itself put into the bylaw to try to sandbag the referendum.

The intent of the referendum was to have the city do greenspace plans for all the subdivisions (Porter Creek, Hillcrest, Copper Ridge, etc.) — not for single lots.

The city knows that — because it was involved in writing the referendum questions.

The city doesn’t want to do greenspace plans for any of the subdivisions.

For that reason, the city has gone to great lengths to make the “Planning Study” bylaw incomprehensible and onerous in an effort to have it defeated.

The idea was that rather than have the city stop everything (including new development) and work on greenspace plans for every subdivision, a greenspace plan was only needed when development was proposed in an undeveloped area.

We never intended developers would have to write the greenspace plans for land that isn’t theirs.

Just as single detached homes, manufactured homes, duplexes, and semi-detached homes are exempted from needing development permits, they could be exempted under this bylaw as well.

We even proposed an exemption of five to 10 units but the city rejected it.

We have done our best to try to get it straightened out over the course of four months so that it can be made workable, and we think it is close to being there.

So why isn’t it perfect right now?

When we told the city that the bylaw was not written as we wanted, they told us to take them to court.

The city does not want to address greenspace issues head on, and it does not want this referendum to pass.

Writing a greenspace plan for every subdivision is a good idea. It will solve much of the conflict that happens now. It will speed up development and save costs due to inflation. It will give certainty to residents and developers.

But planners will have to do more than rubber stamp lots to do a subdivision.

The city and YTG are spending $100,000 of dollars on campaigns for unpopular developments where residents feel their concerns are not listened to.

More than $100,000 was spent on the McIntyre Creek fiasco. The fact is we can’t afford not to do greenspace plans at the beginning of a development with bills like this.

I urge all voters to send a message to stop the city’s shenanigans. Vote ‘Yes’ on June 22.

Tell the council we want them to quit playing games.

Greenspace needs to be considered at the start of any development. Despite any of the city’s tomfoolery, that is what this bylaw says.

We need to have a vote to say yes or no to the greenspace plan because the city will not listen otherwise. That is also what the bylaw says.

This is not about NIMBYism, it is about common sense, fiscal responsibility and good planning.

Carole Bookless

Whitehorse

No longer silent

and invisible

On behalf of the Yukon Women’s Transition Home (Kaushee’s Place) I wish to commend the Yukon government for its groundbreaking work towards the protection of older persons through the territorial Adult Protection and Decision Making Act.

We applaud the Yukon

government and policymakers for taking this important step in stopping abuse against older adults.

On June 15, the world witnessed the emergence of the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

It is heartening to see the growing global awareness in response to issues that have, to date, often been too upsetting and complex to adequately address.

To this end, the Yukon Women’s Transition Home is pleased to announce the release of No Longer Silent and Invisible: best practice manual for setting up safe homes and working with abused older adults.

 This manual is one of the many accomplishments of a three-year initiative called Silent and Invisible: What’s Age Got to do with It? undertaken in conjunction with the BC/Yukon Society of Transition Homes.

The manual was compiled by Cindy Chiasson, co-ordinator and outreach worker for older women at Kaushee’s Place.

We wish to take this opportunity to thank the many older persons, helpers, concerned individuals, agencies and communities who came forward to speak out about issues of concern.

A brief presentation and overview of this manual will be given by Chiasson at our upcoming Annual General Meeting on June 22, noon to 1:30 p.m. at Hellaby Hall.

It is our hope that this manual will be a valuable resource to assist concerned individuals, helping professionals, and agencies in helping older adults to live free from abuse.

For more information, please contact Cindy Chiasson at 633-7721.

Natalie Edelson, acting executive director Yukon Women’s Transition Home, Kaushee’s

Fraser Institute doesn’t deserve its bad report card

Your dismissive editorial of June 12th (Think tank numbers lie) is woefully incorrect on several points. It is a pity that you chose not to get the facts before you rushed into print.

First, the indicator values provided in the Fraser Institute’s Report Card on Secondary Schools in British Columbia & Yukon do not “lie” as the editorial’s title implies.

For example, at FH Collins for the 2004/2005 school year the average mark obtained on the Grade 12 examinable courses was 64.3 per cent, as was published in the report card.

Again, the failure rate on those same tests was, as published, 17.0 per cent.

The school’s overall rating of 5.2 out of 10 is based on these and other actual academic results achieved at the school in 2004/2005.

Of course, it is true that some variance in a school’s results will naturally occur from year to year.

This variation could be caused by changes in the characteristics of the school’s students, changes in teaching methods or in the makeup of the exams, or even by interruptions in the daily routine at the school that occurred around exam time.

It is this kind of variance that the Simon Fraser University professors were talking about.

What they didn’t discuss were the several ways that the report card accounts for this inevitable variation.

First, wherever possible, the report card includes up to seven years of historical data. Readers can easily see how each school’s results vary from year to year. Some schools show considerable annual variation, others are more stable.

Second, in order to assist the reader in the interpretation of the historical data, the report card offers a trend indicator that identifies those results that are showing statistically significant improvement or deterioration rather than just random annual fluctuation.

Finally, the report card includes not only each school’s rank for the current year, but also its rank for the most recent five years.

By ignoring these important interpretive features, the professors came to incorrect conclusions about the report card and its usefulness. As a result, their critique is inaccurate and misleading.

Finally, the inaccuracy of your editorial was compounded when you stated that we would not return phone calls about the report. I received one phone call, which I returned as soon as I was able.

In future, I hope you will first get the facts and then write the story. To do otherwise does your readers a great disservice.

Peter Cowley, school of

performance studies director and co-author of the Report Card on Secondary Schools in British Columbia & Yukon at The Fraser Institute Vancouver

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