Letter to the Editor

Not just any old dump Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie and Glenn Hart, minister responsible for Community Services, My family and I have been…

Not just any old dump

Open letter to Premier Dennis Fentie and Glenn Hart, minister responsible for Community Services,

My family and I have been living in the hamlet of Mount Lorne for a dozen years, and in other communities around the Yukon for 25.

Without hesitation I can, and often do, claim the Mount Lorne Dump and Recycling Centre is the best in the territory.

Furthermore, it is better than others I have visited on occasion in my travels through BC and Alberta.

What are some of the features that make it better?

At many recycling centres the re-use area piles up with items barely a step away from worthless, in a haphazard tangle with items of real value, hiding them from all but the dedicated.

At Mount Lorne, the re-use area is frequently gone through and tidied up.

Books are arranged and put on shelves, toys are put in boxes, clothes are hung and folded, the occasional piece of artwork or poster goes up on a wall.

Items which are broken beyond repair or re-use are pulled apart into their constituent recyclable pieces, leaving only the real garbage to go into the dumpster.

I routinely see people climbing into the refuse dumpsters to pull out items — not because they’ve found something to take home, an event which can be seen at dumps everywhere — but because they see something which could be recycled thrown in the wrong container.

We look forward to going to the dump on the weekend.

The kids like it because they might find a new toy to bring home (we’re still working on the idea they need to give back at least as much as they take).

I like it because I’ve exhausted my book supply, or need a new shop vac (we’ve rescued two from the dump, which only needed minor repairs to be serviceable. The big 68-litre one is now being used by the Mount Lorne volunteer fire department), or perhaps some planters.

We often see things loaded into the back of a car almost as quickly as they come off the back of a truck.

It feels good to see things, which still have some life, be happily packed off to a new home. Consequently I feel better passing on some of my things I don’t use anymore.

Just this morning, my wife disposed of a flame burnished metal-work sculpture she feels no more attachment to, after sharing her life with it for a quarter century, and I let go an antique Sony radio in good condition.

Either item would have easily fetched a number of dollars at a secondhand store or a garage sale, yet we know it won’t end up in a dumpster, that it will be appreciated somewhere else.

This kind of exchange is easy; after all, it was only last week we acquired a nine-square-metres  of carpet with no stains to replace the one our elderly, sometimes incontinent, canine soiled this winter.

This is not to say this kind of activity does not take place elsewhere, as it most certainly does, but here at Mount Lorne it is somehow easier and more fluid.

I often run into people at the dump from Whitehorse, Carcross, Marsh Lake or even north of town who stop in just to see what’s in at “the Robinson Store” on their way through.

My wife and I are planning to move our family to Whitehorse this summer, to reduce our carbon footprint and enable easier access to extracurricular activities for our children.

It was a hard decision, two years in the making.

Strange as it may sound, one of the obstacles we’ve had to contend with in coming to our decision is that there is no facility in Whitehorse on par with Mile 9 dump.

This is not to take away from the wonders Raven Recycling has done for the Yukon, long may it reign, but a community hub is not one of its attributes.

So the point of this letter is that the Mount Lorne Dump and Recycling Centre is worth funding, that many have put in a great deal of unpaid work for a long time, that the results of those efforts is real community spirit, and it should be fortified and supported.

It would be a real loss to this community, and the surrounding ones, if it lapsed into being “just another dump,” and this what I fear will happen if adequate funding is not procured and the core volunteers burn out.

Please do what you can to see this does not come to pass.

Matt Wilkie

Mount Lorne

Kluane Park

belongs to Canadians

We are writing to comment on the public meeting held by the Kluane National Park Management Board on April 20th in Haines Junction concerning the review of the current hunting boundaries in Kluane National Park and Reserve.

We are aware of Champagne/Aishihik and Kluane First Nations’ rights to hunt in most areas of the park and were very interested in learning what the board’s recommended changes to the designation of the current no-harvesting zones were going to be.

To our surprise, the board refused to provide details of its recommendations (citing confidentiality reasons) and only gave very general information concerning this matter.

Not only did the board withhold information from the public, my wife and I felt that Champagne/Aishihik and Kluane First Nations’ representatives patronized and lectured us, which made us feel extremely uncomfortable and unwelcome.

Champagne/Aishihik and Kluane First Nations’ members responded to a number of our questions in a ridiculing and dismissive way.

We were particularly offended by the statement made by a member of a First Nation, that we, as citizens of Canada, have “privileges” but no “rights” to voice our interests in the park and that only First Nations have rights related to this park.

The last we checked we were a democratic country and we do have rights related to National Parks, which are financed through our taxes.

Furthermore, we were told by another member of Champagne/Aishihik and Kluane First Nations that we should not raise any concerns about these recommendations and that First Nations have no obligation to consult with the public anyway.

We have strong concerns that this process and what we understand about the decisions being made by the board will have a serious dividing impact on this community along racial lines.

This is very sad considering we are talking about one of the most wonderful and treasured places in Canada for Canadian citizens, visitors and First Nation members.

Why can’t we work together?

We are reiterating our request to the board to make details of the recommendations available to the public for review before the board releases its final recommendations to the federal minister of Environment.

We will not be able to comment on the proposed re-designation of the current no-hunting zones until we,ve had the opportunity to review details of the proposal.

Presently we do not see the need to change the designation of the current no-hunting zones in Kluane National Park and Reserve.

Dieter Gade, Silke Gade

Haines Junction