letter to the editor294

Poor planning Open letter to Whitehorse mayor and council, I’ve recently heard about city council eyeing the green space between McIntyre…

Poor planning

Open letter to Whitehorse mayor and council,

I’ve recently heard about city council eyeing the green space between McIntyre village and Arkell for a potential site for 100 or so building lots and I can’t help but wondering if there is anything more than wind whistling between your ears.

The building industry, and others have been warning you for years that the supply of lots is near exhausted.

You’ve tried Band Aid solutions like infill, which failed miserably and now this idiotic project on Hamilton all the while the Porter Creek bench sits there, idle — with the stench of the sewage lagoons wafting through it. Nice planning, folks!

I live in Copper Ridge and, like many, work downtown. Public transit is not an option as I am jetting one child to day care, and one child to school downtown because (surprise) their was no room for him at the only Anglophone school in the area.

Most mornings, the single lane of traffic is backed up from the traffic circle we never wanted, south almost as far as the Granger mall.

As I write this, 119 new lots are up for grabs, this in addition to the 60 or 70 currently under development.

When these homes are occupied and the added potential of the 100 or more near Arkell, Hamilton Boulevard will be a freaking parking lot with up to 300 more cars during the morning and evening commute.

When there is an accident, forget getting in or out of the fastest growing neighbourhood in Whitehorse.

Imagine if we had to evacuate for any reason — it ain’t gonna happen.

For years we’ve heard of the Hamilton extension (to the South Access) as an alternate egress for those of us up here.

We’ve seen the federal infrastructure money come in and be pissed away on designing and redesigning the downtown traffic flow, and painting and repainting the lines in the city core.

Here’s a thought: Put in the Hamilton extension now so we have the option of not running the gauntlet you have created in the north end of downtown, most of us will use the new route to access downtown from the south end of the city,  alleviating traffic on Two Mile Hill and the nightmare intersection at 2nd and 4th … and get to work on the Porter Creek Bench.

Harvey Millwright

Whitehorse

Let voters count

Open letter to all candidates in the  territorial election,

The Yukon Citizens for Electoral Reform have asked me, as their interim chair, to communicate our group’s interests to all candidates seeking election to the Yukon legislative assembly.

Yukon Citizens for Electoral Reform is an informal group interested in finding an option that will bring in line the percentage of popular vote for each party in Yukon elections with the percentage of seats secured by parties in the legislative assembly.

Many are dissatisfied with party representation in the Yukon Legislative Assembly when this is compared to the popular vote.

In the last election, there was a significant distortion between the popular vote of Yukoners and the number of seats each of the main political parties received in the legislative assembly.

The New Democratic Party received 28.9 per cent of the popular vote and 27.7  per cent of seats in the House.

The Yukon Liberal Party, however, received about 29 per cent of the popular vote, but only returned one candidate to office, representing 5.5 per cent of seats in the House.

The Yukon Party received about 40 per cent of the popular vote, yet found itself with a majority of seats, 12, representing 67 per cent of the seats in the House.

This distortion in the current system was identified to Yukoners by the Yukon Citizens for Electoral Reform in a petition circulated in 2005.

In fairly short order more than 740 signatures were received giving us a clear indication that Yukoners find this distortion unacceptable.

Our petition asked that a process be established (led by a commission) to enable Yukoners to become informed about and to be consulted on various electoral options to reduce this distortion, and to determine which option to put before the electorate in a referendum.

We are pleased that we have received written responses from all three party leaders in this election.

 Although the Yukon Party has up until now preferred to focus on legislative renewal before electoral reform, Premier Dennis Fentie’s letter indicates that “The Yukon Party will be presenting another election platform in the 2006 territorial election and both existing and future commitments are currently under review.” 

The Yukon Liberal Party leader, Arthur Mitchell, has indicated that they “would welcome a forum to discuss these various aspects of governance.”

He goes on to say that the Liberals support “the formation of a commission … and believe that the mandate should be broad enough to encompass the various suggestions and models that may be put forward.”

However, Mitchell stops short of a commitment to a referendum, indicating that this depends on the question posed to the citizenry, and that this is the business of the legislative assembly.

The New Democratic Party Leader, Todd Hardy, also recognized the importance of waiting for his party’s membership to finalize its platform before making detailed commitments.

However, Hardy does say, “I am pleased to advise you that the Yukon NDP caucus is in full support of the petition you presented to the legislative assembly.”

He goes further: “I can assure you that I consider electoral reform a matter of great importance. If I were to become premier, the principles in Bill 101 with respect to both electoral reform and legislative renewal would be a personal priority.”

Where does this leave us?

A representative cross-section of Yukoners have said they would like to discuss electoral reform, and go to a referendum over a clear option to address the current distortions resulting from the “first past the post” system.

The Liberal and NDP party leaders have committed to some form of process. And, the Yukon Party leader has left us with some hope that we will see a positive commitment in the upcoming electoral platform.

We encourage all candidates in this election to give careful consideration to the establishment of a process that will enable Yukon residents to engage in an informed dialogue on this important governance question.

We would appreciate hearing from all candidates regarding this matter. You can email us at  HYPERLINK “mailto:brekkedi@northwestel.net” brekkedi@northwestel.net .

 

Kirk Cameron, interim chair, Yukon Citizens for Electoral Reform

Mosquito parks

In 2002, the Yukon Liberal Party proposed the Eagle Plains Protected Area that was basically a swamp full of mosquitoes.

The Liberals wanted to make more than 20 large new protected areas (parks) where no natural resource development would be allowed; but, in 2002, the business coalition of the Yukon was unanimously against this.

Also against this were the “three naughty Liberals” (Mike McLarnon, Don Roberts, and Wayne Jim).

These two groups prevented Pat Duncan, Liberal leader, from turning the Yukon into the “Jamaica of the North” and saved the Yukon from economic disaster.

Scott Kent, then-Liberal Economic Development minister, said:

The protected area is “a balance between environmental and economic interests.

“Economic benefits will be realized through increased tourist potential.

“An Eagle Plains Protected Area will enhance tourist potential.”

Dale Eftoda, then-Liberal Environment minister said, “This (Eagle Plains protected area) area supports unusual plant life and vigorous insect populations.”

“This area is rolling hills and low wetlands.”

The Yukon Protected Areas Strategy (Eagle Plains ecoregion), “economic values — the Beringian landscape has good film potential.”

What does this mean in “plain English”?

The Eagle Plains Protected Area was designed to protect from development an area of high oil and gas potential close to the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline.

However, this protected area would mean a big increase in tourism and wilderness tourism.

People will drive long distances over bad roads to visit, camp, hike, and take pictures of a large flat area full of bogs, swamps, mosquitoes in a low lying area of monotonous scenery with no infrastructure for tourists.

Can you imagine what more than 20 large Yukon protected areas would do to the future economy of the Yukon?

Arthur Mitchell, Leader of the Yukon Liberals, does the Liberal Party plan more mosquito parks?

J. Peter Ross (Yukon Prospector)

Whitehorse

Pants on fire

You said in your Monday issue that you would turn down free travel because you are more interested in reporting the truth.

If you ever did report the truth, it would be a refreshing change.

Dale Worsfold

Watson Lake