Open letter to Whitehorse mayor and council:
I’m writing concerning 706 and 708 Ogilvie St. I was living at 7th and Cook when the city expropriated the escarpment lots, and I was surprised that people’s homes could be taken away from them. It was disturbing but I accepted it as being a necessary safety measure.
The house I was living in at the time was worth about $40,000 and I remember talking to a retired man over at the top of Hawkins or Hanson who was going to be paid $18,000 for his lot with its little trailer. He was upset, wondering where he was going to be able to find another place for that amount of money. It didn’t seem fair but, like I said, it appeared that the city was acting in his best interest, having determined that the escarpment could come down on him.
Now the city has changed its mind. The escarpment is not going to slump, at least not at the top end of Ogilvie Street. It is depressing that one city council can take away residences and a business (it was Patriquin’s Garage, as I recall) and another city council can say, “Oops! Say! Look at the lots we can sell downtown!”
I have read the administrative report of April 14, 2014 concerning “Public Input Report – Land Disposition (706/708 Ogilvie Street).” I came away with the impression that the risk in this area was always low. I believe the stabilization measures referred to, except for revegetation, were implemented further south along the escarpment.
Rather than treating this disruption to the lives of residents as a windfall opportunity to increase the tax base and downtown densification I think it would be better to expand the nearby gardening area and put up a plaque with some words of apology, and something about the wisdom of thinking long and hard before acting.