Watson Lake development affects Yukon

Watson Lake development affects Yukon The Wolverine Mine will soon be going into production and Selwyn Resources has obtained new investment capital to further explore and develop its large Howard's Pass zinc ore body. This should be welcome news to Wa

The Wolverine Mine will soon be going into production and Selwyn Resources has obtained new investment capital to further explore and develop its large Howard’s Pass zinc ore body.

This should be welcome news to Watson Lake.

However, as a regional supply centre for southeast Yukon and northern BC, just how equipped is the area to meet the demands of these and other future resource developments?

In spite of the current recession, I would suggest that, resulting from past neglect to local needs by the Yukon government, Watson Lake is now at least six to seven years behind where it would normally be in respect to commercial planning and development.

If Watson Lake is ever to realize its full potential, it must be encouraged and permitted to develop its commercial and industrial facilities now, enabling it to provide a broad range of future supplies and services. It should not have to wait yet another two years until the hopeful election of a more accommodating government to do so.

Until Watson Lake establishes a Main-Street-styled business-commercial district similar to most towns and cities, it will have difficulty to achieve its economic potential, and to cope with rapidly growing demands for services.

The site must be well situated for easy access, infrastructure placement and long-term security for investors.

Most importantly, it should be located and designed to provide room for at least 50 years of future expansion, or more.

It is worth noting that if an early start can be made to set aside a suitable area for early engineering and survey work this year, it will likely still take another two years before lots could be sold. This timing could coincide with progressing regional resource-based developments.

Past proposals for this purpose have been vigorously resisted by government, and by an apparent majority of the former town council. This was clear when they created an advisory committee on town planning, which made possible the appointment of businessman Pat Irvin, the chair of the Yukon Development Corporation, who is widely known to oppose all such proposals.

If progress is expected, this negative approach to competitive free enterprise must certainly be taken into account.

I have now placed this proposal before the new town council for consideration. Specific location and other background information may be viewed at yukonadvocate.blogspot.com.

It is recognized the new council will be facing a long backlog of mostly urgent infrastructure upgrading and development needs, which must be given priority.

Last year, Premier Dennis Fentie proclaimed he was providing Yukon with $100 million for infrastructure funding, but as usual nothing was allocated for Watson Lake at the time.

If, as expected, government fails to allocate sufficient and much needed capital infrastructure funding in the forthcoming spring budget, all hopes for economic renewal will be deferred once again, at least until the election of a more accommodating senior government.

In future years, Watson Lake will become a major contributor to the Yukon economy.

What occurs here will have a large effect on everyone in the territory. Therefore, by way of this letter, I would once again ask the citizens of Whitehorse to consider this matter, and for their support.

This can be shown by questioning government about the issue and demanding it provide full support to all infrastructure funding requests made to it by the new Watson Lake town council.

By showing public interest we just might be able to make government listen, and this proposal might then become a reality.

Donald E. Taylor

Watson Lake

See more letters page 16 to 21.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP are making an appeal for information in the case of Mary Ann Ollie, who was murdered in Ross River last year and whose case remains unsolved. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted on… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read