Whitehorse is a mess

Open letter to Whitehorse city council and YTG: Every year about this time I am reminded of what a trashy little town Whitehorse is.

Open letter to Whitehorse city council and YTG:

Every year about this time I am reminded of what a trashy little town Whitehorse is. The snow melts and exposes how little the powers that be ignore the fact that far too many people are out to trash the planet, starting here.

Nearly every street and roadway has far more than its share of trash and garbage in ditches. This “wilderness city” resembles a garbage dump. Not only Whitehorse, but nearly every road in the territory has plastic bags hanging from trees. I find that sickeningly gross. It is getting worse every year.

I cannot believe city council and our MLAs cannot see this unsightly mess. If they do see it, why are they not doing something about it? The highway cleanup campaign sponsored by YTG is akin to putting out a forest fire with a squirt gun. It is far too late.

Last summer I took a trip to the Anchorage area. Once I crossed the border, I was amazed how much more relaxed and enjoyable the ride was. The ditches are not loaded with eye-catching garbage. I could relax and enjoy the scenery.

Alaska has an “adopt-a-highway program” and a $1,000 fine for littering that is obviously enforced. They take pride in their state. All that seems to be missing here.

We have a $500 fine for littering that is not enforced, and conservative governments, God help the Peel. Our governments need to be proactive and clean up after the far too disrespectful population. They need to hire full-time crews to clean up our mess and keep it clean and maybe, eventually, everyone can take pride in their territory and towns.

I am embarrassed when visitors come to this place and see all the garbage staring them in the face. People driving through see the mess down the roadways and can think, “Nobody cares,” and toss their garbage out the window.

Some of the greatest contributors are the big-box stores and the fast-food joints. They don’t clean up after themselves and won’t promote anti-littering. Whitehorse residents are required by law to keep their sidewalks and boulevards clean in front of their homes and businesses. Why not the major contributors?

The Yukon River, adjacent to the Argus properties (Walmart) has trash blown into it on a daily basis. This is unacceptable. They should be required to put up a chain-link fence to capture the trash before it gets to the river.

Mind you, the real culprits are the customers. Big-box stores and fast-food joints seem to bring out the worst in people. I do my best to avoid both.

Whitehorse and YTG give out lots of money to non-profit groups. A suggestion – have them sing for their supper – assign them areas of town or roadways to keep clean. Be proactive. Bring in an adopt-a-highway program and a $1,000 fine for littering. Enforce it.

Yukoners, please take pride in your community and don’t be a litterbug, and give those jerks a tune-up when you see it happen.

Somewhere out on the highway, there is a welcome sign that says “Keep Yukon Clean.” Good luck finding it.

Ed Bergeron

Whitehorse