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Letter: Not satisfied with Yukon government survey


Not satisfied with Yukon government survey

I am a resident of West Dawson. I would like to correct a claim the Yukon Government made about a slippery-worded survey: “A majority of respondents (68 per cent) said they were currently satisfied with the presently-available options for crossing the river in Dawson…”

The results of that survey actually stand for the opposite proposition.

In that survey, the government asked “How satisfied are you with the current options for crossing the river in Dawson?”

Respondents were forced to choose between only three possible answers. The word “dissatisfied” was nowhere on the menu. Instead, the government forced us to choose from nicer sounding euphemisms: (1) “Not at all satisfied,” (2) “Somewhat satisfied,” or (3) “Very satisfied”.

Now, as an example: imagine you yourself were answering this survey. Now, imagine you were feeling mostly dissatisfied. Which of the three options would you choose?

A person who was mostly dissatisfied would be forced to choose the euphemism “Somewhat satisfied”.

And the government then turned around and claimed all people who gave that answer were actually satisfied.

The results were: (1) Not at all satisfied (32 per cent), (2) Somewhat satisfied (50 per cent), (3) Very satisfied (18 per cent).

When the rest of the survey is looked at, dissatisfaction becomes even clearer. At one part, people had freedom to use their own language. In that part, 102 people wrote that they wanted a bridge or other fixed link. Only 36 said they were happy with no bridge.

The truth is even Yukon government knows our situation is dangerous: which is why it asked Canada for funding to build a bridge in 2017 … before spending that money on something else.

The ferry we have is 56 years old. It has been running hard every summer, all summer, 56 summers in a row. Yet there are now no plans for either a bridge nor a new ferry. And there is no backup. The government is all-in on our 1967 ferry lasting forever.

In addition to having hour-long lines, the ferry has started breaking down for days at a time. I was personally on the ferry last year when it began spinning in the middle of the river for several minutes. The tourists on it were laughing, thinking the captain was playing games. I later learned the rudder had been stuck and there is a “trick” to get it unstuck.

Many tourists visit Dawson because they can use the Top of the World Highway to drive in a loop and not retrace their steps. But when the ferry dies, Dawson will be a dead-end on the Klondike Highway. Dawson will be a 1,060 kilometre detour (530 km each way). And when tourists decide it is not worth making that detour, all communities on the way to Dawson will be taken down with us.

Not to mention all the miners at 40 Mile and 60 Mile who will be stranded. And the Tr’ondek Hwech’in will be cut off from about half their land.

Sixty-eight per cent of us are not “satisfied”.

George Filipovic

Dawson City