Make sure you go to the bathroom before you drive to Dawson City — three of the rest areas on the North Klondike Highway were closed by Tourism and Culture this summer.
Madison Guthrie is the manager of communications with the department of Highways and Public Works. Guthrie emailed a written statement to the News on Sept. 21, saying the closed sites are: Conglomerates point of interest (kilometre 297.8), Yukon Crossing (kilometre 395.2) and the Stewart River viewpoint (kilometre 551.0).
These sites no longer have accessible washrooms. They will not be plowed through the winter.
“After discussions with Tourism and Culture, it was decided to close these three outhouse sites on the North Klondike Highway based on a cost-benefit evaluation,” the statement said.
The cost of maintaining those sites was approximately $80,000 a year.
Jointly, the department of Tourism and Culture responded with Highways and Public Works to say the decision was made based on redundancy. Each of the closed sites is located between 15 and 20 kilometres from its next closest rest stop.
These include Braeburn (kilometre 280), Montague Roadhouse (kilometre 322), Five Finger Rapids (kilometre 380) and Stewart Crossing (kilometre 535).
Guthrie said those facilities will be maintained throughout the winter.
“The closing of these three sites is a part of a long-term vision to refine a strategy for rest areas in the Yukon. The goal of the strategy will be to provide a consistent and high level of service at rest stops with a standardized distance between the stops,” the statement read.
A follow-up to that statement said the government is in the process of defining service standards for rest stops.
The statement further said there are 130 rest areas and pull-outs on Yukon highways. Roughly half of these have outhouses.
“The service standards under development will specify minimum and maximum spacing between sites based on highway classification as well as the level of amenities that will be available,” said the statement.
The joint statement from Tourism and Culture and Highways and Public Works said the government is working on a long-term strategy for rest stops in the territory. It said the strategy will inform a maintenance approach to rest stops, including assessing whether new rest stops are required, should be closed or are in need of upgrades.
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