Residents in five Yukon communities are moving closer to getting civic addresses, according to the territory’s Department of Community Services.
The department has been working with the local advisory councils of Mount Lorne, Ibex Valley, Tagish, Carcross and Marsh Lake with the hopes of completing the process by the spring of 2015.
Ian Davis, Yukon’s director of community affairs, said the department has recognized that street signs and house numbers are going to be important to help local fire departments, EMS and RCMP respond to emergency calls, “so they’re able to find the house more effectively when they go out.
“Right now each house is identified with a lot number which is not necessarily sequential. This system will allow responders to find residents much easier.”
The department is reacting to requests that initially came from the communities, said Davis.
The NDP Opposition has also been vocal on the issue. In February 2013, it called the Yukon Party out for failing to implement civic addresses in communities like Tagish.
“First and foremost, this is a safety issue. The lives and property of Yukoners are at stake here,” said Kevin Barr, MLA for Mount Lorne-Southern Lakes and the critic for Community Services, in a news release at the time.
“For almost a decade now the Yukon government has held meetings, done research and promised pilot projects. And what do rural communities have to show for it? Nothing.”
Barr said responding to calls with “it’s over by Jim’s old place” just didn’t cut it anymore.
Davis said the department has had positive meetings with residents in the five communities.
Some roads without signs already have names. The department is working with the advisory councils and emergency responders to gather information and create maps of the areas.
RCMP spokesperson Const. Dean Hoogland said the civic addresses will help cut down response time.
“A responder may not be familiar with an area, therefore would need to make further inquiries to assist him/her in searching for a specific location,” he said in an e-mail.
“Having a civic address system would certainly enhance our ability to respond in a timely manner.”
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