Dawsonites lament Yukon Party’s shattered promises

DAWSON CITY Dawson City residents are sick of lies, half truths and broken promises. And, for many, that translates into anger with the Yukon Party.


Dawson City residents are sick of lies, half truths and broken promises.

And, for many, that translates into anger with the Yukon Party.

The party’s list of broken vows is long.

It includes a controversial $55 million bridge project that was supposed to be completed next year.

“The pylons should be in the river by now,” said NDP candidate Jorn Meier, who opposed the bridge but is frustrated with the government’s poor record.

“My main concern is that there have been a lot of promises and not much delivered,” he said.

Dawson residents were also promised a multi-level care facility to accommodate seniors and medical professionals.

It hasn’t materialized.

However, in the Yukon Party’s glossy campaign pamphlet, aptly titled Imagine Tomorrow, there’s a checkmark beside “constructing multi-level care facilities in Watson Lake and Dawson City … ”

“We were promised a health centre,” said Dawson mayor John Steins.

“And that never panned out and we’re stuck with an antiquated building that’s more than 30 years old.”

The Yukon Party also promised Dawson it would deliver a $1-million contribution agreement, part of the city recovery package proposed by Community Services Minister Glenn Hart on May 4th.

But it hasn’t happened either.

“You know how political promises are; there are a lot of them around,” said Steins.

A couple weeks ago, Premier Dennis Fentie promised Steins the contribution agreement on a handshake.

And last week, Steins received a letter from Hart confirming that, “For the community’s immediate infrastructure needs, Yukon has committed to provide funding for capital infrastructure investment not to exceed $1 million.”

But the agreement, which was supposed to be on paper and in the bag, is in jeopardy, said Steins.

“Now we’re hearing from the bureaucrats that it’s not ‘all good,’ after all.

“They said there might be a delay.”

Fentie promised Steins the agreement would be in place before the election.

But Steins has now learned it still has to pass management board approval.

“We were led to believe it had already gone through that process,” he said.

And, unfortunately, now that the election has been called, the management board has been dissolved.

“I’m worried we’ve been played,” said Steins.

“And I don’t want us to have been played — promised something and then, ‘Oops, election time, sorry.’

“That doesn’t fly.

“And if that’s the way the Yukon Party is going to behave, then people should think twice about their credibility.”

The city was hoping to apply for funding to carry out a municipal infrastructure study before winter sets in, said city chief administrative officer Paul Moore.

It was also hoping to get started on repairs to the Dawson recreation centre’s arena before hockey season started, he said.

“We’re working to solve the challenges Dawson faces in rebuilding the community,” said Moore.

“And getting this contribution agreement is an important part of this rebuilding process.”

The Yukon Party hasn’t done anything for Dawson, said Steins.

The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture and the art school are the only major projects that have developed, he said.

“But other than that, nothing.”

The $2-million bridge planning was just a big waste of money, he said.

“And that’s about it.

“We’ve got precious little from the territorial government over the last four or five years.”

Stein didn’t want to sound like “a whiner,” he said, noting that “the further you drive away from Whitehorse, the less entitled you are as a Yukoner for money that is supposed to be distributed equally across the territory.

“We need to focus a little more on Dawson, and other communities for that matter,” he said.