embarrassment provokes pumping

On Tuesday, Mike Stack awoke to the sound of water pumps. Stack had expressed outrage to the News just a day earlier concerning a 120-metre long,…

On Tuesday, Mike Stack awoke to the sound of water pumps.

Stack had expressed outrage to the News just a day earlier concerning a 120-metre long, half-metre deep “lake” on the old Annie Lake road that he depends on to get from his house to the South Klondike Highway.

“My big concern is if something happens, can emergency services get here?” said Stack on Monday. “An answer to that two weeks ago was absolutely no.”

Stack’s other worry with the massive standing water — caused by the spring melt but exacerbated by a lack of proper drainage on the road — was his wife who is 7.5-months pregnant, as well as his three kids and nearly 20 other residents along the road.

Because of the puddle, sewage “honey” trucks haven’t been able to come to pump his neighbour’s septic tank, which on Monday was threatening to overflow into the nearby Watson River, he said.

“It’s not to the point where it’s spilling all over the yard, but there is runoff coming out of it right now,” he said. “They’re not going to come out here because of the road.”

The old road was re-routed in the early 1980s; Stack’s and six other homes sit along the old path.

The water and muddy road conditions require residents to floor the gas to get through the puddle to avoid having their exhaust fill with water and then kill their engine.

Stack has had to pull out a neighbour’s truck that was stranded in the massive puddle.

He drives a four-wheel-drive truck with oversize tires that doesn’t struggle to ford through the water.

But his pregnant wife drives a family van that does, he said.

Over the winter he sought names and numbers for an application to the federal rural road improvement program.

Why?

The Yukon government hasn’t kept its side of the bargain to maintain and upgrade the road, he said.

“When it got changed over, there was an agreement that the road would be kept up,” said Stack. “I’ve actually got this letter that Archie Lang sent us saying the road is up to standard.

“We’re just not eating that crap anymore,” he said. “We want some action.

“With any luck, perhaps this year they’ll have a look at us. I want the roads resurfaced, I want ditching, I don’t want to have to worry about our kids getting to school or medical emergencies, or the fire department not getting down that road.”

On Tuesday morning, Highways and Public Works’ pumping trucks were drying out the puddle.

“It’s about time, man,” said Stack on Wednesday. “We’re finally getting something done. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Open mouths, cringing faces: part one

You just never know what’s going to come out of Economic Development Minister Jim Kenyon’s mouth.

In the fall, Kenyon opined that the jury was still out on climate change.

And during his opening remarks about his government’s latest budget on Monday, he felt it necessary to quote from children’s literature to refute Liberal leader Arthur Mitchell’s assertion that the budget “lacks vision.”

“I don’t want to disappoint the leader of the official opposition and not refer to Lewis Carroll,” said Kenyon as he began to quote Alice in Wonderland.

“‘Which way do I go from here?’ asked Alice. ‘Well, that depends a great deal on where you want to get to.’”

“Of course, Alice replies that ‘It doesn’t really matter,’” said Kenyon.

“The cat’s response is, ‘Then it doesn’t really matter which direction you go.’”

Just what was Kenyon driving at?

“We have a clear vision of what we want to do and how we want to accomplish that,” he said.

Clear? Or is Kenyon peering down the looking glass?

Part two

Justice Minister Marian Horne isn’t easy to listen to either.

Horne is on the hot seat this spring, thanks to the government’s pledge to spend $3.24 million to — what else? — design a new jail rather than build one.

It’s a tough gig for a rookie Justice minister.

And Horne is really struggling.

Every answer she’s given on the jail issue has been read from a script — in a slow, automated voice.

On Monday, Liberal MLA Don Inverarity asked why the government “is still talking about planning a new correctional facility after all these years?”

Horne got up, peered at her notes, and read her script as if it was a book report in high school.

Horne’s prepared answer offered all the good things the Yukon Party is doing to keep Yukoners safe.

It also included — for the first time in anyone’s memory — a phone number people can dial to reach the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods office.

Apparently, Horne feels question period is a great time for public service announcements.

Opposition MLAs were openly laughing during each of Horne’s three answers to Inverarity’s questions.

But several of her Yukon Party supporters slapped their desks, as well as her back, when she was done.

Security door traps Hart

in the lion’s den

Community Services Minister Glenn Hart had a pulse-raising experience Tuesday afternoon.

The glass security door installed to bar people (most especially annoying reporters) from breezily walking into the Yukon Party cabinet offices was malfunctioning.

Hart was trapped between two reporters waiting to talk to Premier Dennis Fentie in the small lobby outside the recently fortified citadel.

It was on the wrong side of safe, and Hart scurried behind the nearby receptionist’s desk.

On the other side of the door was soon-to-be-leaving chief of staff Rick Nielsen, who couldn’t get out of the office.

The door requires a button to be pushed from the inside to unlock it.

It was pushed, prodded and finally, opened; Hart got inside the fort.

Security sometimes breeds insecurity.

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