Sewage pit threatens Ross River: NDP

Sewage pit threatens Ross River: NDP The Yukon government has continued to use a Ross River sewage pit in violation of its water licence for seven years.

The Yukon government has continued to use a Ross River sewage pit in violation of its water licence for seven years.

A water licence issued in 2003 specified that the government would construct a new wastewater pit and decommission the old one by 2005.

That hasn’t been done, say the NDP.

“There has been few inspections, no monitoring, and no annual reporting,” said Kevin Barr, critic for community services. “This lack of concern for public health and the water licence are shameful and must end.”

The issue came to the NDP’s attention only a few days ago, said Barr.

Barr asked in the legislature this week why the situation has persisted for so long.

“The minister of community services has been along for the wild Yukon Party ride for 10 years now,” said Barr. “Though she is relatively new to the portfolio, she has sat in cabinet for a long, long time. I’m talking about a long, long problem afflicting the people of Ross River – about broken promises and government non-compliance with the law.”

Elaine Taylor’s responses deflected the question and instead talked about the government’s many investments in water infrastructure in Ross River and across the territory.

“In the community of Ross River alone we have dedicated some $1.5 million toward a new drinking-water treatment plant, as well as an additional $4.5 million toward a new public works building that will house the new drinking-water treatment facility.”

“We are not discussing the promised water-treatment facility,” said Barr. “We are discussing the failed sewage-treatment pit, the health of Ross River’s citizens and the safety of the drinking water, which is endangered by the sewage pit. Mr. Speaker, I will take that non-answer as the minister being comfortable with sewage making its way into Ross River’s drinking water.”