Unbiased report needed on crematorium

An independent third-party investigation is needed to close the crematorium debate, says Councillor Doug Graham.

An independent third-party investigation is needed to close the crematorium debate, says Councillor Doug Graham.

His suggestion comes after a report on last week’s fiery debate was tabled on Tuesday night.

This week’s discussion was slightly more subdued.

Recently, Graham has toured crematoria in Calgary, Kelowna, Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.

After meeting a man who lived across the street from a crematorium in one of the cities, Graham asked if the guy noted any adverse effects.

“I don’t think they use it anymore,” the man replied.

However, the furnace was fully operational and had been for years.

Nevertheless, Graham said he’s concerned about emissions and suggested a third-party investigation.

The investigation is to be completed in two weeks.

The other politicians agreed to the plan.

Also, if the Porter Creek crematorium is built, frequent emissions testing should be done, said councillor Dave Stockdale.

Opponents of Heritage North Funeral Home’s project applauded council’s approach.

“This is all about money,” said Gustav Gabor, an opponent who challenged the “sympathetic” media’s assertion that opponents are emotionally involved.

Those in favour of the project have ulterior motives, he said.

The third-party report is expected on July 16.

Adapting to climate change

With climate change hammering the Arctic, northern communities must learn to adapt to the new world.

Exactly how these communities will do so is now the subject of a $1.4-million research project in 12 communities across the North.

It’s called the CAVIAR project:  Community Adaptation and Vulnerability in Artic Regions.

In Whitehorse, the study will probe existing impacts and potential future risks.

The study will also suggest what can be done to plan and prepare for these changes, and who might be responsible.

“It fits well with the city’s sustainability initiative,” said Brian Crist, director of operations.

Graduate students from Vancouver’s University of British Columbia, in conjunction with Yukon College, will conduct the research.

A meeting scheduled Wednesday morning was to discuss logistics of the study, which will likely begin this fall.

Grants for habitat

With its minus 40 winters, Whitehorse, is a place where everyone should have a warm place to call home.

Habitat for Humanity hopes to help another local family with this necessity.

The non-profit organization is devoted to building simple, decent and affordable housing.

Homes are built using volunteer labour and sold at no profit, with no interest charged on the mortgage.

In 2005 the society built the first Habitat house north of 60, helped in part by a grant from Whitehorse.

That $643 grant was equivalent to the building permit fees and taxes for the house for that year.

Now, as the Yukon branch of Habitat for Humanity prepares to build a second home, it is requesting a similar grant.

The Yukon government has already provided a lot at 895 Keenenaw Drive for the project.

The grant will be put to vote at next week’s city council meeting.

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