McLean Lake and
Copper Ridge threatened
The proposed concrete batch plant and existing asphalt plant in the McLean Lake area has residents concerned with air quality and proper land use.
Just downwind about one kilometre is the future development area of Beyond Copper Ridge, and a bit farther downwind lie the Copper Ridge, Granger, Arkell, Logan and McIntyre subdivisions.
The McLean Lake watershed is going from a sanctuary and an area renown for its beauty to a heavy industrial park.
Ron Newsome, owner of Territorial Contracting, has chosen this area as the new home for his thriving concrete business.
The batch plant and quarry are proposed for an untouched parcel of land 150 metres from the lake, 14 hectares in size.
Four hectares of this is to be free titled property for the concrete batch plant and the remaining as a quarry lease.
About a kilometre further up the road lies a quarry, operated by Coyne and Sons. It sits on one of the area’s quarry leases, and for about the past two years, a small asphalt plant has operated there.
Now, with the precedent set, this opportunity is available to others.
Do we want this to become a heavy industrial area with all of its toxic smoke and dust upwind of so many homes?
At the end of 2007, the Skookum Asphalt lease comes due and is not open to renewal at this time.
Where does Skookum want to move? You guessed it: to the McLean Lake quarries, the site of its quarry lease.
It’s indicated that most if not all of city council seems convinced that McLean Lake is a good place for a concrete batch plant.
Territorial is also proposing to bring power up the road, further paving the way for heavy industrial development.
There are other alternatives.
For more information, go to Mcleanlake.org
We’re stewards of the wild
An open letter to the Whitehorse councillors:
While visiting family at Christmas, I attended a meeting in your chambers concerning the future of McLean Lake.
I was impressed by the gracious and conciliatory tone adopted by the local citizens expressing their concerns so eloquently, including suggestions for alternate sites for the concrete plant.
I know that we do not always appreciate what we have in our own backyards.
In Ontario, where I grew up, the places of my childhood where we biked, swam, skated on ponds, created forts in the forests have all been razed for what was once considered ‘progress.’
The exception was one unique place where a beautiful park with great old oaks stands by a lakeshore, common grounds for that community.
Why? Because one woman years and years ago designated the property and stipulated that if any of these common grounds were to be sold, all the people in the community must agree.
And there it stands, a unique spectacular oasis in the midst of all the concrete.
But progress no longer means destroying what we have for the sake of ‘development’ and the bottom line is no longer monetary profit.
Even the current Conservative federal government realizes that the mission has changed. We all know that we have to change.
We must redefine what we mean by value. Really think about it. Dollars and cents? A beautiful lake so close to the downtown of a capital city.
Many a city would consider this a gold mine. A place of respite for the people of the city smack within the city limits.
This should really belong to the people, not to a special-interest group. In the end a concrete plant would never have the same value to the people.
I find myself, again and again, talking to folks back East telling them about Whitehorse and how your wilderness is minutes from your downtown.
This is what is unique and thrilling about your city. It is very puzzling to us to think that you would want to trade this for some monetary endeavour.
Money is indeed a means to trade for something of value. But when you already have something that is priceless, why would you want to trade it for mere dollars?
Especially when it is irreplaceable. No amount of money could fabricate a natural lake rich with wildlife.
It is becoming frighteningly evident that the value of clean water will be the gold of the future.
But it would be gratifying if the choice of preservation and conservation were made because of a humbling respect for life, not just for commodity.
In the North here, I see what were once-pristine lakes now covered with slime, some from smokestacks several hundred kilometres away.
You are so fortunate to have what cities all over the world would give anything for.
In Europe it would be hallowed ground. No amount of development or extraction can compete when it comes to true value.
Nothing can compare with what you have in your own backyard. Nothing!
I hope that you have the courage to consider this deeply and to be sure that you have not entered this in any way predisposed.
Perhaps each one of you can take the time to walk by the magnificent waterfall below the lake.
It is a time of great change and we all need to reflect very seriously on our role as stewards of the planet.
You have been given the trust of the people to act with wisdom.
Don’t wreck McLean Lake
When I came to Whitehorse 23 years ago, one of the most pleasant experiences I had in my early years was to bicycle to Ear Lake and have a nice refreshing swim in the midday.
Later, I would share this wonderful experience with my family and many others.
At that time, Ear Lake was a most beautiful and inspiring natural area.
We have witnessed, due to the nearby industrial plant’s heavy water use, the once-beautiful Ear Lake has become a tiny pond at the bottom of a crater with moonscape-like surroundings.
I am concerned that this very same fate awaits McLean Lake with the pending construction of the controversial batch plant.
To risk McLean Lake becoming another casualty like Ear Lake would be reprehensible and regrettable.
It is clear that concrete is an important component of modern living that we all need.
As a business person I understand and appreciate the value of the service that Ron Newsome is providing.
He delivered the concrete for the foundation of our business site 14 years ago.
However, I feel it is entirely unnecessary to risk destroying another Whitehorse gem for his new project. Please, let’s find a suitable location.