Skip to content

Letter: Unbelievable Survey on Yukon Energy’s website

Unbelievable Survey on Yukon Energy’s website

Unbelievable Survey on Yukon Energy’s website

If you go online to Yukon Energy’s website, then to Projects and Facilities, then to Repairs to the Boat Locks (and the Lewes Dam structure) there are three options outlined in a survey:

1) Option # 1 Repairs to the Lewes boat lock with some design changes cost of repair $ 11 million dollars, time line one summer.

2) Option #2 Removal of island, add two gate in place thereof and repair boat locks. Cost of upgrade 25 million dollars, time line one summer.

3) Option #3 Removal of island, add 8 gates by removing part of the river bank, repair/upgrade boat locks and add electronic controls to gates. Cost of upgrade 50 million dollars, time line two years.

This is an unbelievable survey because it does not tell you what the cause and effects of these options mean. I thought Yukon Energy was run by professionals, not by deceptive public surveys to justify rebuilding faulty engineering which is exactly what the Lewes Dam is.

In reality Option #1 is just rebuilding faulty engineering that was not designed, engineered or built for high water events. This was confirmed by the late MP Erik Nielsen who asked questions of the Lewes Dam engineer at a Public Water Board meeting where the engineer stated that to handle higher water the Lewes Dam would have to be redesigned so dramatically it would not be the same dam. But the present version of Lewes Dam built was the cheap way to go. Let’s check the facts.

Option #1 rebuild of faulty engineering, the Lewes Dam with all gates open, has and will exasperate every Southern Lake’s high water event by 17.5 inches. The present version of the Lewes Dam is an engineered critical choke on the Southern lake’s water reservoir.

Note: When the Boat Lock doors are open Yukon Energy says this lets five per cent more water through the dam.

Option #2 adding two gates will let through approximately 5 per cent more water so with the boat lock doors open (if they can make them work?) lets a total of 10 per cent more water through the Lewes Dam. This option means that this Critical Choke will only exacerbate the high flood waters by approximately 15.8 inches which is still a lot of water in a flood event.

Option #3 is what I think that Yukon Energy has figured out will not exacerbate high flood water and is what should have been engineered, designed and built instead of the Engineering Disaster we presently have.

I cannot believe that Yukon Energy would put this survey out. It just does not make sense, it is deceptive to all who read it.

CEO Yukon Energy Andrew Hall has publically stated his job is to keep the lights on and YG has the job of providing his tools. Almost everyone who reads this survey does not know the facts and would automatically think, why should we have Yukon Energy/YG spend more of our tax dollars on this?

They may also think that this upgrade may go on their electrical bills and they may be might. They may think screw the Southern Lake residents flood their properties and houses instead of doing the right thing after the fact.

Last year Minister Streicker stated there was no point in anyone doing anything to their properties unless everyone does. On March 8, Minister Streicker stated South McClintock and Army Beach were going to have to prioritize upgrades in YG infrastructure as it will take many years to do.

I am guessing that this NDP/Liberal government will do nothing and we will be in the same emergency situation again with the next high water event. In thinking about Yukon Energy’s unbelievable survey, I can only think that this comes from YG politicians and not from Yukon Energy. It seems that NDP Kate White has total control of the Liberal Party. If this is true then this survey makes sense, the NDP’s main concern is to build Social Assistance housing and not to spend money on a good or reliable and responsible energy system.

The NDP/Liberal Party is killing all mining in the Yukon via the water licensing, YESAB, and by giving the First Nations the total right to turn down all Yukon Land Permits. For the first time in 25 plus years all gravel pits have to go through an extensive YESAB process even though there are no known problems. The list goes on where the private enterprise is a lot tougher to be in because of government regulations.

But this is not all bad, social assistance’s latest housing, if it ever opens, has the best views in all of Whitehorse overlooking the Yukon River. It has balconies, a roof deck with electric barbecues and lastly the units have heated towel racks.

So if we, the residents of the Southern Lakes Water Reservoir system, get flooded out then we should just put in for social assistance housing.

Yes I have an attitude.

2007’s Executive Council and Yukon Energy were responsible for exacerbating the 2007 year flood in Marsh Lake by 35 inches. I would not have had any flood damage or costs to protect my property, had this water system been competently managed. In 2021, today’s YG’s Executive Council, Minister Mostyn and Minister Streicker and Yukon Energy did lower Schwatka Lake reservoir by one metre to its lower limit on its water permit. This took 18 inches off of the high water in 2021 according to Minister Streicker in 2022. But the Lewes Dam did contribute 17 inches to the high water in 2021 and 17.5 inches of extra high water in 2022.

YG is still going to have to upgrade its property and/or infrastructure why not do it now and not pay twice as much as waiting for the next flood event. We know that flood events cost as much as it would take to fix our area so we never have another event where EMO/Army has to attend in an emergency capacity. I guess common sense has no place in the NDP/Liberal government.

Gary Pettifor

Resident of Army Beach