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LETTERS: Defending transfer stations in Keno and Silver City

Regarding the removal of vital infrastructure in rural communities by the Government of Yukon

Regarding the removal of vital infrastructure in rural communities by the Government of Yukon

Something to consider: all of this was supposed to be about cost saving. Yet, none of the communities surrounding Whitehorse are losing any facilities. None of these communities have stores or gas stations, same as Keno, and most of the residents work and commute to town every day where full services are available.

Unlike Keno, none of these communities have tourism, business districts, mining, or television productions being carried out in their communities, either. Closing any one of them would have saved the government far more than closing rural communities.

When I opened my business in Keno we had a well, dump, fire service, and have had for a century. It is the Liberal Party who decided to remove them with no consultation whatsoever. We are all taxpaying residents of the Yukon, and we in the rural communities are entitled to much more than we are given in the first place.

The attitude of some people is amazing; entitlement and privilege reign supreme. Poor wilderness city, a country club for politicians and civil servants alike, people who make decisions for people they know nothing about.

Half a billion dollars a year is spent paying for this “service” — most of what’s left is spent making them comfortable to the point the government is hiring 1,000 more of them and can’t afford to provide basic services to residents who have spent their lives living outside of the governments approved list of communities.

This is a disgraceful abuse of power. All made possible by Yukon refusing to recognize rural communities or districts — both in the Municipal Act — a convenient little loophole but it does not give them the right to deny human and civil rights or engage in discrimination.

Jim Milley

Sourdough Roadhouse,

Keno City

A response to Minister Mostyn’s words on transfer station closures

The “Opinion” piece by Richard Mostyn in the Whitehorse Star on Oct. 1 is unfortunately so packed with distortions, exaggerations and deceptions that it cries out for a detailed response. Rather than communicating in a responsible manner with the communities being hurt by his policies, he goes to the media and attempts to confuse the public’s understanding of the issue by reframing it as a political spat between himself and the opposition leader.

It isn’t only Mr. Currie who is calling for the minister’s resignation … it is, almost unanimously, the population of the rural communities which he has insulted and ignored. Although he did attend the disastrous meeting recently held in Destruction Bay and apparently understood our concerns, Mr. Currie had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the petition residents of our communities signed, other than lending his support.

Whether or not the opposition leader may have asked for the minister’s resignation is sort of irrelevant, since it is the people of the region who are asking for his removal, in the wake of his absolute refusal to consult with them. Note that Mr. Mostyn did not devote one word to that fact in his article. This is NOT about partisan politics … It is about misguided, willfully uninformed government actions which are demonstrably harming families containing voters of EVERY political persuasion. For Mr. Mostyn to cheapen the debate by characterising it as a partisan political squabble, while avoiding any mention of the widespread grassroots opposition to his actions in the unincorporated communities, is yet another insult to rural residents. It is an outrageous distortion of the actual situation.

Now to a few of Mr. Mostyn’s recent statements:

“The few people living near the stations (slated for closure) are all reasonably close to supervised landfills”

The facts: Keno City to the Mayo landfill is a 120 km. round trip. Silver City to the Burwash/D. Bay landfill is also a 120 km. round trip.

Is that really “reasonably close”?

“If small sites remain open, people will drive and dump nasty waste, to avoid tipping fees.”

Only a certified lunatic would drive hundreds of kilometers to Silver City or Keno in order to save a few dollars in tipping fees. That simply does NOT happen at these sites, at present. Assuming that it could become a problem in the future, if tipping fees are imposed at landfills, local residents have proposed a range of workable solutions, all of which have been summarily dismissed without consideration.

When questioned about his adamant refusal to consult with affected communities Mr. Mostyn stated (at the Sept. 27 meeting in Destruction Bay) that such consultation was not needed since consultation had already been carried out with the AYC. The AYC only represents municipalities, not unincorporated communities such as ours. Furthermore, the president of AYC has recently stated that he did advocate for the govt. to consult with the affected communities. This was never done.

Mr. Mostyn has stated that he and his predecessor “have listened to community voices and have been engaged on multiple occasions.”

Really? What were the dates? Where’s the record of that? If he has heard voices it has been the voices of residents asking for serious consultations. If he was “engaged” he was engaged in flatly refusing those requests. At the recent meeting he repeatedly emphasized that he was not consulting with us on that issue but was merely there as part of a planned “tour of communities.”

When asked why he was closing our transfer station, Mr. Mostyn rambled on about global warming and greenhouse emissions, implying that his plan would somehow help ameliorate those problems. We’re as concerned about that as anyone. Any thinking person can see that having dozens of vehicles driving hundreds of kilometers several times a week, as opposed to having one truck picking up trash once a month, does nothing to curb emissions, but, in fact, has the opposite effect.

In ridiculing our need for a transfer station by citing our small population, Mr. Mostyn completely disregarded the impact of tourism on our communities and the additional trash thus generated. I thought the Yukon government supported tourism. He also would not respond to our concerns about wildlife impacts. Here in Silver City we live amid one of the world’s largest concentrations of Grizzlies. It is simply not safe to store trash outdoors here for even a day or two.

One repeated element of Mr. Mostyn’s argument is that his policies need to be implemented because that is what has been done all over Canada. I’ve lived in the Yukon for many years and, as far as I know, it has never been a prime objective of most Yukoners to be exactly like the rest of the country.

Minister Mostyn continues to refuse any sort of reasonable consultation with the unincorporated communities over his weirdly determined plan to slash our services. Instead, he twists and distorts the issue in the media with a lot of fuzzy generalisations, not to mention outright untruths. A good government would realize that it may have made a mistake and cooperate with communities to solve the problem, rather than doubling down and arrogantly refusing to discuss the issue. Yukoners deserve better.


Dave Cartier, Sr.

Silver City