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This week’s mailbox: McIntyre Creek, the shelter and the Millenium Trail

To those who live in Whitehorse, and all Yukoners,

To those who live in Whitehorse, and all Yukoners,

What do you love about McIntyre Creek? For me, it’s the reprieve from much of the noise of cars and trucks in downtown Whitehorse. You can hear the rush of the creek as it sprints down towards the Yukon River, the calls of numerous birds as they pass overhead, and sometimes the sound of a dog owner whose pet wandered a bit too far while sniffing the crocuses.

We’re incredibly lucky here in Whitehorse to have a spectacular area so close to home and it’s one of the many reasons I was excited to see the City of Whitehorse’s desire to turn it into a Regional Park in their draft Official Community Plan (OCP). However, language in the draft OCP keeps a future road connecting Mountainview Drive and the Alaska Highway as a possibility. They’ve described it as a “transportation corridor.”

One of the main reasons that biodiversity is being lost at such a rapid pace in Canada is due to the fragmentation of habitat. Cutting up intact wild spaces prevents animals from roaming within their natural range to fulfill important parts of their life cycle, like breeding. Increasing vehicle traffic through this area would change the reasons we love to explore McIntyre Creek. Surely we can develop a transportation plan where we don’t have to compromise our values of “The Wilderness City.”

The OCP is incredibly important, it will inform the direction of Whitehorse for the next two decades and the deadline to comment on the draft is Sunday June 12. You can submit your comments at and help ensure that our plan considers all the critters that live here too.


Adil Darvesh, CPAWS Yukon

Regarding the shelter

I am responding to Lawrie Crawford’s “No magic wand here’: shelter wrestles with rampant addiction issues” published in the Yukon News on June 10.

In my opinion, the biggest mistake was taking the management of the building on 405 Alexander Street away from the Salvation Army. How much are taxpayers paying per year for the great food (the price never ever goes up!) and services that the present staff members provide? A lot.

Simple solution: Give it back to the Salvation Army. I was a client of the Salvation Army here in Whitehorse for a lot of years both in the original building that was demolished last year and the new building at 405 Alexander Street.


Christian Torbik

P.S. Premier Silver should spend at least two weeks having breakfast and lunch at 405 Alexander.

Mayor and Council,

A year ago, the City of Whitehorse wisely installed cement barriers to block access from the Riverdale Millennium Trail to dangerous riverbank paths. Continued use of these paths, along with high river levels, cause the bank to erode and eventually collapse, taking out sections of the bank, trees, vegetation, and riparian habitat. More seriously for humans, the bank becomes dangerously unstable; last year there was a report of someone falling into the river as the ground literally slipped away beneath their feet. A memorial bench at risk of crashing into the river was removed.

I was shocked, to see this week, therefore, just as we are facing higher water levels again, and more riverbank erosion, the City had removed all of the barriers designed to keep us safe! The City is protecting the public on one side of the river, below the failed escarpment along Robert Service Way. It needs also to also look to the other side, to unstable riverbanks on the Riverdale Millennium Trail. One can see the gravel path that the City added a few years ago to shore up a section that had fallen into the river. (The paved trail nearby had to be reconstructed further east.) Access to a nearby informal path here, once blocked, is perilously close to the river.

If people continue to use eroding riverbank trails or descend the bank in random ways and the City installs memorial benches along these areas, erosion will accelerate and we will lose this rare forested riverbank in the city. (A nearby section has already been taken by the Selkirk stormwater drainage project.)

Can vulnerable sections of the bank be protected? Rip-rap was added more than a decade to a popular fishing and kayaking area near Selkirk St. It seems to have helped.

It is time to look at more education and prevention steps to protect the Yukon Riverdale riverbank and Millennium Trail. It’s not the time for the City to step backward, removing barriers that prevent unwise and unsafe riverbank access. The message, for everyone: “Stay on the Trail, stay safe - help protect the Yukon riverbank from erosion.”

Jenny Trapnell