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This week’s mailbox: Pausing after the holidays and parking in Whitehorse

To the City of Whitehorse Mayor and Council;

To the City of Whitehorse Mayor and Council;

The NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) HUB Society sent a parking question to all candidates for City Council, prior to the last Municipal election. Our specific concern was the lack of parking in the area around Lumel Studio where our new NGO HUB is going to be housed in the relatively near future.

We also expressed concern about the lack of parking throughout Whitehorse but particularly in the downtown area. The relaxing of restrictions for parking spots for new developments was top of mind when we sent our missive.

Now that Council has had a chance to settle in, we would like to remind the successful candidates about this pressing concern. It is our hope that council has thought about this in the short term when looking at parking allowances for new developments. It is also our hope that council will look at addressing the lack of parking spots prior to accepting, reviewing and implementing the Transportation Master Plan and the new OCP.

If a policy is implemented prior to these plans being accepted in late 2022 and into 2023 then council can move forward with practical parking allowances for the spring 2022 construction season.

Since we sent our public letter to council candidates we have heard from many individuals, businesses and organisations about the lack of parking spots in this city.

Individuals don’t want to visit restaurants where there is no place to park, people with disabilities note how difficult it is to access services in buildings that have inadequate parking and children cannot play safely in areas where large housing developments do not have adequate parking so that street parking becomes necessary.

We have also heard about the lack of a parkade in Whitehorse. No business has ever come forward to successfully build a parkade.

Once again, congratulations on your election victory. Please do not forget that an enabling infrastructure, such as access to parking and public transportation, are essential components to a thriving Whitehorse. We look forward to working with council on solutions to the future and present parking shortage.

For your consideration,

Bruno Bourdache, Sue Edelman, Dick Smith, Natalie Taylor, Aja Mason, Colette Acheson and Eileen Melnychuk


Nine days upside down for the new year

Yes, for 9 days, left was right and up was down. It meant less was more, being still was actionable, silence was full and the darkness was good.

My partner Katrine and myself have been doing this for a few years now. Instead of reaching for the pinacolatos a la playa, we completely lay low, with as little talking as possible, no movement and loosely following ancient teachings on how to relate to our inner world.

We have recently looked at ancient Germanic stories of Christmas and what it meant. So odd to look at what it has become, a true caricature of what it once was.

I grew up on the border of France and Germany. At the beginning of December, Saint Nicolas came to every house with kids inside. Invited in by our parents he asks with his thundering voice: “Have these children been good this year?” Parent: “They could work a little harder in school, but yes, they were good.”

We then received a sock full of nuts and fruit, mostly apples, and the odd piece of chocolate. He came riding on his ass accompanied by Black Peter. If the answer was no, the black-faced Peter would bring out his whip and give us something to think about — or so we were told.

Historically, Saint Nicolas came to poor neighborhoods to give food to the starving. But wait! Who is the other guy, then? I mean the puffed-up version of the Saint Nicolas called Santa Klaus who comes on the 24th? Fascinating. So, the skinny bishop Nicolas went across the ocean, bulked up, likely from drinking too much sugar-lathed-pop, and then went back to Europe and took hold of Christmas under another name: Father Christmas in France, the Christmas Man in Germany.

I have heard that a culture can be understood by looking at its rites. What does it say about our current culture? What are our values?

In the ancient Germanic traditions, starting on the 21st of December was a 12-day rite. These days were a time of purification, integrating lessons from the past year and setting new goals for the new year. We do not really do that anymore. We’re supposed to do that for the new year, but by then, our mind is so foggy from the food, sugar and noise that there is no discernment left.

We then drag our over-socialized and possibly hungover selves into January, weaker than ever before, longing for what we seem to do best: avoid the darkness, inner and outer, by throwing more money to avoidance techniques.

Why does this matter? Mmmm…maybe I am trying to relate how we have found more reliable ways to move into the new year with a good disposition. After nine days of reconnecting with our minds and bodies, which is invariably hard in the three or four first days, Katrine and myself have found that there is a vibrancy and clarity, specific items that we are looking forward to engaging with and some that we are set on getting rid of.

In the ancient Germanic tales, we learn when it is dark, when we sleep, when things slow down. That is the lost meaning of Christmas: turn inward, peer deeply, renew our commitments, find gratefulness for what we have, let go of what no longer serves us and build new and more appropriate habits.

It has been said that when times are overly prosperous, the human mind goes from slow and deep reflection to fast and automatic thought. This dynamic makes it difficult for mature societies to solve effectively the increasing number of emerging problems.

I believe that.

We label that ADHD.

Our time reminds me of another time when that happened, in the final days of Rome, or any past civilization for that matter, when the orgy is reaching its pinnacle, the slaves are fed to the lions for pure enjoyment, the best lack direction while the wicked are full of passion. We do not kill people for pleasure anymore, but we do not flinch when deciding to fly a 250-ton airplane at a speed that boggles the imagination to drink cocktails on the beach for week, while people are starting to starve and burn to death from climate change.

When we do not sleep, lay low, let the dark thoughts in, at least once in a while, we cannot reflect deeply, we cannot pay attention to the details, we repeat the same mistakes, cannot change, cannot adapt, destroying the very systems that sustain life on earth, our mother, our matrix.

Be joyous, though — there is despair found in the dark, but once one makes it through, there is real joy and truth. This is what we found to be a reliable way through Christmas, but also, through all the hard times which always end up coming: turn inward, peer deeply, renew your commitments, let go of what no longer serves you and create new and more appropriate habits, build stuff.


Florian Boulais