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Today’s mailbox: Climate emergencies and shopping local

Letters to the editor published Dec. 11, 2020

Thank you Keith Halliday

Yukoners Concerned would like to take this opportunity to thank the Yukonomist, Keith Halliday, for his many factual and realistic articles on the lack of a major renewable energy project in the Yukon.

In many of his articles Keith has raised the fact that the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon Liberal Government have done very little to show that they are serious about climate change.

To quote Halliday in his Oct 23. article in the Yukon News, this territorial “government was elected four years ago, and other than some small solar and biomass projects we haven’t seen any big new renewable generation projects go live.”

Yukon Energy has added another seven portable electric generators to last year’s nine generators and are now considering another seven portable electric generators to be located in Faro.

In Halliday’s article in the Dec 4. Yukon News, he calls out the City of Whitehorse in their declaration as a “climate emergency lite.” Halliday reflects on the fact that the City of Whitehorse carbon emissions in 2016 have gone from 45 thousand tonnes per year to 55 thousand tonnes in 2019.

The City of Whitehorse has just finished a new operations building and instead of heating with biomass they are heating the building with propane.

He has provided both the Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse good, solid suggestions on how they should get on with real major renewable energy projects.

Halliday has suggested that the Yukon government look at the many lakes we have to use pump storage, geothermal, biomass and wind for energy.

For the City of Whitehorse to truly address the climate emergency he suggests that the 2021 capital building budget should consider renewable energy to heat their new buildings.

Are they listening?

Will they act to get off fossil fuels?

Our true leaders on climate change are many of the Yukon First Nation Governments that have constructed biomass heating, banks of solar energy, and are investigating in wind potential.

Donald J Roberts

Chair, Yukoners Concerned

Shop local requires give and take

Everywhere I go in Yukon these days I am told I “need to buy local.” OK, I get it. Supporting local business is a good idea and is good for me, providing everybody lives up to their promise. Before I tell you what will make me buy local again and shun online sales I want to tell you three recent experiences from this summer.

I needed shoes, so I went to the largest local store and stood for 15 minutes waiting for one of two 17-year-old clerks in the shoe section to stop talking about their social problems and look at me. When they both went back in the stock room I left. A 67-year-old balding, rotund male is not a preferred customer?

I needed a car part. Online it cost $0.52. I went to three different parts suppliers. No one had it but the third told me that sort of thing had to be ordered, it would be here in 10 days, and it would be $250, which I needed to pay ahead of time.

We needed an oil change for our vehicle. I was billed over $700, and when I matched the work listed on the invoice with what had actually been completed, less than one third had actually been done! When I complained the service manager argued, even though I had photos to back my assertion up. I have never heard from them, but they did tell me I was “obtuse” (no kidding, that happens when I have been ripped off), and I was “not the sort of customer they wanted, you are not welcome back here.”

So, what would bring me back to local merchants?

Honesty!

Reasonable mark-up — I know what heat and electricity cost, our heating season is lengthy, rent is high, and god knows where you will find enough staff to work — but some of you have been selling to government for so long you may have become spoiled and ignored walk-in private sales in the past. If you want us back you need to do more than guilt us.

A lot of what I buy is specialized in some way. I know you can’t afford to hold huge amounts of inventory with low turnover. But the selection online is unlimited, and the mark-up is modest, so that leaves only freight. But aren’t freight companies private sector too? My car part came from the central U.S. for $13.50 by UPS — if you want I can give you their phone number.

This situation pre-dates COVID-19 by years.

Two out of three would be enough.

J George Balmer

Whitehorse, Yukon

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