The Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board has penalized the company operating Dawson City's new sewage treatment plant for its handling of a mould outbreak.
Hansard November 27, 2013
Mr. Silver: The August deadline for handing over the new waste-water treatment facility to Dawson came and went and the residents still don’t have a functioning plant. Over $30 million has been spent during testing done this summer and the plant failed three out of the four required tests. This has cost more than it should. It has taken longer than promised and still isn’t working properly. The list of concerns on this project remains very long.
Does the minister still have confidence in the facility and when does he anticipate that it will be working properly?Read more
Hansard November 25, 2013
Mr. Silver: In February of this year, the Auditor General of Canada had some very strong criticisms for the Yukon Party and its mismanagement of capital projects. He was referring, of course, to the overbudget and behind-schedule hospitals in Watson Lake and in Dawson City. Fast-forwarding to today the Hospital Corporation is once again embarking on a major capital project — the expansion of the Whitehorse Hospital.
The corporation recently said that the new project will cost $60 million to $65 million to complete. It was only three short years ago that Yukoners were assured that the project would cost $50 million. Why has the cost of the project gone up $10 million to $15 million before a shovel has hit the ground?Read more
Hansard, November 12, 2013
Mr. Silver: Early this summer, I wrote to the Minister of Highways and Public Works, raising concerns that I had been hearing regularly about the Dawson Airport’s state of readiness and customs issues for the flights from Fairbanks to Dawson.
“Don’t worry, everything is under control.”
Last Thursday, I asked the Minister of Community Services what steps the government had undertaken to ensure these flights will proceed next summer. I received pretty much the same answer of, “Don’t worry, we’re all ready.”
On Friday, Yukoners learned that the opposite is true and that customs officials in Fairbanks have denied landing rights to Air North and to Holland America to make nine weekly flights between the two destinations. The flights could shuttle as many as 19,000 passengers during the summer seasons.
When did the government learn about these customs problems, and why did the minister not mention it on Friday and instead chose to tell us that everything was fine?Read more
Hansard November 6, 2013
Mr. Silver: Since we began this sitting I have been asking questions about the mismanagement of the F.H. Collins Secondary School project. I’d like to move today to another capital project the Yukon Party has bungled: the overbudget and behind-schedule Dawson City hospital.Read more
Hansard November 7, 2013
Mr. Silver: I have a question about the Dawson City airport and the Klondike Valley fire hall. Recent renovations to the fire hall have turned it into more of a water distribution centre than a fire station.
A project to drill a well was delayed several times and missed many completion dates. The renovations caused considerable disruptions to the activities of the volunteer fire department. Training drills were cancelled, for example, and equipment had to be moved off-site because of the disturbance. Unfortunately, the impact goes beyond a temporary inconvenience. Firefighters I’ve spoken to believe the facility will now need to be expanded if it is ever to be an effectively operating fire station once again. An alternative — favoured by many — is to relocate the station to the airport, as this would allow for a faster response to incidents there.
Is expanding the existing fire hall or moving it to the airport something that this government is considering?Read more
Question re: Robert Service School educational outreach program
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Education. The minister received a letter from the Chief of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation regarding the educational outreach program that is in place at Robert Service School in Dawson. The program addresses concern for youth who are struggling with regular attendance. It is clear that the dedicated teacher and associated programming have engaged our youth in a supportive learning environment. This school year, the program was made possible through the initiative of the principal and special circumstances within the school. Next academic year, the program will only be possible with a special commitment from the Government of Yukon. Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in is looking forward to the continuation of the educational outreach program and is encouraging the government to commit the teaching staff resources necessary for further development and success. Will the minister make this commitment?Read more
Question re: Parks Canada funding cuts
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Over the last number of years, Parks Canada has been slowly pulling out of Dawson City. Last summer’s decision to end guided tours at Dredge No. 4 was only the latest in a long line of cutbacks. For example, the assets of Bear Creek are no longer open to the public and SS Keno is only partially open.
I am sympathetic to local Parks Canada staff as Ottawa continues to reduce funding; however, there is an appetite in Dawson to see these, and other assets such as Bear Creek, being better utilized.
Does the Premier recognize the long-term impact these cuts have on the community of Dawson, and what, if anything, does this government plan to do about it?Read more
Question re: Tombstone Territorial Park management
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, earlier this year, I attended a public meeting about the Tombstone Territorial Park Management Plan. It requires a review three years after the plan’s approval and that is what is happening this spring.
One of the issues that was raised at the meeting was search and rescue in the park. The park management committee drafted its recommendations that Yukon develop regulations necessary to fully implement the park’s management plan. This will help manage the park and ensure public safety.
The current policy of the government is “hiker beware.” The Department of Environment’s website warns visitors, and I quote: “Yukon Parks staff do not have the capacity or responsibility for initiating search and rescue.”
Inevitably, the Klondike Search and Rescue Association and the RCMP are involved in any rescue. As the numbers of visitors continue to increase, so will the number of people who will encounter problems. How does the government plan to address this concern?Read more
Mr. Silver: Before the spring sitting began, I attended a Business After Hours meeting in Dawson, where the Premier announced a new capital construction project. He began by saying it was a project that was championed by the former MLA for the Klondike. At that point, people’s ears perked up because the building that the former MLA championed was the new recreation centre. He even held a sod-turning ceremony with the former Yukon Party Minister of Community Services, but alas, the Premier’s announcement was actually about the McDonald Lodge being replaced.
The long-standing Yukon Party commitment to build a new recreation centre in Dawson seems to have fallen off the table since the last election. This year’s budget contains no funding and nothing is mentioned in the long-term plan either.
Will the minister admit that plans for a new recreation centre in Dawson are off the table?Read more