Whitehorse: A $20 million increase in the cost of the new F.H. Collins school project tells the Yukon public all they need to know about the 2014-2015 budget released yesterday, says Liberal Leader Sandy Silver. Until today the government had maintained the cost of the project was only $31.1 million. Updated budget documents released yesterday put the real cost of replacing the school at $51.1 million.Read more
Hansard, December 5, 2013
Mr. Silver: As mentioned earlier, the grade 11 social studies class is here today in the gallery, but they will also be in Hansard, as they wrote this question I’m going to ask today.
The youth of the Yukon are concerned that the Government of Yukon is not doing enough to solve problems of the youth. There are several issues that the government has failed to address, which will directly affect young people in the territory. The youth of our territory want the Government of Yukon to act on problems that youth are facing today to ensure a better tomorrow.
Here’s an example. There is a constant issue for competitive athletes who strive to excel in sports. The issue has to do with a lack of competition in both our communities and our territory. As a result, many of the athletes must travel to other provinces, other territories and other countries to compete. The cost of travel is by no means cheap and, therefore, athletes are not able to compete as much as they would like, which also decreases exposure of our Yukon athletes.
What steps will the government take to assist competitive youth athletes financially, and are there plans to increase this financial aid?Read more
Hansard November 4, 2013
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Premier about this government’s financial mismanagement of the F.H. Collins project.
In March 2013, the Premier told Yukoners the government had two estimates that told them that the schools could be built for $38.6 million. In fact, the government had two estimates that told them the opposite. It even had an estimate that told them that it would cost $43.7 million. Despite knowing this, the government instructed public servants to disregard the higher numbers and kept the budget from contractors bidding on the new school at $38.6 million. One company alone spent $500,000 preparing a bid on the project the government knew was going to come in overbudget.
Why did the Premier instruct officials to use a lower number, a number it already knew was unrealistic?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: F.H. Collins Secondary School reconstruction
Mr. Silver: Last week the Government of Yukon announced an update on the F.H. Collins school project. The minister was pleased with media reports on Friday, including the story about a new design being chosen.
After spending at least $6 million on the project, the Yukon Party decided to start all over again in the spring. That money is already spent. I believe that the government made the wrong decision the first time around when it decided not to rebuild the tech and trades wing at the school. Unfortunately the media coverage from Friday confirms that the trade wing will not be rebuilt in the new school. I asked the minister on the second day of this spring sitting if he would consider including a new tech and trades wing in the new school. He replied at that time: “…the short answer to the member’s question is yes.” My question is why, or did he in fact change his mind?Read more
Question re: F.H. Collins Secondary School reconstruction
Mr. Silver: Mr. Speaker, I have some questions for the Minister of Highways and Public Works on some contracts related to F.H. Collins.
When the Premier announced he was pulling the plug on the old design of F.H. Collins, he said the approved construction budget, as detailed by two separate independent estimators, was $38.6 million. On the second day of this sitting, back on March 25, I asked the Premier to release those estimates so that the public could see whether or not they did, in fact, match the construction budget. He refused to answer.
Almost six weeks later, the government is still refusing to release those independent estimates. It is my understanding that these contracts were led by Highways and Public Works. Will the minister release these estimates so that the public can see whether or not they did, in fact, match the construction budget?Read more
Mr. Silver: In 2009, the Auditor General of Canada issued a very critical report of the Yukon Party government’s handling of education.
In her report, it emphasized the need for a comprehensive student information system. The government took the report and bought a system from British Columbia and called it YSIS, or the Yukon student information system. At the time it was purchased, there were already problems with it in British Columbia. In 2011, B.C. scrapped it altogether. The Government of Yukon has now been forced to do the same thing.
Why did the Yukon Party government buy a system that was already being boycotted by teachers in British Columbia? Can the minister confirm that over $750,000 was spent on a program that never actually worked properly?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Education in regard to the reconstruction of F.H. Collins school. In regard to the handling of this project, there has been a great deal of well-deserved criticism directed at the government. After spending at least $6 million on this project, the Yukon Party decided just weeks ago to start all over again.
There is an opportunity to get it right this time. There is an opportunity to build a school that fits a community’s needs as opposed to one that fits an existing footprint. I believe the government made the wrong decision the first time around when it decided not to rebuild the tech and trades wing at the school. The government has essentially given itself a do-over.
Will the minister consider including a new tech and trades wing in the new F.H. Collins Secondary School?Read more
Whitehorse: A Government of Yukon announcement that it plans to spend $27 million this year alone to begin construction of a new F.H. Collins school raises as many questions as it answers, says Klondike MLA Sandy Silver.Read more
Whitehorse: The Government of Yukon should take the time needed and properly plan the new F.H. Collins project, says Klondike MLA Sandy Silver.Read more