It is with great pleasure that I rise on behalf of the all of my colleagues here in the Legislative Assembly to pay tribute to the graduates of the Yukon School of Visual Arts. SOVA is an incredibly important institution to the residents of Dawson City and I hope that the students graduating look back on their time in the Klondike with great fondness.
I spoke today to Dr. Curtis Collins, the director and program chair, and he had this to say — and I quote: “This year’s group can be characterized as being extremely entrepreneurial and community-minded.” The direct programming of SOVA has a lasting impact on the social fabric of the community, but this year’s cohort stepped up more than ever and participated in many community events. The students helped organize, for example, a fundraiser to provide a local summer girls’ rock camp for Dawson students. The fundraiser was called “Punk-Rock the Night Away” and was held at the YOOP Hall. It was organized and featured performances by SOVA students.
This past Wednesday the Yukon Legislative Assembly unanimously passed a motion I introduced supporting the designation of the Klondike as a UNESCO world heritage site.
The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation is leading the way on working towards this designation. A diverse community-based advisory committee has been assembled for this project and it is reflective of the significant economic opportunity that a UNESCO designation would present at a local and territorial level. A UNESCO world heritage site is defined as “places on Earth that are of outstanding universal value to humanity and as such, have been inscribed on the World Heritage List to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.” I think we can all agree the Klondike fits this description.Read more
Mr. Silver: The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in has been spearheading a project in Dawson that would see the Klondike region be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Klondike was placed on Canada’s tentative list for consideration as a World Heritage Site in 2004. More than 150 sites were reviewed by experts, and 11 sites were selected. Very few places in the world are shortlisted, so the region is already in a very advantageous position compared to hundreds of other places that are interested in this prestigious honour.
I will start with an extremely simple question: Does the Government of Yukon support the Klondike becoming a World Heritage Site?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Tourism and Culture. Earlier this year, the minister told CBC Radio that higher tourism numbers were due to marketing the government has done with Germany and Japan. Information I have seen from the minister’s own department shows that visitation from Germany is actually down from where it was in 2010, and down substantially from where it was 15 years ago.
I wrote the minister, asking him to provide any statistics to back up his claim that the number of German tourists is on the rise. He did respond to my letter, but refused to answer the question. I asked again during the Tourism debate and the minister refused to answer this direct question there as well.
What proof can the minister provide the public that increased marketing to Germany has in fact resulted in more German visitors to the Yukon?Read more
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
Whitehorse: The Government of Yukon’s decision not to promote the Yukon on the Discovery Channel’s Klondike miniseries is another example of the Yukon Party's Department of Tourism dropping the ball when it comes to marketing, says Klondike MLA Sandy Silver. The program reached 1.9-million viewers in Canada and 3.4-million American viewers during its Monday night opening.Read more
Hansard, December 10, 2013
Mr. Silver: In February 2011, the Government of Yukon announced a funding arrangement agreement with Government of Canada for overseeing tourism marketing. Unfortunately, that funding agreement runs out in March of next year.
There has been no word from this government on whether the funding will be renewed or how it will be replaced if it isn’t. That is half a million dollars a year from Ottawa that is coming to an end. The Government of Yukon is putting together next year’s budget right now.
Can the minister confirm that funding does end in March and what options is the government pursuing to replace this funding?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
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: Shakwak project
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Highways and Public Works about the future of the Shakwak project. Since the 1970s the United States government has been providing funding to upgrade the highway from Haines, Alaska, to Beaver Creek. Over the years the funding provided for construction that has totalled more than $400 million. In 2011, Shakwak accounted for approximately 40 percent of our entire highway construction budget. In 2011 it was $20 million, and in this year’s budget it is $17.5 million. The problem is the funding for the project for future years has been cut off in the United States. What is the minister doing to get the United States government to continue funding this important project?Read more