Thursday, March 16, 1989 - 1:30 p.m.
Clerk: It is my duty, pursuant to the provisions of Section 24 of the Legislative Assembly Act, to inform the Assembly of the absence of the Speaker.
Deputy Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed at this time with Prayers.
Deputy Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Are there any Introductions of Visitors?
Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have for tabling the 1987-88 Annual Report for the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have for tabling a report on the sale and operations of Hyland Forest Products.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have for tabling eight legislative returns that respond to questions raised by hon. Members this week.
Deputy Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills?
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms. Hayden: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that there is a shortage of park and playground areas in downtown Whitehorse; and
THAT the site of the Jim Light Memorial Arena in downtown Whitehorse should become the Jim Light Memorial Park, Playground and Picnic Area for the enjoyment and use primarily by downtown children and their families.
I also give notice of the following motion:
THAT, in the opinion of this House, the Government of the Yukon should develop a public safety check list to be used by government officials in assessing proposals that involve toxic chemicals or other hazardous substances, and that the Government of the Yukon work with municipal and federal governments to prohibit the use of dangerous chemicals until community fire and other emergency services are in place to effectively protect the public in the event of accidents.
I also give notice of the following motion:
THAT,in the opinion of this House, the Government of the Yukon should take the following steps to help protect the ozone layer from further erosion:
(a) as soon as possible, ban the sale and use of foam packages and chemicals in aerosol sprays that contain chloroflorocarbons, or CFCs, a substance known to harm the ozone layer;
(b) by July 1, 1990, ban rigid foam insulation and flexible furniture foam made with CFCs;
(c) at the earliest possible date, ban the sale of any other products made with CFCs;
(d) advocate to other jurisdictions in Canada that they adopt deadlines earlier than 1998 to stop using CFCs in the manufacture of refrigerators, air conditioners and coolers, as well as other products;
(e) participate in the safe collection and destruction of products containing CFCs;
(f) ensure the safe use and testing of fire extinguishers containing halon; and
(g) contact other jurisdictions in Canada and encourage them to adopt similar bans in order to avoid environmental calamity to northern people caused by destruction of the ozone layer.
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Deputy Speaker: This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Agricultural lands
Mr. Lang: I have a question for the Minister in charge of land disposition for the purpose of agriculture, and I assume that is the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
I want to say at the outset that everybody is aware that the Yukon Livestock Association is having their annual meeting this week. There is an outstanding issue that still confronts the government and the Legislature, and that is the question of land disposition. I want to refer if I could to the March 14, 1989 Hansard, where the Minister gave us an outline of the land applications that have been received and those that had been dealt with.
Is it true that, of the 345 applications that were submitted to the government, only 50 applications were successful in receiving agreements for sale?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot confirm that at this instant. The statistic that the Member quotes, if given on March 14, would have been accurate.
Mr. Lang: It states that some 50 agreements for sale from agricultural land have been issued since April 1, 1986. One can argue one application versus another, but the reality is that very few of the 345 land applications have been acted upon. In the information provided by the Minister, he stated there were 52 applications that were presently under review, that did not have any land use conflict with land claims, or things of this nature.
Our concern is that it is taking so long to deal with them. Over the course of this past election it was suggested that there should be a 60 day maximum period that the government would have to deal with a land application - similar to the case of Immigration, where the government has brought in legislation permitting 60 days, I believe, to deal with an applicant, to come into this country. It would seem to me that it would be possible to legislate a time requirement in which the government would have to give the individual a yes or a no on a land application.
Would the Minister consider bringing in legislation requiring the government to respond in 60 days in either the affirmative or the negative to a land application?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the Members representation. With reference to his earlier question, yes, I can confirm that. Since the period January 1987 to late last fall 1988, 345 applications were dealt with and 52 are currently active.
With respect to his current question, as I previously indicated, we are currently developing a new agricultural policy. It is in a draft stage, which will be pursued with full consultation with the industry and in conjunction with my colleague, the Minister responsible for Renewable Resources.
In that policy, we intend to have a proposal that will deal with speeding up and streamlining the land application process. His request of the 60 day consideration is a very solid and firm proposal being considered.
Mr. Lang: I would like to refer to the chart that has been given out to the government of what an applicant must go through for the purpose of applying for land. It is no wonder so few applicants have been successful when one looks at this particular chart. One hundred and four land applications have been terminated according to statistics that the Minister gave the other day.
In the Ministers review, is it his intention to cut out a number of these steps involved in this process, in order to make it easier and to streamline the system, which obviously needs major overhauling?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member must have a copy of the draft proposal. The short answer to his question is yes. There is consideration being given not so much to cut out, but to streamline and combine, so the process is speeded up and does not have to wait for succeeding steps for other portions of the review process to take place.
The Member implies that our application process is extremely slow and, in some measures, it can be criticized for that. I want to remind the Member that, when this government took office in 1985, there were well over 200 applications, of which only a few were dealt with. This government has dealt with 345 of them, and there are only 52 left. That is a pretty good record.
Question re: Agricultural lands
Mr. Lang: What the Minister forgot to say in the preamble to his attempt to answer the question is the fact that according to the information we have been provided with, out of 345 applications, only 50 have been successful. That is since 1986, and this is 1989, three years later.
I want to assure the Minister that this confidential document I have here has been made available to us for three years.
In respect to the statement that was made during the course of the election that, if the government was re-elected, they were going to put into place a land mediation and arbitration service. Is it the intention of the Minister to put that into place?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes, indeed that is currently being actively reviewed and I expect that I will have more information on the mediation process shortly.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister outline the additional costs to the taxpayer such a process is going to be to taxpayers of the territory in view of the fact that we will have to increase the size of the civil service?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot answer that definitely, as I am sure the Member is fully aware. It is conceivable that there may not be any cost at all given the nature of the process.
Mr. Lang: When can the Minister inform this House that a definitive decision on this item is going to be made?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The consideration of a mediation process for land disputes is being actively considered in the new policy, which I have indicated we hope to bring forward for public consultation later this summer.
Question re: Agricultural lands
Mr. Lang: That, indeed, begs another question. We are now talking about next summer. I was under the impression a decision would be made to streamline this cumbersome and totally unworkable process for land applications within a month or a month and one-half. Can the Minister be more definitive than next summer? That could mean 1991.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is quibbling. I am talking about coming forward this summer. That is what I said yesterday, and that is what I repeat today.
Mr. Lang: Do I take it that the people of the territory will not expect a firm decision on this matter until the fall of this year, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That is quite possible.
Mr. Lang: No wonder people get frustrated while applying for land. The government has been in office for four years. It is not as though they are new to the chairs they sit on, and we have to wait for another year before some definitive decisions are going to be made.
Is the Minister of Economic Development prepared to put a member of the agricultural community on the Yukon Economic Council?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member talks about the slowness of activity of the government and tries to cite the rather significant record of the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, as already outlined in this House, and the very considerable progress that has been made in processing land applications. At the same time the Member knows full well that when he was Minister responsible for agriculture, they processed all of two applications in two years and bequeathed 200 applications to this government. The commitment of this government is very clear, and this Minister is dealing with the issues raised by the agricultural community.
No decision has been made as to the membership of the new Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association or the board that has recently been announced on the economy and the environment. When a decision has been made, certainly, the membership will be available for everyone to see.
Question Re: Agricultural lands
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us when we can expect an answer on this particular difficult subject. Are we talking about next summer, next fall, 1991?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As soon as possible.
Mr. Lang: Does that mean the Minister is indicating to us that a decision will be made within the next two months?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is very possible.
Question Re: Licensing and taxation benefits for farmers
Mr. Devries: My question is to the Minister responsible for agriculture and renewable resources. Yukon farmers have to drive into other provinces to pick up supplies and have to pay extra fees for such things as insurance, transport permits and fuel taxes. Farmers in other provinces in the country can travel from province to province without this problem because they have the benefit of inter-provincial motor vehicle licensing agreements. I would like to know if the Minister would consider an inter-provincial and territorial motor licensing agreement for Yukon farmers so that they do not have to deal with all these extra fees when they travel across trans-provincial border.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Certainly I would be willing to consider that suggestion. I will present it to the Minister responsible for making those arrangements. That would be the Minister of Community and Transportation Services.
Mr. Devries: Farmers in the Yukon pay a territorial tax on fuel, although they are presently reimbursed through the income tax system. Would the Minister consider the establishment of a fuel tax exempt system like they have in other jurisdictions?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, I would be willing to help out the farmers here to assist the agricultural industry in the Yukon but that is a matter I would have to raise with the Minister responsible. In this case it would be the Minister of Finance, who is responsible for dealing with taxes. We will consider that a possibility.
Mr. Devries: Would the Minister possibly consider trying to get these different areas of interest pertaining to agriculture consolidated into one ministry?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I could give it some consideration, but very frankly, I think it would be difficult to justify taking taxation matters out of the Department of Finance and taking matters pertaining to licences of motor vehicles out of the proper department, which is the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Question Re: Hyland Forest Products joint venture
Mr. Nordling: I have just been looking quickly at the information that the Government Leader has tabled with respect to Hyland Forest Products. What we have here is a one page memo describing the agreement with the new company known as Yukon Pacific Forest Products Limited. I would ask the Government Leader if he would be prepared to table the full text of the agreement.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sure the Member, who is a lawyer, will know that in commercial transactions we would not be at liberty to table all documents that would reveal information about the private matters of a private company.
Mr. Nordling: Last week, the Government Leader said that he would be prepared to give us a full accounting of what went on with the sale. We are reduced to a one page memo. I would like to ask the Government Leader if he does have any information about the environmental concerns and the concerns of the local community, which he indicated last week would be included in this package and are not.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Last week, I was asked as well if I would be prepared to have officials of the Development Corporation appear before Committee of the Whole during debate on the Main Estimates, for the purposes of discussing and answering some of the questions that were asked by the Members opposite. I indicated that I would take that under advisement. What I have done today is provide interim financial information in advance of the proper audit, which is required by law, and the audit, which will be required prior to the formal tabling of documents in this House. I am, at this time, advising the House that we do intend to bring before Committee of the Whole, during the Main Estimates debate on the Development Corporation, appropriate officials to answer detailed questions that the Members opposite may have.
Mr. Nordling: I am not sure if the Government Leader made a commitment to table reports with respect to sustainable yield that he has in is possession, or that he was going to check on whether they were undertaken by the federal government. Can he clarify his position and give us a commitment as to whether we will see those documents or not?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There are two documents dealing with sustainable yield in the forestry resource in the Watson Lake area. One was commissioned by Hyland Forest Products and is already a public document. I believe that has been indicated to the side opposite and, if the Member wishes, we can get him a copy of that document. The second is the federal report, which is not yet available to us and it is not at our liberty to make a decision as to its disposition. I have given a previous undertaking in the House that if and when it is made available to us, I will seek the agreement of the owners of that report to table it here.
Question re: Fishing licences
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister of Renewable Resources regarding fishing licence regulation change. I understand that under the agreement struck by the federal government, to be signed shortly, fishing licence fees in the territory for residents and non-residents are going to rise dramatically. Can the Minister tell this House what the new rate structure will be?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I can provide that information. The new fee for a resident Yukoner for the season will be $15, a resident Canadian will be $30, a resident Canadian for a three-day licence will be $20, an alien for the season will be $35, and an alien for three days will be $25.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister confirm that within the next two years there will be another increase in those fees as well, or does the Minister see this as an increase that will be in place for some time?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can neither confirm it nor deny it. This will be the fee structure, I expect, for this coming year, until we get some kind of an indication as to how well it is received.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister tell this House if the increase will be used directly to enhance freshwater fisheries in Yukon, or will it just go into the Yukon general revenue fund as a tax increase?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can give every assurance to the Member that all of the funds raised through the licence fees - the existing ones plus the additional increase - will be put toward management of our freshwater fisheries resource.
Question re: Fishing licences
Mr. Phillips: When the Minister says management of the freshwater fisheries resource, is he referring to overall management, including administration? What I am talking about is enhancement of the freshwater fisheries resource. I do not think fishermen in the territory have a problem paying a higher fee for a fishing licence if they know that all of that higher fee goes directly into enhancement, not into a large bureaucracy up top. Is this the case or is it going to go into the overall fisheries branch in YTG?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Certainly, in the way of improving the freshwater resource in the territory, we are going to need people to be able to come up and manage a plan. We are going to need staff people - biologists, technicians - to ensure that the work that is required to determine the health of stocks is completed. We will need, for example, a conservation officer to ensure that we can protect our resource. So, in response to the Members question, yes, certainly, some administration is required to fulfill the objective of improving the management of this resource.
Mr. Phillips: Everyone in the Yukon appreciates that the freshwater fisheries resource, and the opportunity to fish that resource, is of benefit to all Yukoners. The tourism industry and every Yukoner benefit from people coming through the territory and spending a few days fishing. My concern here is that we are receiving some money from the federal government to manage the resource, we are taxing the fisherman, personally, in quite a dramatic way, to manage the resource, and yet there is not one dollar of factual commitment from other general revenue funds in the Government of the Yukon to take care of the administration cost. They are doing it strictly on the backs of the fisherman and the federal government, and there is not a real commitment, like there is in other departments in the government, to find funds from within the government to actually do the administrative work and use the increase in fishing licence fees to directly enhance the resource. I am asking the Minister if he would consider doing that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know where the Member is getting his information, but it is completely incorrect. I want to start by saying that yes, I fully recognize the benefits to the Yukon Territory, to Yukoners living here year round, and to the tourists who take advantage of our fishing opportunities. We are not taxing the fisherman. The increase in licence fees is quite justified; it is based on a user-pay system. It is quite comparable to our neighbours to the south of us, in British Columbia, and to our neighbours to the west in Alaska. We have put some money directly from general revenues into our annual budget to fund the ongoing administration costs and costs related to improving management of this resource.
Question re: Fishing licences
Mr. Phillips: In recognition of the governments feelings on how important the freshwater fisheries resource is in the Yukon, how much money is the Government of the Yukon itself putting into the management of the freshwater fisheries resource?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Government of the Yukon is putting into the annual cost something in the neighbourhood of $85,500. The overall estimated cost to administer the program is $481,200. This government, from general revenues, is putting in $85,500. Now, I would not consider that an inconsiderable sum.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister confirm then that the expected increase in the fishing licence fees for Yukon fishermen and tourists is going to generate between $200,000 and $300,000 of that amount of money that will be used for managing the freshwater fisheries resource?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is estimated that the additional licence revenues will be $201,700. Yes, it is between $200,000 and $300,000.
Question re: Fishing licences
Mr. Phillips: Under the fishing licence schedule, I understand we will be doing away with the one-day fishing licence and dramatically increasing the three-day licence for non-residents. Should this happen, it could create severe damage to our tourism industry. Many tourists passing through the Yukon are willing to buy a one-day licence and be guided by a local person. However, most people who travel in RVs are on a very tight budget. By raising the minimum licence fee we are -
Deputy Speaker: Would the Member please get to his question?
Mr. Phillips: -inflicting severe damage on economic opportunity that could be utilized by local residents, in particular members of Indian bands.
Would the Minister review this policy of doing away with the one-day fishing licence, and would he consider going back to the one-day fishing licence for non-residents?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for his question. I want to assure him that I already have reviewed the matter, and I have come to the conclusion that, like all other jurisdictions, having a one-day licence fee is really not feasible. There are not really that many fishermen who buy a one-day licence. In the territory last year, we had 820, as compared to almost 2,000 who paid for a five-day licence.
As I said before, other jurisdictions have looked at this one-day licence. It is not practical. If we want to show fishermen here that we have a resource they want to continue to try their luck at for more than one day, the best way to go is either the three-day, which we are incorporating, or a six-day. The six-day licence has proven very popular in British Columbia and Alaska, and that is the licence that has the fewest number of days.
Mr. Phillips: The Yukon has experienced a decline in the number of tourists in this past year. I am suggesting to the Minister that, although there were only 820 people who purchased a one-day licence last year, with the increase in the cost we may find this year that many people may not purchase the three-day licence. They may drive straight through. Some of these people in the RVs are on very limited budgets, and we should give them the opportunity for a one-day licence. Would the Minister again reconsider the fact that there are several hundred people every year who would just bypass the Yukon, and that we should be taking advantage of all these revenues we can?
Hon. Mr. Webster: In light of the new information that I personally do not think is very convincing, which is the fact that a lot of people travelling our Yukon Territory in RVs are hard-up, I will reconsider the suggestion made by the Member opposite regarding the one-day licence fee.
Question re: Arts centre
Mr. Devries: Just after the election, Education officials told Arts Canada North that the cost of building a new arts centre had gone up substantially. From talking to the people involved, it is my understanding that the Minister of Educations officials knew about the increased cost as early as December.
Why did the Ministers officials wait until late February to give this information to Arts Canada North?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Largely because they did not. The Members information is incorrect.
Mr. Devries: Can the Minister tell us what the final cost is now going to be, and what it was supposed to be?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Initially the projected cost was to be $9.5 million and the final cost is still projected to be $9.5 million.
Mr. Devries: Besides inflation, what other factors have contributed to the increase in costs and what areas are going to be cut back to meet this increase?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If the Member is referring to the increase in cost that would have been part of the project had the project gotten out of hand, there are a number of things, including increase in scope of the design, extra high equipment costs, a rather luscious interior - all of these things would have contributed to an overage on the $9.5 million figure. Like other capital projects, it is simply going to have to be brought down to $9.5 million. That is the bottom line.
Question re: Arts centre
Mrs. Firth: The Arts Canada North group has been writing to Yukoners in order to raise its portion of the total cost, I believe it is $500,000, on the basis that the building would cost $9.5 million. The Minister says today that the papers, the Arts Canada North group and user groups have been saying that they just received this information. Perhaps the Minister could tell us when his officials knew about the cost overruns and when the information was given to the Arts Canada North people and the user groups.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The architectural firm doing the detailed design work communicated to the responsible departments in December that should all the wish lists of all user groups be incorporated into the design then the costs would exceed the $9.5 million. That information was related to Arts Canada North in December.
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister tell us who it was related to? The board? The chairman? Who was given the information?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: My information is that it was relayed to the executive of Arts Canada North.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could get us some documentation that the information was passed on because I believe the public impression that the information was not passed on until three months later. I would like to know if it was communicated in writing or by word of mouth, and I would like some evidence of that.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I presume the Member is suggesting that I am lying. As I understand it, the information was relayed verbally by department officials to the executive of Arts Canada North. That is the information that I have, and I believe the officials.
Question re: Arts centre
Mrs. Firth: I am simply trying to find out who relayed the message to whom. I do not believe I made any unkind accusations of the Minister. We would simply like to know who relayed the message to whom, otherwise all the information that has been given in public would indicate that the Arts Canada North group was not aware of this information. I received a letter requesting assistance with funding. The Arts Canada North group was sending out these letters on the basis that the building was going to be $9.5 million. It did not seem to me, as I am sure it would not seem to the rest of the public, that they were going to be incurring any cost overruns. I am simply asking the Minister for some verification as to who delivered that verbal message and exactly to whom the message was delivered so we can get the record straight for the public.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The principals of Carlberg Jackson Partners, the architects who are in the process of designing the facility, communicated in December to Government Services and to the Department of Educations contact with the architectural firm, the Deputy Minister of Education, that should the project continue with all the elements of the wish list of Arts Canada North, the project would clearly come in over the expected $9.5 million agreed upon amount. The deputy minister, as I understand it, communicated to the executive of Arts Canada North, I believe on December 23, the information that had been relayed to him by the architectural firm. Government Services officials relayed the information again in early January, I understand, also to Arts Canada North. The general instructions that had been given to the architectural firm were that the project total was expected, was billed to the public as being $9.5 million, was expected by the Yukon government Cabinet to be $9.5 million and that, as the Member mentioned, in the useful fund raising efforts of Arts Canada North, the donors to the project had been expecting a $9.5 million facility - $7 million from the Yukon Government, $1 million from the City of Whitehorse, $1 million from the Department of Communications, federal government, and $500,000 from private donations. That was the expectation in December. That is the expectation today.
Question re: Arts centre
Mrs. Firth: Could the Minister indicate why we are hearing in the public that there are costs as high as $13 million anticipated for this facility, and could the Minister tell us what his department is doing and his officials have been doing since they first learned about the potential increase in the cost of the facility?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The arrangement between the government and Arts Canada North, a collection of private interest groups interested in the arts in the Yukon, has always been that we would be negotiating jointly the design of this facility and it was essential that the design of the facility accommodated the arts communitys interests, with the very strict proviso that we meet budgetary targets, and that has been the governments objective. The architects, as I understand it, have been touching base with user groups. User groups have been expressing wish lists, which, in total, would exceed the $9.5 million target and so the direction, as I indicated, given to Carlberg Jackson from the government was that whatever is designed will be designed and constructed for $9.5 million. That is the governments bottom line. Whether there are interest groups that have an interest in expanding the facility or not, Arts Canada North, as a group, and the government departments have to come in at a design that costs $9.5 million.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us what will be taken away from the design of the building that will keep the costs down?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have just finished indicating that the matter of the design is a matter to be negotiated between government departments and Arts Canada North. It was an undertaking that was made very public to the variety of interest groups represented by Arts Canada North and ultimately represented by their executive. That is still our intention. I believe the Arts Canada North board sees the need to bring the facility in on target. It will be up to the government and the Arts Canada North board and its membership to ensure that it is done. It would be impossible for me to say right now what it will take to do that.
Mrs. Firth: Can the Minister tell us if the project is in danger of being delayed another year? Of course, that would incur further inflationary costs. Is that a concern to this government? Is there a possibility of that happening?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I firmly believe that if all the parties work hard to get the job done that needs to be done, the project can get done not only on target but construction can start this year. Of course, if people do not get the job done, delays can happen, but at this point I am still optimistic that construction can start this year.
Deputy Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Special adjournment motion
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until Tuesday, March 28, 1989.
Deputy Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the House, at its rising, do stand adjourned until Tuesday, March 28, 1989.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 62: Second Reading
Clerk: Second reading, Bill No. 62, adjourned debate, Mr. Lang
Mr. Lang: We just have a few comments to make about the bill that is before us. As you can see, it is a one-page bill and the substance of the actual agreement is apart from the legislation itself.
I want to say at the outset that we are pleased to see the transfer of the freshwater fisheries to the Yukon. It has been a priority of this side of the House for quite some time. The present Minister of Renewable Resources will recall that quite a number of resolutions were presented by my colleague, the Member for Kluane, as well as the Member for Riverdale North, in attempting to bring forward a consensus of opinion from the Legislature and trying to assure that the Government of Canada would come forward with the offer to transfer this responsibility. An unfortunate aspect of this is that it was held up, I understand, for some time because of the negotiations due to the position that was taken in some corridors by the Government of the Yukon Territory. I gather there was a great deal of difference as far as what should be encompassed in the transfer of the freshwater fisheries.
In respect to the agreement itself, we are going to have some question about who is going to be on the joint committee, how its going to work, what influence and how much authority the federal government will have over the policy management of freshwater fisheries in the Yukon. We would also like to know what plans the Government of the Yukon has for the purposes of habitat, which calls for various subagreements to be signed between the two levels of government. I am hoping that the Minister can enlighten us either in his final speech in the second reading or in the Committee of the Whole.
The other area that is of concern to us is the statement made in the agreement about the question of stocking lakes. In cases where there is water flowing into a lake that has no streams flowing out into major rivers, we would like to think that perhaps rainbow trout could be stocked in those lakes. It would appear that this agreement would not permit that. That is unfortunate. For example, if you go to some of the lakes outside of Watson Lake that have been stocked with rainbow trout, one would find it is not only good fishing for the local folks, but also it has helped the tourism industry as people fly into the area for the purpose of fishing.
That is something that should be evaluated down the road, although we cannot change that part of the agreement today. Perhaps some amendment could be made so that at least that possibility exists. The present situation is that the lakes are stocked but the fish do not reproduce themselves because they do not have access to creeks for the purposes of reproduction. It is an area where a lot of technical work has to be done, but it is an area that could be looked at and down the road the agreement could be modified to allow for that.
The question of licence fees was raised in Question Period. I want to echo the concern raised by the Member for Riverdale North about the question of the one-day licence fee. There could be arguments either way in respect to people being on limited budgets. The point that is being made here is that if the one-day licence fee is incorporated and continued on, it may well encourage someone to stay an extra day to fish. You are going to find that people who are coming through and only have one day to fish, but have to pay for a three-day fishing licence, it becomes a disincentive, so they will not bother. Those decisions are generally made on the spot. They are not long-term thought-out decisions. There is nothing wrong with at least having it there.
Right now, I do not think the Minister should be dismissing the statistics he presented to this House, where over 800 people bought one-day fishing licences. I do not think we should accept, carte blanche, that because we do not have a one-day fishing licence, people are going to buy a three-day fishing licence.
If you go to Haines and there is only one day, and you start getting up to $30 for a three-day fishing licence, a person will think twice about it. It may not break them, but they will think that, for the couple of hours they are going to be out there, it is too much to pay.
I appreciate the fact that some work has been done by the Ministers office with respect to what has happened in Alaska and in our southern jurisdictions. In support of the Member for Riverdale North, I think you will find that people are driving through. From the tourism end, the statistics show that a lot of people drive through and seldom stop.
In the area of tourism, we have to be putting incentives into place to encourage those people to stop. The reality of the situation is that if a person buys that one-day fishing licence, he or she may find it so enjoyable that they go out and buy a three-day or six-day fishing licence and stay here a week, as opposed to just driving through with no incentives to stay. That is what the Minister of Renewable Resources has to look at from the tourism side of things.
There are legitimate arguments against taking it away. If it has worked well enough that we have had 800 people buying the licence, why not keep it in for another couple of years and see what takes place when we start managing those licences ourselves.
In conclusion, from this side of the House, we are very pleased to see the transfer of freshwater fisheries to the Yukon. It is overdue. I think the Government of Canada deserves some credit, and I think the government should be giving it credit for being prepared to transfer this responsibility.
I want to go back in time for a second. In my long term in this House, all Members every year since 1974 have talked about taking over the freshwater fisheries.
We finally have a federal government that is prepared to take our concerns seriously and, is prepared to not only transfer the responsibility, but also provide us a window of opportunity, as far as finances are concerned. There is a transfer of dollars to this government for the purposes of putting into place what will be a sound management scheme for this resource.
I want to assure the Minister of Renewable Resources that we are not going to hold up the bill before us. We recognize that he would like to have it passed by April 1 but, as he can see, there are some legitimate ideas coming from this side of the House. I do not think the questions brought forward by the Member for Riverdale North should be dismissed out of hand. He is a Member who has put a lot of time and effort over the years into this particular area, as a volunteer and as a citizen, in trying to ensure that fisheries is not only enhanced but expanded. I think there is legitimacy to some of the arguments put forward today.
Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to be able to speak briefly to this motion today. I think one of the things I would like to do is take the time to reflect a bit on history. I think it was April, 1945, when the Fish and Game Association was formed in the Yukon Territory. I have had an opportunity to read the minutes of that first meeting in April 1945. One of the resolutions passed at that meeting was that the Yukon Government should attempt to obtain the responsibility for freshwater fisheries. I think it is significant that here we are 40-plus years later finally accepting that responsibility.
I commend the side opposite for the work they have done in getting the transfer of freshwater fisheries. I commend the federal government for the work they have done to realize that we are responsible enough. I certainly have to commend the Member for Kluane for the work he has done over the past years in seeing that the freshwater fisheries transfer was a priority.
Overall, I think it is an excellent move. I think all Yukoners today are going to benefit from this move. There are no better people to manage the Yukon freshwater fisheries than Yukoners themselves. I think we all appreciate that. I am very pleased to see this taking place at this time.
Deputy Speaker: It is my duty to advise the Assembly that if the Honourable Minister now speaks, he will close debate. Does any other Member wish to be heard?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to begin by thanking the Members opposite for their show of support in giving quick passage of this bill, which will finally enable us, some 40 years later, to acquire management responsibilities for this resource. I, too, would like to thank everyone who has been involved during the past 40 years, particularly the Member for Kluane and the Member for Riverdale North for their involvement in the associations and for their work. I am a recent arrival on the scene. I am just a beneficiary as one partner in this exchange.
The Members opposite have raised a number of concerns they wish dealt with. In addressing the agreement itself, which accompanies the act, I would prefer to deal with them at length at Committee of the Whole, although I would like to deal with the one issue of licence fees at this time.
In an early question put forward by the Member for Riverdale North, he did mention the fee structure. I indicated at that time that this is a fee structure for this year. We will have to make an assessment toward the end of the season as to just how workable it is. If we find that not many people have taken us up on the three-day licence, that may indicate that there is some concern that we are not offering a one-day licence. There are arguments on both sides of the question.
I think there are some merits, as the Member for Porter Creek East has pointed out, in offering a one-day licence, perhaps as some type of enticement or inducement to stay longer. If a visitor does happen to get lucky one day and has fine weather and a good guide and catches a lot of fish, he may be enticed to stay a few more days and buy the three-day licence.
I also mentioned my personal concern about the costs involved with the three-day licence. If one of our goals is to attract people and make them stay longer, we should look at a longer licence such as a six-day as opposed to a three-day. It would be very comparable to the situation that exists now in British Columbia and Alaska. We may find, at the conclusion of this fishing season, that it may be a more popular idea to bring back the one-day fishing licence and extend the three-day to a six-day licence. It will certainly be under consideration. If we do intend to go that way and make some amendments, we will have to present those amendments to the federal government who still have the responsibility for dealing with regulations for these licence changes in time for the next years fishing season.
I thank the Members opposite for their support of this bill.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 10: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 10, standing in the name of hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 10, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1989-90, be now read a third time and do pass.
Deputy Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Finance that Bill No. 10, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1989-90, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 10 has passed this House.
Bill No. 25: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 25, standing in the name of hon. Mr. McDonald.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Bill No. 25, entitled Fifth Appropriation Act, 1987-88, be now read a third time and do pass.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Finance that Bill No 25, entitled Fifth Appropriation Act, 1987-88, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 25 has passed this House.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Deputy Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Government House Leader that the Deputy Speaker do now leave the Chair and the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Deputy Chairman: We will now call Committee of the Whole to order. At this time we will have a break.
Deputy Chairman: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order. At this time we will proceed with Bill No. 62, Freshwater Fisheries Agreement Act.
Bill No. 62 - Freshwater Fisheries Agreement Act
Deputy Chairman: Is there any general debate?
If there is no general debate, we will proceed with Clause 1.
Deputy Chairman: We will begin with Clause 1(1).
On Clause 1(1)
Mr. Lang: I just want to pursue this one-day licence a little bit further with the Minister. It seems to me, with the arguments that we placed before the House, that there should be a little bit more credence given to them than to say well look, we will evaluate it after a year. I personally cannot see why that cannot be put into place for this forthcoming year, and continue it on as it was in the past. Would the Minister be prepared to carry it on and evaluate it after a year, rather than take it out? If we take it out, I know how difficult it is to reinstitute something of this kind. I would prevail upon the Ministers common sense to carry it on for another year and see where we are at the end of the year, and then evaluate it at that time, in view of the fact that we are just taking over the fisheries.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The difficulty with the proposal raised by the Member opposite is that regulations are still the responsibility of the federal government. It takes about four or five months time to change the regulations. You have to make the recommendation to the federal government; they take that much time to make changes. Quite some time ago the new fee structure was recommended for this coming season to the federal government. It was accepted and, as a consequence, we will be living with this fee structure for this season.
It is not possible for us to change the fee structure for this coming 1989-90 season. That is why I am saying that we are going to have to assess the situation at the end of this season. If we see that for some good reasons we should be making some amendments to that fee structure, that is the time to make the recommendation to the federal government, which is still responsible for the Fisheries Act, requesting a change in fee structure.
Mr. Phillips: I respect the dilemma that the Minister is in but we are not asking for a major change of any type. It is just to add a one-day licence. It is not something major. For example, there is a native family with a one-day fishing operation on Teslin Lake and they take people out for one day as they pass by. They may lose that opportunity now because those people are only stopping for one or two hours in the afternoon and want to go fishing on a nice day when the lake is calm. They may not stop to fish there.
Somehow, we should introduce a one-day fishing licence that would protect the investment of this small individual. I know the Minister knows of other proposals from other people who want to operate one-day fishing operations in the territory. What we could try is to change it. If we could change it then we could encourage the operators to sell a three-day as opposed to a one-day licence to their customers, but have the one-day licence as an option they could fall back on. We can encourage the operators to ask the people to try to buy a three-day licence. If they could not then they would have an opportunity to sell a one-day licence. We would not be giving up that revenue so readily when our tourism indicates we need everything we can get.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to reiterate that the responsibility still rests with the federal government. These requests for changes in the fee structure were made quite some time ago by the previous Minister. I have just inherited them. It may be a very small matter. I agree that it is not a major matter at all, but it still takes four months. That is why I said it has to be reviewed by the end of this summer to incorporate any changes for the following season.
Mr. Lang: I have to question the statement that it takes four months. If the Minister would at least make an undertaking to contact the federal minister and ask if he would be prepared to make a minor amendment to the regulation and put it through in the next month. It takes about a three to four week period if it is lined up on the priority list. For the working purposes of the Cabinet it is strictly a question of the paper work, not a question of anyone making the decision because they do not really care.
I feel like I am dealing with the Bill after it is all finished and done with. The schedule of fees was sent four months ago so we really cannot do anything about it. On the Bill we are dealing with it is almost like dealing with Supplementaries, the decision has been made and you had better like it. We will listen very politely to your arguments and maybe take them into consideration a year or two later. I do not think it is fair to the Legislature that that approach be taken.
I understand the dilemma the Minister is in with respect to the fact that some of these recommendations were made some time ago. Would the Minister at least make an undertaking to contact the Ministers office and ask if he would be prepared to make a minor revision to the schedule and, if so, get it off and reincorporate the one-day fee schedule.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The season starts April 1. Even if the federal government would expedite matters on this small issue, I do not think it would be a very wise practice to change the fee structure in the middle of the season.
I have not accepted the arguments of the Members opposite on the necessity of a one-day licence, but I have said I am willing to take a look at the situation at the end of this season. If the facts are there that suggest we should revert to a one-day licence, and perhaps a six-day as opposed to a three-day, that is fine. It was a Cabinet decision regarding the fee structure, which I inherited. That is the way it is going to be for 1989-90.
Mr. Lang: This is like nailing jelly to the wall. I thought we were in a love-in here, and everyone agreed with it, and it was the federal governments fault that we could not get the changes in. Now the Minister stands up and says he does not agree.
I find it ludicrous that the decision was made to do away with the one-day fishing licence when almost one-third of the licences that were bought were one-day licences, according to the statistics the Minister gave us. He said that over 2,000 were three-day licences or the season fishing licence, while another 800 were daily licences. Is that not correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is not exactly correct. There were over 15,000 licences sold in the Yukon last year to fishermen. There are a variety of licences. For example, the resident seasonal was 6,000. I know the Member opposite is just dealing with the tourist side of things at this time.
There were 820 non-resident one-day licences, as opposed to 1,948 non-resident five-day licences. There were 3,422 Canadian season licences. The one-day licences represent quite a bit less than one-third. It is less than one-fifth.
Mr. Lang: We can turn to statisticians and debate the merits of how they are compared. My point is that there were 1,900 five-day licences, and there were only 800 people who were interested in fishing for one day. I do not understand the rationale that made them all three-day licences because it would force them to buy one, when they were obviously not interested in buying the five-day ones last year. They were just going out for the afternoon.
I hope the Minister realizes the concern being expressed here is not so much for the constituents we represent, because they buy season licences. I think you are going to find that people are not going to stop, and there will be less revenue being spent in the territory because people will not spend that half day in Teslin but will carry right on through.
If I go down to BC and find out it is going to cost $30 for a licence to go out for two hours, I would probably be passing it by. If it was $5 or $10, then I might decide it was worth it. I think the Minister would feel the same way. He probably is not a fisherman so he cannot relate to what we are talking about.
It is nice to debate these issues and have them seriously considered by the government and taken under serious advisement for a change. That makes it very frustrating to be in the opposition.
The one area that I did raise in my opening remarks was a question of rainbow trout and the fact that this agreement requires that if you are stocking lakes you cannot have a creek flowing in nor a creek flowing out, the way I understand it. Can the Minister further explain that to us and was there active discussion on this matter when they were negotiating the agreement?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is the case. It is the way this agreement has been prepared, that the stocking of rainbow trout is restricted to land-locked lakes. However, that is not to say that if we review the situation, and it is deemed to be desirable to have rainbow trout stocked in non-land-locked lakes as well as land-locked, the agreement can be amended to reflect that. That can be accomplished through this two-person committee.
Mr. Phillips: Most of the pot-hole lakes in the Yukon right now that are accessible to the public have been stocked. The stocking of pot-hole lakes is something that you have to do annually or semi-annually because the rainbow trout do not reproduce in those types of environments. I think the concern of the fisheries people is that we are going to bring non-indigenous species in and contaminate the indigenous species in the creeks and lakes, and I understand that. But there are some lakes in the territory that have streams leading into them, no streams leading out, and they have very little or no natural fish in them. They have lots of natural shrimp and this type of thing, and I think we should be looking at that because stocking fish on a regular basis can be a very expensive proposition.
If you have a creek running into a lake, the stocks will reproduce themselves. It has proven very successful in British Columbia and in the Watson Lake area. There are some lakes that were stocked there in the past and I think that we should not be closing the door. I know that the mentality of the federal Department of Fisheries for the past 10 years is that it is absolutely taboo to put fish anywhere but a pot-hole lake. They stress this and I think it is more a feeling of one or two individuals than it is of the whole department and that they have imposed this same restriction on us. I think that is unfair. I think that we have to be very cautious when we move into this area, but it is not just a have or have not situation. I am concerned that it is written into the agreement almost as a have not. Once these things are down in black and white like this you and I know that they are very difficult to change unless you have some real, sound, valid reasons why you should change them.
I saw how that sort of crept into the agreement. There are a lot of other things that could be in that agreement as well. That is an actual management decision: what we stock in our lakes, when we stock them and how we stock them. That is something that we should be deciding and that has been part of the thing that has gotten people upset in this territory over the past 25 or 35 years: that other people have been making decisions for us. Well here they have stuck it in the agreement and gotten away with it. I think we should be conscious of it. It should not be just a closed-door situation. We should be able to look at those avenues. They may or may not be feasible, but they should not be dictating to us what we do in the future with our fresh water fisheries stocks.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Well, I must agree with the Members opinion, but as he must admit, the restriction in this agreement, as he has correctly said, has been applied to all the western provinces as well. I do not, however, see it as binding, as the Member says. I think we will be looking to the Yukon Wildlife Management Board to assume responsibility in the area of freshwater fisheries, as well. If, indeed, they can come forward with some sound and valid reasons for the stocking of non-land-locked lakes with rainbow trout then that can be forwarded for consideration to amend this agreement.
Mr. Phillips: Will this section in the act limit us at all? For example, in the Kathleen Lake system where there are some natural rainbow trout stocks. There may come a time when the Department of Fisheries may want to try to enhance or replenish those stocks, either using natural stocks or others. I would suggest natural stocks would be the best. Will this prohibit you from even enhancing those natural stocks in those creeks and rivers, which are not land-locked? They run all through the Kathleen Lake and Kathleen River system.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I expect that if rainbow trout already exist in that lake-river system, then we would not be restricted by this agreement to increasing the stock of that species.
Mr. Phillips: The way it reads is that the importation of non-indigenous fish species and the allowing of stocking thereof is to occur only in land-locked lakes. Do I take that to mean that it is only fish we import and it would not include at all any natural stocks that are in these lakes, like rainbow trout? It specifically does say rainbow trout.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, it does specifically say imports, so I would agree with you. My interpretation would be that stock that already exists in the Yukon could be used for that purpose in other lake-river systems.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to go on to another area for a moment. The transfer of freshwater fisheries and the administration of the freshwater fisheries habitat will take place when the habitat subagreement is executed. I am wondering when that subagreement is expected to be executed. I ask that because we now have wildlife management in the territory but we do not have control over our forest resources. It can be a problem if you can control the resource but you can not control the habitat. When do you expect to finalize an agreement on habitat?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member has correctly identified that a habitat subagreement will have to be signed, which will be annexed to this agreement. I would anticipate that that will be the very next step in the process of acquiring more responsibility from the federal government. As the Member correctly put it, it would be so that we could more thoroughly manage this resource. As for a time frame for that, as it is our first priority, I expect it to happen within the next year or so.
Clause 1(1) agreed to
On Clause 1(2)
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister once again run through the consequence of the money that we are dealing with? I see we are allocated $750,000 for three years. Can you tell us how that money is going to be spent? What happens in the fourth year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That one-time, catch-up grant of $750,000 will be used to improve our data base of the resource over a five-year period. They will be providing us with money over a three-year period in blocks of $250,000 each. Considering the amount of work to be done to collect all the data necessary to properly manage the resource, it will take five years to complete it. Among those tasks, we will be taking inventory of all our major lake systems. We will also be establishing some policies of allocations for the various users. We will be taking a look at stocking programs. There are a number of specific tasks that he will be doing within that five-year time frame.
As to the end of that three year time period, when the annual contributions from the federal government of $250,000 per year run out, we are on our own. That was simply a one-time, catch-up contribution so that we could acquire the data necessary to properly manage the resource.
Mr. Lang: Does the Minister have an outline of those lakes that they are going to be doing this particular data research on?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Every lake in the territory that is used by one user group will eventually be looked at for the resource as it exists right now, to establish a productivity base. In the first two years, we have a priority to look at those lakes that are heavily used right now, not just by one user but by a series of users, from sport fisherman to the Indian fishery to commercial fishery. For example, this first season we will be looking at Aishihik Lake and some of the larger southern lakes, such as Bennett Lake.
Mr. Phillips: Currently, there is a moratorium from the federal Department of Fisheries on commercial net fishing licences for Yukon lakes. Is the government going to continue that moratorium until after it has the data on the specific lakes in question? Is the government going to extend that moratorium to any other operation until we have the data on whether the lake can handle the proposal for the lake?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, the Member is correct. We will be continuing the moratorium on commercial freshwater fishery. That is one of the reasons that those lakes have been identified as a top priority, so we can take a look at the extent of the resource. With respect to the second question, we will be doing an assessment during the first year as to the number of fish stock in the various lakes, according to reports by the operators and other users, to see if they require the same kind of attention. If it is found that there has been too much recent pressure placed those resources, they ,too, will be identified for immediate attention.
Mr. Phillips: I have a question that relates to a motion we unanimously passed in the House. I think the Member across the floor also supported this one. I am not sure whether he has changed his mind on it or not. The motion was with respect to looking into the Yukon fish hatchery, which is under the jurisdiction of the Yukon Development Corporation in conjunction with the federal Department of Fisheries. It was to see if that facility, at any time of the off season, could be utilized for the rearing of rainbow trout from natural stock eggs. It is a very well-equipped facility. I know the motion was passed unanimously, so I know the Member across the floor supported the motion at that time.
Does the Member still support the motion today, or has he had time to reflect through the summer and listen to the public talk out there and has now changed his mind again?
Hon. Mr. Webster: With the anticipated passage of this act, therefore giving us the responsibility to manage this resource, I would assume that could be one of our first tasks, and one that I would support.
Mr. Phillips: I hope the Hansard has that loud and clear. For the first time the Minister has now affirmed his support for the motion with respect to utilizing the Yukon hatchery, and I am very pleased to hear that today.
Clause 1(2) agreed to
On Clause 1(3)
Clause 1(3) agreed to
Clause 1 agreed to
On Clause 2
Clause 2 agreed to
Title agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move you report Bill No. 62, entitled Freshwater Fisheries Agreement Act, without amendment.
Motion agreed to
Bill No. 33: Third Appropriation Act, 1988-89 - continued
Deputy Chairman: We will now continue with Bill No. 33, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1988-89. We are continuing with the Department of Community and Transportation Services, capital expenditures. We will proceed with the line by line.
Stood over line items resumed
Hon. Mr. Byblow: A number of items were stood over and some information committed. I would like to deal with most of that now. The first item I would like to deal with is the distribution of information relating to questions that were raised by Mr. Lang surrounding environmentally-related projects.
If the page was circulated to Members of the Opposition it should speak for itself. It just speaks to the projects in the communities, the amounts spent on them in the 1988-89 year, and which ones have a contribution agreement attached. The contribution agreements are included.
Another commitment made yesterday related to revotes from the 1987-88 year. I am advised that, with respect to those revotes on several projects in the 1987-88 Capital Mains and Supplementaries, program activities were rolled up into lump figures such that program detail was not listed out. In a review of Hansard, it was the concerns raised by the hon. Member that led subsequently to more detail being presented in the Estimates and a project listing in the program activity. The two specific projects the Member raised were debated in Hansard on December 15, 1986 and were the Teslin pumphouse and the Swift River houses. That appears to have been included in the same debate but not specifically referred to. It was in the rolled-up item, but there was some debate on that day regarding those items.
I quote from the previous Minister on December 15, 1986, There will be two projects to improve staff quarters in Stewart Crossing and Swift River, $900,000 and $1.1 million respectively. There will be improvements to the heating system pumphouse in Teslin. There was citation of those specific projects.
There was a subsequent question by the hon. Member regarding the Swift River and Stewart Crossing buildings and a response, so there was debate. However, in the budget the program activity was not delineated to list them out as we do today. There was a commitment to return with some information relating to the Klondike Highway, commonly known as the Eleven Percent Hill. I am advised that in the preliminary engineering stage of this project two alternative routes were identified as having the potential for upgrading. One was the existing road and the other was the Eleven Percent Hill alignment that essentially paralleled the existing road but had been abandoned in the 1950s. The reasons for looking at both alternatives were because the existing road had a series of sharp curves that would not be easy to improve. Also, the soil conditions along the existing road were known to be swampy and construction material such as gravel and good quality fill were scarce. The Eleven Percent Hill alignment appeared to have minimal horizontal curvature and standards for curves could be met. It was felt that construction equipment could cut down the steep grades at a reasonable cost.
However, toward the end of the pre-engineering phase, a cost benefit comparison for upgrading both alternatives was carried out. This indicated that the upgrading of the Eleven Percent Hill portion would cost less than the existing road. Based on this, a final design was prepared for the Eleven Percent Hill and the clearing contract was begun.
As a consequence of the clearing operation, extensive permafrost was indicated in the major excavation areas. During the review of the design, it was discovered that this had not been taken into account when calculating quantities and cost estimates. Continuing on that particular alignment would have cost more than originally allowed for in the cost benefit analysis and that would have made the Eleven Percent Hill cost much more than originally expected and more than the first option.
Expenditures incurred on the Eleven Percent Hill, subsequent to the pre-engineering phase, amounted to clearing for $49,000 and final design for $24,000 for a total of $73,000 spent on the old alignment.
In 1988-89, $9,281,000 was spent on the existing alignment and there is an intention to spend some additional amounts that will show up in the Mains.
Mr. Lang: I would like to clearly understand this. Are you telling the House that $90,000 was spent on something that did not have to be done? Is that the alternative to what you call the old alignment? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My figures show that $73,000 was spent on the alignment that was not used. I might point out that the engineer who originally made the calculations is no longer with the government.
There was a further question on the Freegold Road about the training costs involved. I have a breakdown for the Member of the total costs for the Freegold Road. Pre-engineering for the entire route, which includes the Cassino Trail portion, 0 to 60 km., in 1987-88, amounted to $90,000. Further detailed design in 1987-88 amounted to an additional $9,000. In 1988-89, further detailed design amounted to $6,000. The training component involved in the contract amounted to $2,000 in 1987-88 and $15,000 in 1988-89. I might point out to the Member that I am rounding off figures. The construction contract for the construction work from Km 6 to 12, including a large multi-plate culvert at Murray Creek, amounted to a total of $376,000. Construction materials and miscellaneous related to the project amounted to an additional $10,000. Construction supervision and monitoring of the training program amounted to another $93,000. The total on the Freegold Road was $611,000.
The Member for Porter Creek East, as well as the Member for Watson Lake, raised the specific question on the Swift River staff complex. This will clarify some numbers, one of which I gave inaccurately yesterday. The original project estimate was $790,000. I believe yesterday I indicated it was in the order of $400,000. That was an estimate in 1986-87. At the same time, there was an additional $37,000 estimated for furniture. The contract was awarded to MacKinnon Building Ltd. on a contract award of $447,000 in 1987-88.
The contract was later cancelled for a number of reasons and a settlement reached for $177,000 for the work done. There was a new contract awarded to Dena Ku for $372,000, with an additional $30,000 cost related to materials on site that were part of the project but did not come out of the $177,000 settlement.
The total value of the project amounts to $708,000 plus furnishings. I am advised that the project is scheduled for take over during the week of March 20, and the facility is complete except for some exterior cleaning and painting. That will conclude when weather permits.
I am led to understand the staff has not moved in yet. Inquiries made by the department indicate that the facility is suitable; however, one employee has indicated that the units should have been larger to allow for families. The units appear to have been originally and deliberately designed for single people or a couple, as there are no school or recreational facilities in that location.
In conclusion, the original estimate was actually $790,000, and the cost came out at $708,000.
Another undertaking was made with respect to the Mayo grader station. The land was originally obtained in a swap for the existing site, so there was an exchange done with no assigned cost. The preparation of the site, construction of the foundation and the slab, and the relocation as explained by the previous Minister yesterday, amounted in total to the following figures: in 1984-85, $4,000; in 1985-86, $50,000; and in 1986-87, $305,000.
Under construction of new facilities, the storage warehouse, I believe, is an adjacent facility to replace the one located on site. In 1987-88, $5,000 was spent. In 1988-89, $110,000. So the entire relocation and upgrading costs on the Mayo Grader Station over a five year period is $475,000.
The Member raises a question about land, and there was no cost assigned or borne in the swap that took place.
There was another commitment made in relation to the Cassino Trail. The Member raised a question as to whether I had tabled an environmental study done on it. In reviewing this there is a total of 12 studies that have been done on the Cassino Trail, at least half of which are strictly environmental, and some of which are socio-economic studies. What I am proposing is to have this summary reproduced and circulated to the Members. It also indicates reports that we have on file and, certainly, any we have are available. I am sure we can arrange it.
It appears that I have one more agonizing exercise and that relates to the Whitehorse central workshop. I have considerable information here that explains in some detail the summary of developments relating to the project. I can attempt to go through it or circulate the three-page document, whichever the Member prefers.
I guess that would allow us to proceed on the line by line items.
On Whitehorse Warehouse - stood over
Whitehorse Warehouse in the amount of $375,000 agreed to
On Swift River Staff Quarters - stood over
Swift River Staff Quarters in the amount of $425,000 agreed to
Deputy Chairman: We will now go to Community Affairs on page 20.
On Community Affairs
On Public Health and Safety
On Planning and Pre-engineering
Mr. Lang: For the purpose of the Main Estimates, could the Minister provide us with a list of where this money was spent for planning and pre-engineering? I do not think we need it listed right now, but I would just like an idea of what projects are under consideration.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have no problem undertaking to meet the request. The item under review, the $100,000, is a predesign on the Carcross water and sewer system, which I expect we will get into more detail on because this accounts for predesign work and there will be substantial funds showing up in the Main Estimates.
Planning and Pre-Engineering in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Water Supply, Treatment and Storage
Water Supply, Treatment and Storage in the amount of $40,000 agreed to
On Water and Sewer Mains
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The additional funds are required to meet $133,000 additional costs in the Mayo fire flow improvement project, $145,000 for Dawson Y Block water and sewer project and there was a surplus in various other projects which resulted in the $210,000 final figure.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to ask for it now, but I would like to get the surplus figures. It would be interesting to see those. Could you provide me with a list prior to the Main Estimates?
Water and Sewer Mains in the amount of $210,000 agreed to
On Sewage Treatment and Disposal
Sewage Treatment and Disposal in the amount of $14,000 agreed to
On Solid Waste
Solid Waste in the amount of $71,000 agreed to
On Mosquito Control
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister tell us why we have had such an increase in this area?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The project was the result of the construction of a chemical preparation building in the Marwell Area at the Whitehorse grader station, which cost $80,000 but was offset by a $9,000 decrease from the equipment replacement account.
Mosquito Control in the amount of $70,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Emergency Measures in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Fire Protection
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Those figures relate to several projects. The Carcross fire pump, $427,000; the Haines Junction fire alarm $23,000; Keno City fire hall, $402,000, but there was a revote of $308,000 in that figure.
Mr. Lang: Following up on the Keno City fire hall for $402,000, how many homes are in Keno City?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There are approximately 50 homes and, I believe, two businesses in Keno City.
Mr. Lang: Is it the policy of the government that in any community 50 homes and greater that we will be providing this type of a fire hall? Is that the policy of the government?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There was a policy adopted that provided for this facility to be constructed. I can provide the Member with some additional figures on that facility if he wishes.
Mr. Lang: I would like a copy of the policy in respect to fire halls and how one applies for one of these $400,000 fire halls. Secondly, I would like the additional figure as well.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The policy is public, and I will certainly make sure the Member has a copy for the Main Estimates. In 1987-88 the original budgeted amount for the hall was $342,000. The lowest of several tenders that came in was for $511,000. That required some considerable discussions with the contractor, with the community, and there was some paring down of the job, and a redesign estimate through the reduced scope of the project, to $310,000. In 1988-89 the revote that was approved on the redesign was $308,000. The retender came in at $354,000. For a number of reasons, there was an adjustment of an additional $50,000 to bring it up to $404,000.
Mr. Lang: Is it true that in the readjustment that the door of the garage is so narrow that the fire truck cannot get through it with mirrors on the side of it?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That information is not to my knowledge. The adjustments involved from that $354,000 retendered figure pared down from the original design were caused by some ice lenses found in some subsoil that did not show up in engineering tests. There had to be relocation, further soils testing and water line extension. All of those things added up to the additional $50,000.
Mr. Lang: I would like you to check that out, because that is what one individual who was aware of this project told me. It seemed odd to me that you would build a $400,000 garage and not be able to have firmly set mirrors on the side of the truck. Nothing surprises me, granted, but I would like that verified.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Certainly, I will check that out.
Mr. Lang: Maybe there is another way of putting that question. Does the fire truck have mirrors?
Fire Protection in the amount of $552,000 agreed to
On Ambulance Service
Hon. Mr. Byblow: On this line item, the original forecast on the Whitehorse ambulance station was $450,000 in 1987-88 and 1988-89 fiscal year. The revote was approved based on an estimate for $525,000. The low tender received came in at $723,000. The contractor was asked to suggest cost savings. A review of the project revealed that no significant savings could be identified in trying to pare it down. The total cost resulted in $725,000. Some additional costs relating to power and relocation of water lines resulted in $795,000 for the cost of the entire project.
Mr. Lang: We started a project that was estimated to cost $500,000. It wound up costing $790,000. It goes back to the discussion we had last evening in regard to who is doing the estimating and why we are so far out. I am sure that the Member for Klondike would be asking the same question if he were still a member of the Public Accounts Committee. This is not a partisan comment, but I would like to know why, with so many projects coming into the House, when we expect some legitimacy to the numbers being presented, eight or 12 months later it is two, three, four hundred thousand dollars over. I think this side of the House is fairly lenient. If you have a $20,000 or $30,000 overrun on a $400,000 project, we would accept that as part of doing business. But surely the government has to do something to get a handle on this, because this windfall of money from the federal government is not going to continue forever.
We have to start doing some scale of financing here, where we can show we have wisely spent the taxpayers money. Every day that this goes on, the government is becoming more of a laughingstock in the public. That is not good for the government, nor is it good to make the government something to sneer at when it comes to financial management. I am sure the Minister is just as embarrassed as any other Member in this House, because he has to stand up and ask for another $300,000 on this project.
We have a sincere concern over this type of thing happening. Here is $300,000 that could be spent somewhere else to benefit another community. If we keep doing this, there are going to be fewer and fewer projects that will go forward in the future. It is not going to last forever, and we had better start managing our resources, because we have not done it wisely to date.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not wish to enter into a major debate on wise management of resources. The evidence on this side is there has not been a government more responsible in the management of the resources available to it. I am sure we will entertain a major debate on wise management of funds.
I appreciate the Members comments and the spirit in which they were intended. As Minister of Community and Transportation Services and Government Services, I feel very comfortable in addressing some of the concerns raised with regard to estimates on projects. I met with the Contractors Association this afternoon and flagged that very item. We had a brief discussion, and it is flagged for further discussion, on why these tenders are coming in over estimate the way they have been. It is something I intend to address seriously.
Mr. Lang: With respect to the ambulance station behind the hospital, how does that design and location fit into the proposed new hospital? Does it complement the new design?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am led to understand it is ideal. There were full consultations with National Health and Welfare, and that was the mutually selected site.
Ambulance Service in the amount of $742,000 agreed to
Cemeteries in the amount of a recovery of $7,000
Public Health and Safety agreed to
Deputy Speaker: We will now take a 10 minute recess.
On Roads and Streets
On Planning and Engineering
Planning and Engineering in the amount of a recovery of $10,000 agreed to
On Road Upgrade
Road Upgrade in the amount of a recovery of $68,000 agreed to
On Asphalt Paving
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $236,000 reflects a requirement to complete the paving on Mountainview Drive.
Asphalt Paving in the amount of $236,000 agreed to
Roads and Streets agreed to
On Recreation, Community Facilities
On Community Recreation Plans
Community Recreation Plans in the amount of a recovery of $8,000 agreed to
On Recreation Facilities
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Those monies reflect a number of projects. They are the Keno Community Centre in the amount of $18,000, the Burwash Community Hall construction in the amount of $22,000, the Elsa Curling Rink Construction in the amount of $331,000, the Ross River Community Centre in the amount of $94,000, the Beaver Creek Swimming Pool in the amount of $107,000, the Ross River Swimming Pool project deferral for a gain of $20,000, and the Destruction Bay Curling Rink design in the amount of $20,000. I should point out that the Beaver Creek Swimming Pool is a revote. There are revotes involved in the Elsa Curling Rinks and the Burwash Community Hall.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us a full accounting of each of these projects? In Keno City it is $18,000. Was there any more money during the previous year spent on that project? What about Burwash? I would like to have a full accounting of the Elsa Curling Club. I would like to know if there is any money being spent in this forthcoming year that we are in. I would also like a full accounting of the Ross River Arena. Does the Minister have any of those numbers with him?
The Minister could provide those to us in the Main Estimates if he likes. I would like a full accounting of what these projects have cost. I would also like to find out whether any monies are going to these projects through LEOP or any other financial arm of the government. I would like a full accounting of what the costs are.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can certainly undertake to provide a more refined picture of the total expenditures on the recreation facilities. Part of the problem is that the figure reflects revotes and work that has been started in years past. In some cases they will continue into the next fiscal year with a small portion revote. It gets to be a fairly complicated exercise, but I would certainly not have a problem speaking to total cost figures on those facilities in the Mains.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister make sure I get that information prior to getting into the Main Estimates? I am sure it will be quite an awakening experience for him as well as for every other Member in the House. I would like to have that information prior to coming into the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I wonder if the Member would like to be Minister.
I will do the best I can to provide the information in advance.
Recreational Facilities in the amount of $731,000 agreed to
On Rural Electrification
Rural Electrification in the amount of $225,000 agreed to
Recreation, Community Facilities agreed to
On Local Employment Opportunities Program
Local Employment Opportunities Program in the amount of $2,763,000 agreed to
On Community TV/Radio
Community TV/Radio in the amount of a recovery of $36,000 agreed to
Communications agreed to
On Block Funding Project Assistance
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That relates to the costs that are charged to block funding projects when the branch or department provides assistance to municipalities. In essence, when there is a major project that is being funded under block funding and the department is giving technical assistance to design, monitor and approve the system, you charge the communities for that so it becomes a fully recoverable item.
Block Funding Project Assistance in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
Community and Transportation Services in the amount of $5,035,000 agreed to
Department of Economic Development: Mines and Small Business
Deputy Chairman: We will now turn to Economic Development: Mines and Small Business.
Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will be asking the brand new Deputy Minister of Economic Development to join me.
The additional $463,000 in O&M is attributable to additional contract and personnel costs related to the development and implementation of the computerized management information system for the department. Along with this, it was necessary for the department to obtain specific expertise in such areas as preparation for negotiations for the Northern Accord and the intervention into the fuel price inquiry.
The reduction of $435,000 from Capital is attributable to a reduced uptake in the Economic Development agreements, small business incentives, Venture Capital and Yukon Energy Alternative Programs, or YEAP. In addition, the use of low guarantees rather than the granting of loans under the loan assistance programs has reduced expenditures. Recoveries, of course, are related to the expenditures and therefore there is obviously a reduction of $1,308,000, which reflects the anticipated reduction in expenditures.
Mr. Phillips: What was the cost of the fuel price inquiry to this department?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The intervention cost $41,000.
Mr. Nordling: I think with this, because there are so few items, that we should just start and go line by line. We are prepared to start with Administration under O&M.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The $258,000 is made up in two general parts. The first was personnel costs, which included the cost sharing of an assistant deputy minister position with the Yukon Development Corporation, at 50 percent, and also staffing and overtime requirements for the computerization of the department. The balance was required for consulting contracts for the completion of the operational plan, which runs concurrently with the computerization system, and for the contract with Sorrento Systems for the computer programing itself.
Mr. Nordling: Could the Minister break that down for us and give us the figures associated with each of those areas?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It was broken down in the following way: $156,000 for personnel, for systems development-related work; regular and overtime was $76,000, casual was $49,000, and the benefits for the pay worked out to $20,000. This was for both the cost sharing of the assistant deputy minister position with the Yukon Development Corporation and for the implementation of the computerization system within the department.
Mr. Nordling: Were any of those positions permanent term? Have they ended now, or will they be carrying on? Have we finished our computerization in the department now? I would like a little more information from the Minister, because these items obviously were not in the budget to begin with, or they were extremely over spent.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Obviously, all of the overtime and the casual work required to implement the system would not be required. Much of the work in this area was done by the department people themselves. Of course, those administrative people would remain.
The computerization system was in direct response to criticism that had been directed at the department by the Auditor-Generals office regarding the accuracy of the financial information and the control procedures. That was the reason for the automation in the first place. All overtime costs, et cetera, associated with the implementation would not be borne, but the administrative people who are normally in the department would remain.
Mr. Nordling: Does the Minister have the detailed figures as to what the consulting contracts were, the total for the operational plan, and how much the contract was with Sorrento?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The operational plan and the Sorrento Systems contract was for $70,000.
Mr. Nordling: Will there be any new person years required in the department to run the new computerized system?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No.
Administration in the amount of $258,000 agreed to
On Energy and Mines
Energy and Mines in the amount of a recovery of $9,000 agreed to
On Economic Policy, Planning and Research
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There are basically three items. There is $227,000 dedicated to begin preparations for the Northern Accord negotiations. There was $41,000 for the intervention by the department in the fuel price inquiry. The balance was the transfer from small business that we will see later into this line item. It was the manager position.
Mr. Nordling: Could the Minister tell us now what is happening with the Northern Accord? Will there be any more expenses? Are we finished? Where are we at with that?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: No, we are not finished. There will be ongoing negotiations with the federal government. I believe that if I can anticipate the Main Estimates, there is, I believe, approximately $150,000 dedicated towards the negotiating process for this coming year. We have done some background work in developing these positions. They are doing research that will be continuing in the coming year and perhaps years to come depending on how long it takes to get a fair deal for the Yukon. I realize that it is certainly less than the resources than the NWT is dedicating to this project, but we feel that our position will be cogent and clear enough if it is expressed properly and it is heard by the people who count in Ottawa. So, we do not feel that it is necessary to make the kinds of expenditures. I believe the NWT is spending in the range of $1,000,000. We do not believe that is necessary, and feel we can do as good a job with the resources we are dedicating.
Mr. Nordling: I thank the Minister for that. I would like to ask how our intervention went with the fuel price inquiry. What did we accomplish? Does the Minister have any information on what we got for our money?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: If the Member will forgive me if my information is not current or accurate. I will try to be brief, having not been the Minister of Economic Development at that time. The department did make the intervention that the Member is aware of. I believe the intervention was on the public record. In any case, the results of the inquiry are also on public record and we feel that many of the issues that were enunciated in our intervention were raised and heard by the inquiry and helped to provide necessary background information for the inquiry so that the recommendations that were made incorporated the research that we had done.
Economic Policy, Planning and Research in the amount of $295,000 agreed to
On Small Business
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There were a number of vacancies in the small business area. There was a transfer position that I told Members about already. There was a vacancy in Whitehorse from August to September. There was a vacancy in the Faro/Ross River position from May to September. There was another vacancy in Whitehorse due to maternity leave from September to now. Those vacancies, along with the transfer, decreased the necessary vote for this line item by $81,000.
Small Business in the amount of a recovery of $81,000 agreed to
Economic Development: Mines and Small Business in the amount of $463,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move you report progress on Bill No. 33.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Deputy Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Deputy Chairman: It has been moved by the hon. Mr. McDonald that the Deputy Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker resumes the Chair
Deputy Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May the House have the report from the Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Whole?
Mr. Joe: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 62, entitled Freshwater Fisheries Act, and directs me to report the same without amendment. Further, the Committee has considered Bill No. 33, entitled Third Appropriation Act, 1988-89 and directs me to report progress on the same.
Deputy Speaker: You have heard the report from the Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Deputy Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would request the unanimous consent of the House under Standing Order No. 55(2) to proceed with third reading of Bill No. 62 at this time.
Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Deputy Speaker: There is unanimous consent. I will, therefore, call Government Bills.
Bill No. 62: Third Reading
Clerk: Third reading, Bill No. 62 standing in the name of the hon. Mr. Webster.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I move that Bill No. 62, entitled Freshwater Fisheries Agreement Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Deputy Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Minister of Renewable Resources that Bill No. 62, entitled Freshwater Fisheries Agreement Act, be now read a third time and do pass.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker: I declare that Bill No. 62 has passed this House.
We are now prepared to receive the Administrator acting in her capacity of Lieutenant-Governor to grant assent to certain bills that have passed this House.
Administrator enters the Chamber
Assent to Bill
Administrator: Please be seated.
Deputy Speaker: Madam Administrator, the Assembly, at its present session, passed certain bills to which, in the name and on behalf of the Assembly, I respectfully request your assent.
Clerk: Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1989-90; Fifth Appropriation Act, 1987-88; Freshwater Fisheries Agreement Act.
Administrator: I hereby assent to the bills as enumerated by the Clerk.
Administrator leaves the Chamber
Deputy Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Deputy Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Deputy Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, 1989.
The House adjourned at 4:50 p.m.
The following Sessional Papers were tabled March 16, 1989:
Community and Transportation Services, Annual Report, 1987-88 (Byblow)
Report on sale of Hyland Forest Products (Penikett)
Yukon Development Corporation Annual Report, 1988 (Penikett)
The following Legislative Returns were tabled March 16, 1989:
Jack Sigalet, contractual arrangements and other matters (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 6
Delivery of tourism brochures to trade shows in the US (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 60
Report of veterinarian re post mortem on horses (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, Mar. 13
People employed as poundskeepers (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, Mar. 13
condition of livestock (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, Mar. 9
Law regarding horses and livestock on Yukon highways (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, Mar. 13
Arrangements with RCMP re legal limit of Pounds Act and Animal Protection Act (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, p. 18
Owner of horses impounded at Haines Junction, and if fine was paid (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, Mar. 13
Commitments offered to encourage large animal veterinarians to relocate to Yukon (Webster)
Oral, Hansard, Mar. 14