Wednesday, April 5, 1989 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
We will proceed at this time with Prayers.
Speaker: We will now turn to the Order Paper.
Are there any Introduction of Visitors?
Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have the response to questions asked in the House on April 3.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills?
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Economic Development Agreement
Mr. Phelps: I have a few questions of the Government House Leader, who I believe would be the appropriate Minister. First of all I would like to know exactly where we stand with regard to renegotiating the Economic Development Agreement and subagreements. I understand that the ones that we negotiated and signed in 1985 have run out as of April 1.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member knows that some of the subagreements did expire on March 31; however, the federal government, after considerable discussion between officials, agreed that there should be an extension of at least two months, after which a renegotiation of a further 10 months and of future years would then take place. The federal government was clearly not willing to go beyond two months, and the final solution for us at this point is to agree to the two months that we have and consider renegotiations subsequently.
Mr. Phelps: We are all aware of the potential cutbacks in the federal government budget because of the deficit; that has to be a concern to us in the Yukon. I wonder whether or not the Minister feels that the federal cutbacks, which we are told are going to be extensive, are going to have an impact on the renogotiation of the Economic Development Agreement and subagreements?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It has been our suspicion and primary concern, firstly, that the federal government would not agree to any sort of extension, and that the federal governments budget, which is due to come down at the end of April or so, would announce and solidify that fact. We tried our best to encourage renegotiation, but also as long a term as possible for the agreement. The federal government, for its part, has not shown willingness to provide any guarantee past the next two months and has, in fact, indicated that any renegotiation past the two months and for the balance of the fiscal year would include terms that are not as favorable for the Yukon as they were previously. Those are worrying signals and we have expressed our dismay and concern to the federal Minister.
Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister advise us of what, if any, contingency plans are in place to try to alleviate the problems that will arise if there are cutbacks to the Economic Development Agreement? Are there shifts in priorities planned by this government? Are there plans to cut back the government growth and put money into economic development instead? What is the nature of any contingency plans that may have been developed?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Clearly, it is not an easy proposition for the Yukon government to unilaterally pick up the tab for program expenditures that have been cut by the federal government. We have discussed that on a number of occasions in this Legislature before where similar situations have happened. However, we are reviewing the commitments made, and the tentative commitments made, under the EDA, to determine whether future government funding would be appropriate from this government.
Question re: Economic Development Agreement
Mr. Phelps: My next questions have to do with the Formula Financing Agreement. That is really the major source of revenue for this government. That agreement was negotiated by the previous administration and signed in the spring of 1985. It was for three years with an option for two years, with the option running out this fiscal year. Exactly where are we in renegotiating a formula financing agreement with Canada?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The government has been anticipating formal negotiations with the federal government after it had renegotiated the extension of the formula negotiations recently. We do realize the urgency and necessity of the negotiations and have indicated our willingness to negotiate with the federal government. Again the federal government has indicated its unwillingness at this point to begin negotiations until next month. We again anticipate that this means that the negotiations themselves will begin subsequent to the tabling of the federal budget. The negotiations are a very high priority of the Department of Finance and the government, and we are certainly more than prepared to negotiate and also to consider our brethren in the NWT in the course of those negotiations.
Mr. Phelps: Is it then a fact that this government anticipates that the large federal cutbacks being anticipated right across the country are going to have a negative impact on the amount of money we can expect to negotiate under a new formula financing agreement for the future?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: It is impossible to say at this point whether the federal Minister will be considering cutbacks to our formula. He has indicated no such thing to us in writing, verbally or otherwise. We have our suspicions and, for that reason, we are taking the negotiations very seriously.
Mr. Phelps: Has the government developed contingency plans that would take effect in the event there are significant cutbacks in the formula financing agreement, perhaps a realigning of priorities or a plan for more efficiency in government?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: A serious negative impact on our revenue would have forced the government to reconsider its priorities. To this date, the government has been keeping in mind the possibility that the Government of Yukon may be hit through a number of channels, through the formula or through arrangements they had with the federal government through other departments. That is in the minds of the governments planning sections, as well as in the minds of the Ministers.
Question re: Government fiscal control
Mrs. Firth: With respect to some policy matters within the Minister of Finances department, we are presently debating a combined Capital and O&M Budget in excess of $329 million. Under the leadership of the former Finance Minister, we saw extra spending and budget overruns in at least six government departments for three years in a row, with no real incentive for managers to manage.
As long as governments fail to provide different incentives and continue to pay the bills, the problem will continue.
What will the Minister of Finances policy be regarding over expenditures within the departments?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Obviously the media was not present when we went through this discussion at great length only a few days ago. It is the policy of the government to discourage over expenditures. In the past, over expenditures, for medical travel or highway maintenance, have been inevitable. We do discourage them. There is a commitment control system within the government to allow the managers of the departments to more precisely anticipate expenditures up to the end of the fiscal year. This should help considerably in anticipating year-end expenditure projections. The policy is to discourage any over expenditures. That message has been communicated throughout the government.
Mrs. Firth: We want to know how this government is getting its costs under control. Discouragement against breaking the law is not adequate.
I asked the Minister about projections for more person years in his budget. He said that it was speculative of me to ask that question. We feel that it is responsible management; we are doing our homework.
What action is the government going to take when it comes to projecting additional person year costs? Are we going to carry on like we did last year and have 120 new person years at the end of the budget year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Those were the expenditure plans of the government at the time the budget was tabled. The Member has been asking whether or not the government or Management Board will be approving more person years during the course of the year. She is asking me, as one Minister, to anticipate the character of discussions to be held in July or August, the decisions to be made in August and September. She is asking one Minister to commit the government to those projections. I am not prepared to do that. That would be irresponsible. I indicated the same answer yesterday.
Mrs. Firth: It is called good financial planning and having contingency plans. From the answers to questions put by the Leader of the Opposition, it is obvious that there are no contingency plans.
Can the Minister tell us whether or not all the costs associated with the upcoming $100 million worth of capital projects have been analyzed, and is he prepared to table that information in the Legislature?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I take issue with the Members contention that the government has no contingency plans. The Member has asked if new person years or new resources are going to be requested by the government from this Legislature. Irrespective of whether there are going to be new projects, whether they be devolution or land claims, I cannot provide any reassurance that new resources will be requested. One of the elements of the budgeting process is to encourage reallocation of resources and priorities within the department in order to meet the new needs. It would still be irresponsible to suggest that, because there are new projects on tap, there will necessarily be new resources required.
Question re: Government fiscal controls
Mrs. Firth: My question is directed to the Minister of Finance regarding financial management and planning.
Everything that this government is looking at doing over the next four years in implementing its social agenda is going to cost more money. We are going to look at operating costs for $100 million worth of capital projects, $8.9 million in day care, 70 new person years in the first year and about $19 million in social housing. Things are obviously out of control. The Minister has admitted that there was a problem and that the problem had to be resolved. Other than talking about the commitment control system, which we have been talking about for the last six years, does the Minister of Finance have one new idea of how he is going to get these cost overruns under control? Does he have one new, fresh idea?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I take serious contention to the Members allegations that the costs are out of control. I indicated no such agreement to her the other day and she is misrepresenting, for whatever purposes she has in mind, my remarks.
The problem associated with year end expenditures that are unanticipated, such as highway maintenance with a bad winter, et cetera, have been long standing problems that this government and previous governments in the Yukon have experienced. As was pointed out in debate on numerous occasions in this Legislature when the Conservative government was in power between 1982 and 1985, there were over expenditures in many of the departments during that period, and even, I am sure, in departments the Member herself was responsible for.
I clearly indicated to her that the unanticipated year-end expenditures were a problem and always have been. I would not agree with the Members contention that the governments expenditures are out of control. That is a gross misinterpretation of what is going on.
Mrs. Firth: In the Legislature on April 3, we were discussing financial planning and financial control. At that time the Minister stood up and said that he did agree with me that there has been and continues to be, given the Estimates that have been before this Legislature in the past, a problem that has to be resolved. The Minister agreed there was a problem.
Now we get the same, tired old rhetoric from the side opposite. I want to know from the Minister of Finance, as a new Minister, if he is going to bring one fresh idea to this portfolio, to the Yukon people, to say that yes, we are going to get our financial books in order and get things under control. That is not happening now.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There is clearly no question. We are clearly in debate.
The books of this government are clearly in order. Secondly, the issues that the Member is talking about unanticipated year-end expenditures that were part of regular programming in this government, such as highway maintenance or medical travel. Those are the expenditures that I was referring to.
There has clearly been a long-standing problem that the government is faced with, but it has nothing to do with out-of-control programming, which the Member is citing as being what she thinks is the problem with this government.
There is no such problem with this government. This government has its expenditures under control and has sound financial managers. Not only that, the O&M increases that this government has been experiencing in the time it has been the government have been less than the O&M increases than the previous Conservative government experienced between the years 1982 and 1985.
The Member for Riverdale South calls it the same old baloney. It is real life baloney, and it was real life Conservative baloney between 1982 and 1985.
Mrs. Firth: It is the same, tired, old rhetoric. There is not one new idea. Even the deputy minister within the Department of Finance agreed that the law was being broken, that the Auditor-General had to bring it forward every time it was happening.
Speaker: Order, please. Would the Member please get to the supplementary?
Mrs. Firth: I am getting to my question. I will be presenting it very quickly. He even commented that the Auditor-General had not been making a major issue out of it. It is time there was a major issue made out of this.
Speaker: Order, please. I would ask the Member to please get to the supplementary question.
Mrs. Firth: I am asking the supplementary question right now. Does the Minister have one new idea of how he, as a new Minister of Finance, is going to get this problem under control, or are we going to continue to carry on with the same mismanagement?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There is no mismanagement. There is good management. What has been happening in the recent year is that the government has introduced a commitment control system, which is meant to deal with precisely this problem of unanticipated expenditures at the year end. These are not new programs nor wanton over spending, but getting existing program expenditures that are unanticipated at the year end under control is a problem of long standing with this Legislature. The government has introduced the commitment control system, and we do expect improvements to the system.
Question re: Government fiscal controls
Mr. Nordling: I do not want the public to be taken in by the tired, old rhetoric of this government. The former Finance Minister has stood up many times in this House and told Yukoners they were getting steak when it was really baloney. I will give you an example.
Last years budget for 1988-89 forecast a surplus of $4.7 million. Now, we find out the deficit is over $18 million. That is quite a difference. What specific assurances can the new Finance Minister give that the $700,000 surplus forecast in his budget will not turn into a $25 million deficit this time next year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: There are some very creative economics involved in the Members question. Every year there is a lapse in capital votes that results in revotes. That is one of the factors at play. The Member did not mention that. That lapse in capital does mean that, if the capital expenditures that are anticipated for one year are not undertaken and moved over into the next year, they are counted as program expenditures for the next year. If the funding lapses into the next year, the projects are undertaken in the next year, and that increases the expenditure plan for the government.
Mr. Nordling: The Public Accounts Committee investigated capital project management of this government and found controls lacking. Has this Minister put in guidelines to correct the problems? If so, what are they?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member is unaware that the Minister of Finance is not particularly responsible for that problem, but is jointly responsible with the other Cabinet Ministers. The Cabinet Ministers responsible for managing the capital program have directed their officials to develop a project management manual that specifically addresses the concerns expressed by the Public Accounts Committee.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to go to a specific example, and that is the Ross River arena. The former Minister of Finance promised the House that he was going to find out what went wrong with the project when it was at $1.2 million. The new Minister of Community and Transportation Services said the scope was expanded and that there is no financial problem.
Has the Minister of Finance taken any steps to investigate this project? Will there be any follow-up?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The scope of this project did expand to include a community hall, a library and a community campus facility. As well, in answer to the Members specific question, there will be a post-project evaluation of this arena done - community hall, library and community campus.
Question re: Government fiscal controls
Mr. Nordling: Are there any other post-project follow-ups that will be done, for example with respect to the train roof in Dawson City, or any other projects the Minister will let us know about?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I can take the question as notice.
Mr. Nordling: Is the Minister of Finance going to do a post-project follow-up on the $15,000 demonstration shed we have right outside this building?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I will not direct the Department of Finance to do any post-project evaluation, but I am sure the Minister of Government Services and the Minister of Tourism would be in a position to answer that question.
Question re: Government fiscal controls
Mr. Lang: Obviously, concerns are being expressed about our financial dependency on the Government of Canada and the budgets we have been dealing with over the last number of years. The growing dependency obviously is there.
One of the major concerns being expressed is the expansion of the size of the civil service: the increase in person years and the amount of office space required. Can the Minister confirm today that the $5.5 million renovation being done to the Yukon College is being done for the Renewable Resources Department only?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can confirm that that is correct.
Mr. Lang: We are dealing with an increase of approximately 120 person years, compared to the last budget. That is not counting casuals and various other positions not identified within the budget. In view of the fact there are 40 or 50 new positions yet to be hired by this government, where will the office space be located for these particular positions?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will take the question as notice.
Mr. Lang: The Minister should not be surprised by questions such as this. On March 21, 1989 it came to the attention of the general public that there were plans for the Department of Health and Human Resources to move out of this building. That had to do with a proposal presented to city council to build a building over by Ray Street. What kind of commitment was made to those developers who were asking city council to proceed with a new office building near Second Avenue?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, I take the question as notice and will provide detailed information to the Member.
Question re: Government fiscal controls
Mr. Lang: Maybe the Minister of Finance can tell us if there have been any new plans put forward for new offices that obviously will be required, in view of the increased number of person years in various departments?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My department is currently in the process of developing a comprehensive, long-range accommodation policy for the government. It is going to take into account the concerns raised by the Member, and it will address the existing leased space currently in use by the government. The plan is anticipated to meet the government space requirements in the long term in a cost-effective manner, and it will also provide for those necessary occupational health and safety standards and working environment conditions that are necessary. At the same time, the plan will outline this governments relationship with the private sector with regard to construction and purchase of accommodation.
Mr. Lang: The answer is quite surprising. Is the Minister aware that, approximately two years ago, a major contract was let and completed on the governments needs? It was tabled in this House. I forget the name of the consultant, but a significant amount of money - $60,000 to $100,000 - was spent on that study. Is the Minister saying that study is of no consequence and that we are going into another study?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: No. The study is in hand and being used to develop the plan I am referring to.
Mr. Lang: Obviously the Minister does not know very much about the space issue. I find it surprising that, in the newspaper, a developer says the government planned on renting a building if it was built. Did the Minister have no knowledge that Health and Human Resources was moving out of this building?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am fully aware of the matter. It is perfectly consistent with our need to develop a long-term plan of accommodation for the government.
Question re: Government fiscal controls
Mr. Lang: In view of the fact this particular proposal has apparently been put on hold and, according to the developer, one of the requirements was that the Yukon government expected the building to be up by July 15, what is the Minister going to be doing now?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take the question as notice again.
Question re: Teacher recruitment
Mr. Devries: My question is for the Minister of Education.
Several people have again brought to my attention their concern about the hiring of teachers. It is their concern that, with a teacher shortage developing across Canada, several jurisdictions are coming up with new incentives, and several of the jurisdictions are almost on par with the Yukon in wage scales to keep quality teachers there. Is the Department of Education experiencing any problems with recruiting staff for the 1989-90 school year?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Department of Education is well aware of the trends across the country which had, a couple of years ago, started with a shortage of French language instructors. The department is also aware that a general shortage of teachers is anticipated in some of the major provinces.
For that reason, the department has been more aggressive this year than it has in the past in trying to recruit teachers for positions where they know there will be vacancies, and especially so in the teacher categories that involve either French language instruction or in high school sciences, and especially if they know the vacant position is going to occur in rural areas. The advertising the department has undertaken has been improved, and superintendents have travelled to various locations to undertake teacher interviews and to try to get commitments from various teachers as early as possible as to whether they may be teaching in Yukon.
Mr. Devries: Another subject often mentioned in these discussions is the discussion paper on the Education Act. Many feel that the more lax disciplinary policies mentioned in it could scare off both present and potential teachers. Does the Minister have any plans to come up with a paper that is a true reflection of the concerns of the public regarding education, before the act is discussed in the fall sitting, to help alleviate some of those problems?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I would take issue with the assumption the Member has made that the discipline proposed in the White Paper on Education would be more lax. I think it does involve the eradication of corporal punishment, but there are other methods of discipline that are effective and, in the majority view amongst teachers, more humane. There is a commitment on the table for further consultation with the public with respect to the details of the legislation, and that commitment will be fulfilled.
Question re: Government equipment rental
Mr. Brewster: Recently in the Minister of Community and Transportation Servicess own riding, Curragh Resources required the use of a steamer to clean out culverts, and the Yukon government supplied the steamer. Can the Minister advise the House what the policy is with regard to the use of government equipment when there is private sector equipment available?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: To my knowledge, the standing policy is that when private sector equipment is available, it is to be used instead of government equipment. I suspect the Member is raising a possible contravention of that policy.
Mr. Brewster: Was the government paid for the use of this steamer?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: If the Member seriously expected an answer, I would have appreciated notice. I cannot answer that at this time, but I will undertake to provide the Member with detailed information.
Mr. Brewster: Were the private sector business people ever consulted or asked to do this job?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That information will be provided in writing to the Member.
Question re: Traffic flow
Mr. Phillips: My question concerns traffic flow problems at the Old Yukon College, as well as at the South Access bridge approach. Many changes have been made in the past several months in the planned use of the Old College. Can the Minister of Community and Transportation Services tell the House if the government has looked into any traffic problems that may be created as a result of these changing plans?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is aware that one of the documents I tabled recently was a traffic flow study.
Mr. Phillips: I understand the Government of the Yukon is planning to make improvements to the South Access Road in this year. Will the government take this opportunity to address the traffic flow problem where the South Access meets Second Avenue?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, the Member is aware of the study that was tabled. It is part of a commitment by the government to address this in the course of any activity that takes place in the Old College site area.
Mr. Phillips: Has the Minister, or any officials of his department, met with the City of Whitehorse officials in the last three or four months to discuss the new changes to the Old Yukon College or the use for the Old Yukon College? My understanding is that there have been no such meetings between civic officials and the government.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot advise the Member precisely as to whether officials have met with the city. The matter has been discussed at the political level with members of City Council, and I will address it again.
Question re: Silviculture report, Watson Lake
Mr. Devries: It was with great anticipation that I received the silviculture report that was done on behalf of Hyland Forest Products. As much as I realize forestry is not yet in the hands of the Minister of Renewable Resources, there is great interest in the fact that there seems to be some urgency regarding the implementation of several of the programs and projects.
Does the Minister plan to bring this to the attention of the federal government, or implement the programs in the near future?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member will know, right now this government is working with the federal government in negotiating a transfer of the forestry resource to this government.
In those negotiations we are discussing now the possibility of introducing some programs, such as the one he has described. I must say, however, that with the recent announcement that there will be some federal cutbacks of federal employees working in the forestry and water resource area, this may present a problem to us. Certainly one of those problems may be the advancement or the introduction of some of the programs that the Member has brought forward.
I should say that we have sent a letter today to the federal Minister responsible, Mr. Cadieux, outlining our objections to the cutbacks in this area, as we feel they are in flagrant violation of the principles of the letter of understanding between the two governments. It certainly states that the programs under consideration for devolution should in no way be compromised.
Mr. Devries: As the Minister must be well aware, there is no point in having the forest turned over to us after there is no forest left. I just want to make it clear to the Minister that there certainly is a sense of urgency to this. Does he understand this?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I do fully agree with the Member that there is not much point in taking over a resource when there is not much left of it. For this reason, as I have just explained, we are disappointed with the recent actions of the federal government which we really believe will hinder a smooth transfer of this resource to our responsibility.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if I may take this opportunity to welcome to the Legislature students from the FH Collins High School. The students are here today to gain a better understanding of how our Legislature works. They are here with their teachers, Mr. Deuling and Ms. Boughner. I would like you to welcome them to the House.
Mr. Phillips: On behalf of the House Leaders, I would like to request unanimous consent to have the private Members business called in the following order: Motion for the Production of Papers, Item No. 1; Motion for the Production of Papers, Item No. 2; Motions Other than Government Motions, Item No. 1, Motion No. 6; Item No. 7, Motion No. 17; Item No. 10, Motion No. 28; Item No. 5, Motion No. 11; Item No. 8, Motion No. 26; Item No. 14, Motion No. 32 and Item No. 2, Motion No. 7.
Speaker: Is there unanimous consent?
All Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: There is unanimous consent.
MOTIONS FOR PRODUCTION OF PAPERS
Motion No. 1
Clerk: Item No. 1, standing in the name of Mr. Nordling.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 1?
Mr. Nordling: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Porter Creek West
THAT the House do issue an order for a return of the complete financial statements and records of Hyland Forest Products.
Mr. Nordling: This motion is brought forward today to further insist on the government sides cooperation in getting to the bottom of what happened at Hyland Forest Products over the last two years under the control of the Yukon Development Corporation.
We are asking for the complete financial records to enable us to ask informed questions of the officials who will be here in the next few days to answer questions about the Development Corporation. We are asking for complete financial statements because we are afraid that the material provided by the government side will not be adequate. I express that concern because the Government Leader, who is the Member responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation, described a one-page memo saying that losses at Hyland in its second year of operation would be approximately $4,500,000, as an interim financial statement. Well, that was far less than what we would describe as an interim financial statement.
We would like to see detailed income and expense statements, which the Development Corporation has and Hyland Forest Products division has and uses to prepare its annual report. We would like to know, in detail, where the income for that Hyland Forest Products division was derived. We would like to know in detail where the money was spent. For example, we would like to know how much money was spent on the purchase of equipment, the repair of equipment, the purchase of logs, wages, contracts and how many employees the mill had during the time of operation.
We do not believe that commercial confidentiality, which the Government Leader often hides behind, is an excuse in this instance. No competitive secrets will be revealed in these documents. No matter what the Government Leader says, the Hyland Forest Products division of the Yukon Development Corporation is gone. It has been sold to a new corporation, although the name remains. Its books should now be closed and available.
Normally, this type of request would not be made, but given the history of this venture and the huge unexpected losses, we feel it is necessary.
Start-up costs of the mill, when it was purchased, were estimated to be $18,700. They turned out to be closer to $2.7 million. After the first year, losses of $1.8 million were declared. The worst-case scenario was that the mill was going to break even. Then we found that the mill had lost a further $4.5 million. Despite the fact that the government claims that it had private sector management and followed the best advice of its consultants, this House should know where every dollar was spent.
The Government Leader is the Minister responsible and speaks for the Yukon Development Corporation. He signs letters on Yukon Development Corporation letterhead and his principal secretary has spoken for the YDC in the absence of the Government Leader. I do not think that there would be any problem obtaining this information and providing it for the House, and I look forward to support for this motion from the government side. Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Thank you for the opportunity to debate this matter, no matter how briefly, once again.
During the recent debate about the operations and sale of Hyland Forest Products, substantial information was already provided to the House. Yesterday, in response to a request from the Leader of the Opposition, I agreed to request from third parties a disclosure of commercial confidences. That request will be going forward. Officers of the corporation, it has already been agreed, will be appearing before the House during Committee of the Whole on consideration of the YDC vote contained in the O&M Estimates. Some of the questions that are of the kind that the Member has just asked, such as how many employees there were, and so forth, those officers will be more than ready to answer. In fact, if the Member were to file written questions, as used to be required by the former government, of that kind, I am sure we will have no problem responding.
The Member knows also that the audited financial statements will be made public on schedule as required by law. The audit being done by the Auditor-General of Canada will happen in the period immediately before us, and once those audited statements are available, as the Member knows, they will be public. In addition, an undertaking has already been made by this House and by the government that officials for the Development Corporation will appear before the Public Accounts Committee, when called,3 to discuss the audited financial statements and any questions arising from them.
Therefore, because I have no more information that I can provide at this time, I would move adjournment of this debate.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that debate be now adjourned. Are you agreed?
Some Members: Agreed.
Some Members: Disagree.
Speaker: I think the yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.
Some Members: Division.
Speaker: Division has been called.
The matter before the House is that debate be now adjourned on the Motion for Production of Papers No. 2.
Mr. Clerk, will you please poll the House.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Agree.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Agree.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Agree.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Agree.
Mr. Joe: Agree.
Ms. Kassi: Agree.
Ms. Hayden: Agree.
Mr. Phelps: Disagree.
Mr. Brewster: Disagree.
Mr. Phillips: Disagree.
Mr. Lang: Disagree.
Mrs. Firth: Disagree.
Mr. Nordling: Disagree.
Mr. Devries: Disagree.
Clerk: Mr. Speaker, the results are eight yea, seven nay.
Speaker: The yeas have it. I declare the motion carried.
Motion to adjourn debate agreed to
MOTIONS OTHER THAN GOVERNMENT MOTIONS
Motion No. 6
Clerk: Item No. 1, standing in the name of Mr. Phelps.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed?
Mr. Phelps: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Leader of the Official Opposition
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Government of Yukon should reconsider the establishment of an elementary school in the Whitehorse South Alaska Highway area to serve students residing in the Wolf Creek, Mary Lake and Robinson subdivisions, and in the Alaska Highway South, Marsh Lake and Carcross Road vicinity;
THAT a census of school and pre-school children living in this area should be conducted to determine the population base for such a school;
THAT this project be given priority over the establishment of an Elementary School in the Granger subdivision;
THAT the South Highway School Planning Committee be involved in the process; and
THAT the residents of the area should be consulted.
Mr. Phelps: It gives me a great deal of pleasure to present this motion to the House for the consideration of all Members on behalf of all those parents who live in the area proposed to be served by the school.
These are people who live at Mary Lake in Whitehorse, Wolf Creek in Whitehorse, at the Carcross Corner, on the Alaska Highway out to and including Marsh Lake and beyond to Jakes Corner, on the Carcross Road, including the new subdivision at Robinson, and parents who live along the Annie Lake Road. The motion speaks to reconsidering this issue. The wording of the motion was deliberate. The matter has been considered in some detail before and was one of the issues considered in the Whitehorse School Facility Needs Study, dated April 1986 and conducted on behalf of this government by Boreal Engineering. It is rather instructive to look at the recommendations and conclusions of that study. The recommendations and conclusions, as well as the recommended five-year development as outlined in the beginning of this report, identifies the need for four new schools over the next five years. The first such school that is recommended is Whitehorse South Elementary. The report states that this school, designed for a core of 300 students, would be scheduled for opening in September, 1988.
The report indicates several reasons for the selection of this school as top priority in the Whitehorse area, one being the issue of busing. Almost all the children who live out that way are faced with hours and hours each week on buses to get to and from schools in the City of Whitehorse. The recommendations were based on other factors, including the population density of that area and the not-to-be-understated issue of the quality of life of the families to be serviced and the well-being and future of the kids.
As parents in the area became more and more concerned about what was happening and about the time spent on buses and what the future might bring, an ad hoc committee was put together by and of the parents. These people met with various officials in Education. They managed to obtain the now-infamous Boreal Engineering report and organized a public meeting. This meeting was held at the Golden Horn Fire Hall on January 5, 1989. At least 70 people attended that meeting. All but four or five were in favour of the establishment of the school in the south Alaska Highway area. The School Planning Committee was formed, comprised of some 22 members. A petition was circulated around the area and, to date, some 305 signatures have been obtained.
In the midst of the election, on February 2, 1989, I sent a letter to the Minister of Education, enclosing the original signatures to the petition that I had in my possession. This petition had been delivered to me, in anticipation of this debate. Since then, I have had more signatures delivered to me at my office. I would like at this time to table the original signatures I have since received.
This brings the total number to in excess of 305 names, a substantial number of names for a petition that speaks to the concerns of parents in one limited area of Yukon.
As I said, the letter was sent February 2 so the Minister would have that information prior to meeting with members of the school committee. The South Highway School Planning Committee did subsequently meet with the Minister in February. Currently, as we all know, if we are paying attention to the newspapers or listening to the radio, that committee is in the process of conducting a survey. It circulated a survey to all households in the area that would be serviced by the proposed school.
Members will notice that the motion states that this project be given priority over the establishment of an elementary school in the Granger Subdivision. It also asks that the South Highway School Planning Committee be involved in the planning process and not merely consulted, as was suggested in a motion by the Government Leader last January, and further, that the residents in the area should be consulted. There is a form of consultation taking place now in the form of the survey that has been circulated.
Back to the issue of priority, it was felt rather strongly that, the way things were shaping up on January 5, it was becoming an either/or situation. There was no doubt a pressing need for a new school to service the extra kids in the Whitehorse area, not just within the city but the area surrounding Whitehorse as well. It was felt that a large school in Granger would undermine the case that was being made and the infrastructure near the city boundary on the south highway. It was definitely felt that giving priority to the Granger Subdivision, in view of the engineering report that this government had paid for and that had made very clear and strong recommendations, was misplaced and that the priority should go to the school for the south highway families.
The parents who make up the South Highway School Planning Committee have been doing a lot of work, and they have summarized, in their words, the reasons for the need, why they feel this should be a priority, and I will simply read from their points:
1) A school will foster a sense of community, both for the children and the adults of the area.
2) It will be a focal point for family and community activities."
As you probably know, there are simply no facilities in the area that address the needs of children, let alone the need for a place for families to go to carry on family activities. Right now the only meeting place in the area is the fire hall at the Carcross Corner. From there you have to go all the way to the Lakeview Marina to find a facility that people use for meetings and such. A commercial establishment really is not adequate to meet the needs of schools and non-profit organizations.
They say, too, that the south highway students need a school of their own. They are shifted between schools as the demand by students who live close to the existing school fluctuates. Neighbourhood children often end up in different schools.
We do have this game of ping pong being played by the powers that be in Education with siblings in the same family, with kids growing up making friendships. There is a severe social consequence to the rather uprooting effect of kids not being able to go to school with friends and being bandied about in the way that they are. This is not to attach any kind of evil intent to school officials, it is just that the practicality of the present situation is such that these unhappy situations are occurring and are not likely to change with the establishment of a school at Granger.
The third point being made by the school committee is:
3) A school will provide area residents with a meeting place. Currently the only facility in the area is the Golden Horn Fire Hall. A school can be a meeting place for groups such as Boy Scout and Girl Guide groups as well as adult groups.
I have already spoken to some extent about that. The next point is:
4) The education system in Whitehorse is overloaded. New schools are needed. The logical place to build the next school is at the south end of Whitehorse. A significant number of children live in this area: the Mary Lake/Carcross Cut-off location. What we are proposing is a central location.
That is something that was certainly firmly concluded in the recommendations of the Boreal Engineering Consultant Report.
5) The Government of Yukon is planning to develop additional rural residential lots south of Whitehorse. We estimate that a minimum of 73 families with a potential for 30 school-age children will be moving into the area in the next two years. This includes the families who have bought lots in Robinson Subdivision but have not yet built.
That is pretty well fact.
This argument is based on what is occurring in fact in the area. Of course, when the government does encourage families to move out to subdivisions, as they have done in the past - Mary Lake, Wolf Creek and Golden Horn and made lots available for families and residential groups in the Robinson Subdivision, and more and more lots available -, they must, and ought to do so, with the full knowledge that these families will be taxpaying families who are entitled to services. There are few services more important than those that ensure the proper care and education of the future leaders of the territory.
6) Children in the area are spending one and one-half to over three hours on the bus daily. A school in the area will decrease busing by a minimum of 40 minutes for most of the children attending.
Again, I have spoken to teachers who have candidly told me that many of these kids come to school and fall asleep in class, and they have candidly told me they feel sorry for these kids because not only are they tired all the time, but it certainly does have - no question about it - an adverse impact on their ability to maximize their potential in the education system.
7) Many of the children in the area are unable to participate in after-school activities because of the long drive into Whitehorse. Again we have a situation where the social development of the kids is somewhat retarded and they do not enjoy the normal after-school activities that families in Whitehorse take for granted, indeed families in most communities throughout Canada take for granted.
8) A school in our area will enable and encourage us as parents to participate more actively in the education of the children. Some parents now attend more than one school committee meeting because they have children in different schools. Traveling time to school committee meetings will be shortened.
This really speaks to another problem, another issue, and that is that the lifestyle of families who live out that way - the rural lifestyle - is vastly different from the lifestyle that is enjoyed by people in the city. The kids out there and the families have some special needs. Families commute to work. We have needs for day care facilities out that way, day care facilities that will mesh with the needs of the parents who are so often on the road going back and forth to work, and so there is a quality of life issue and an issue of a school that is largely programed - the programs are designed by people who share a common lifestyle, a lifestyle that I have said simply does not jibe with that enjoyed by parents who live in the city itself, so that the school and the programs in the city schools certainly do not take into account very much the rural kids.
I have already said that a large number of the parents are extremely committed to seeing this school go ahead. They have taken a lot of time to lobby the politicians, lobby bureaucrats, meet with people and investigate to try to get to the bottom of the facts with regard to planning future school needs in Whitehorse and the area. Now, they are involved doing the survey that I spoke about a bit earlier.
We all know they were a bit upset about the off-hand remarks made by the Minister of Education in this House on March 15, which implied that the school would be canceled if money was negotiated over and above block funding for the sewage treatment plant for Whitehorse. We are all aware of the remarks made on March 15 on page 69 of Hansard. We had, as a result of those remarks and in a subsequent story in the newspapers, letters to the editor from parents - such as the one I have here that was published in the Whitehorse Star on Thursday, March 23 - taking exception to the remarks. There was another letter by another parent that was published on March 29 in the Yukon News.
I must say, though, that I did ask the Minister a question in the House the other day and he certainly attempted to clarify his position on the matter. He has indicated, in response to questions in the last couple of days in the House, that there may be room for changes in the capital plans. There may be the possibility of down scaling Granger and also proceeding with the south highway school. Just for an example of the Ministers present position, prior to him standing up and further clarifying his position on the matter, he states, I indicated there would be plenty of time, given that the design of the school has to be done this year and is budgeted for this year. There is funding in the budget for this year for that purpose. I indicated there would be plenty of time to determine what the scale of the Granger school would be, with the possibility that there may be something happening in the south highway area. It is just premature to answer any questions the Member is asking. That was in response to a question from Mrs. Firth regarding the south highway school on April 4 on page 177 of Hansard.
This is an important motion. It deals with concerns about the quality of life for a large and growing number of families who live a lifestyle somewhat different from the lifestyle in town, in the areas I described at the south end of the city and on the roads to Carcross, Annie Lake and the south Alaska Highway - lifestyles of families who are encouraged to live in these areas. They are encouraged by governments who planned subdivisions and sold lots in the area.
It is even more important to the quality of life and well being of the kids who now live in the area and the kids who will be growing up in the area in the future. It is for the well being of kids who presently spend one and one-half to three hours a day on buses. It is for the future of kids who now are jumped around from school to school, kids who fall asleep in class, kids who are not receiving the best education possible by a long shot, kids who live in remote areas who are really not developing social skills as they are supposed to. They do not have a chance to develop friendships and go to school with friends as they grow up because they can never be sure what school they will be attending in the next year. There are kids who, largely because of the lack of proper facilities in the area, are unable to enjoy normal after-school activities and planned activities, all things that most Canadians, and certainly people in Whitehorse, take for granted.
I, for one, feel that families deserve better. I feel that kids deserve better, and I hope that all Members in this House will support the motion. Thank you.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I am pleased to speak to the motion this afternoon as well. Although there may be some slight disagreement between the Member for Hootalinqua and me with respect to some of the background facts, I believe that there is substantial agreement concerning the intent of the motion.
The Government of Yukon and the Department of Education have been anticipating the need for new classroom space in the Whitehorse area for some time, as all Members know. As populations grew and as property development took place, largely at the initiative of government, as the Member for Hootalinqua pointed out, especially with respect to land development, the department recognized that the student population would outstrip available space. The department, for that reason, commissioned three technical reports, the two Boreal Engineering reports that the Member cited - one for urban and one rural schools - and the criterion report, to provide for some useful background information to support what ultimately would be one of the major capital commitments that this government could ever undertake, that is, the construction of a school. At the same time, the department reviewed, with the Yukon government and the City of Whitehorse land planners, what the populations projections would mean for the capital program. Many issues such as future land development, whether the neighborhoods were young or old, what type of municipal services might be required to support a school, what services were available currently, what the operating costs of a particular school would be, the bus routing and the busing costs, and also school programming were reviewed. There are many aspirations within the City of Whitehorse and its environs, within commuting distance of Whitehorse, with respect to school programming. There is a greater desire, as the years go on, to encourage more specialty programs and also to have access to such things as French immersion and Catholic education.
These were discussed jointly with the planners and with the Education Council. The Education Council, for Members who do not know, is an organization that is the representative group of school committees in the territory.
The council took a direct interest and discussed the capital requirements within its own circles. Along with the Department of Education, it produced a report entitled A Report on Yukon School Facilities Requirements, which was released on June 10, 1988, and was subsequently reported in the media on June 20, 1988. The report stated there was a need for small primary schools in developing areas outside of established communities that should be under active and continuous review. It also recommended the construction of a school at Granger. This report was released to the public. Subsequently, it recommended that future planning requirements with the city be undertaken and cited a number of construction projects as examples that were of high priority. The detailed planning for the Granger school began on the heels of the report. As Members will know, funding was budgeted in November 1987 for a school in Whitehorse, and it is budgeted this year for the detailed drawings.
Late last year, interested people in the south highway area indicated a desire to have an elementary school built in the vicinity of Mary Lake in order to, amongst other things, reduce the time that their children spent travelling on the buses to and from school. The first public meeting took place in early January, at which time the government expressed its willingness to assist the residents jointly to determine the details and extent of desire for a school facility. Without going into detail, the survey was jointly developed between the Department of Education, the Statistics Bureau and area residents. The survey went out and is now being collected for collation and review. I understand the working relationship between the various parties is good, with a professional desire to see the job get done.
During the period the review was being undertaken, the Government Leader has said that, if the number of students in the area warrant, we will build a school in the area. It is feasible to have schools both in the new Granger Subdivision and at the south end of town. We will not pit one area against another. We will work with both of them to meet their needs.
The government is committed to continuing to work with area residents to help satisfy their needs. We are also committed to maintaining responsible budget levels.
We have been living with the intent of this motion. While we do not need a reminder, we are happy to support the motion with some minor changes. The changes will bring us closer to the wording of a similar motion on the same subject matter introduced by the Government Leader in January. I will explain what the amendment to the motion is intended to do.
Firstly, I disagree with the Member for Hootalinqua. There is nothing to reconsider. The government will work with area residents to determine their needs and if their needs can be met. It has given the project consideration and will continue to do so. The example the Member for Hootalinqua cited, of a previous attempt to consider a school in the south highway area, was a very different matter.
I was personally involved then, as I am in many respects now, with the issue and am very familiar with the desires of community residents. In November of 1987, the residents of Judas Creek requested a Grade K to 3 primary school with a student population projected to be in the neighbourhood of seven and 20 students. An analysis was done at that time, albeit by department officials, that did not only count the number of students but also tried to anticipate what the impact of the school would have on busing costs, and all sorts of things cited as relevant factors.
It was determined at that time that to proceed with a school for that number of students, to proceed with a school that would increase busing costs, would not be appropriate within our capital plan. The project was subsequently deferred, for the time being.
The Department of Education Council Report has subsequently cited the possibility that the population in this area will be monitored to determine when and if there would be justification for a new school to be constructed. That monitoring is continuing today at a rather more sophisticated level.
The motion itself calls for reconsideration of something that, in my experience, is a first consideration, the consideration of a major school in the south highway area that is substantially larger than would be required solely for the Judas Creek Subdivision. The government is certainly prepared to live by its commitments to continue that initiative.
The second element of the motion I would take issue with at this time is the statement that the school must now, even though we are operating in planning stages, be given priority over the establishment of another school that is currently being planned. As I indicated in Question Period over the past few days, it would be premature to rearrange the capital priorities without reviewing the results of the survey.
I have been criticized in the media for anticipating the results of the survey. What I said was misinterpreted. I said this, too, involves the interpretation of what the survey results might be and I do not think there is any misinterpretation there.
A great deal of planning went into the Granger School and I think at this point I would be more than prepared to justify in this Legislature the construction of a school in Granger. However, I have indicated to all concerned that the government is prepared to consider any information that it might glean from the survey to reconsider its capital planning priorities. I have indicated in this Legislature that there is time to do something, and for that reason I will not be drawn into a battle between the neighbourhoods as to what the relative priorities are.
Certainly, the battle, if the Members wish, could become much larger if we were to bring in the subject matter of capital requirements for school facilities in the entire Whitehorse area. I think it would be a mugs game, to say the least, to pit communities and neighbourhoods against each other, and for that reason I will not share the game.
The Members on the other side clap. I am sure that they will now be voting for the amendment. I think it is most important not to pit the communities and neighbourhoods against each other, and at this time it would be wise and prudent to propose a motion that would give effect to that desire, and I will read the motion out now.
I move THAT Motion No. 6 be amended by deleting the word, reconsider and substituting for it the word consider, and
THAT Motion No. 6 be further amended by deleting the paragraph that reads that this project be given priority over the establishment of an elementary school in the Granger Subdivision.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Minister of Education THAT
Motion No. 6 be amended by deleting word reconsider and substituting for it the word consider, and
THAT Motion No. 6 be further amended deleting the paragraph that reads this project be given priority over the establishment of an elementary school in the Granger Subdivision.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I think I have explained the amendment clearly enough. I think, at this point, I would like to point out that I certainly do personally agree with many of the sentiments that have been expressed by the Member for Hootilinqua with respect to travel times on buses, sleepy students, quality of education, the need to have neighbourhood schools - all of which are worthwhile objectives. I would be careless if I were drawn into an analysis of the Members research with respect to supporting one school over another in a particular area because I think that the danger would be that people might mistake my efforts to clarify the record as representing, perhaps, a particular bias. I think that that would not be productive at all, and would make a lie of the initiative that the government has undertaken already to try to deal with the capital requirements in a straightforward, impartial manner.
The government has gone to considerable trouble over the last four years to determine the facility needs for this community and its environs. There have been a number of reports that have been commissioned to study the requirements. The government has undertaken to meet what are clearly crowded classrooms in the city, and that was the original reason for the construction plan.
Given our clear track record on this subject, we would like to ensure that the school is located in the optimal location for the residents of this district. We are prepared to consider any information that would lead us to the wisest decision.
It is important to comment on one matter that the Member mentioned with respect to comments I made in the Legislature on capital budgeting and introducing into the governments capital plan significant new initiatives, whether they be sewage treatment plants, extended care facilities or other things. It is absolutely patently obvious that if the capital plan is crammed with new projects, then the priorities will have to be established and many worthwhile projects will have to be delayed or put off indefinitely. That is a patently obvious statement to make, one that all the legislators in this room are cognizant of. I absolutely stand by the remarks that have been made.
Clearly the area of school construction is a priority and we have identified it as such. It was a priority a few years ago and is a priority today. There should be no mistake with respect to the comments made about cramming the capital plan with projects that ultimately will not fit. Where school construction is clearly a priority, we have to bear in mind that when we pass motions that introduce new elements other than school construction, we will be squeezing our capital budget. If any Member doubts or misinterprets those remarks, I will be happy to explain them at greater length. I believe the observation is patently obvious and has to be respected.
I will close by saying that the government is committed to providing available classroom space in the best locations. We have undertaken the survey at some cost to the government, but we consider it to be a worthwhile cost, to determine the needs of the south highway residents. We will be considering the results of the survey along with the residents, and we will be making decisions with respect to capital planning based on the survey results. That is the only responsible approach to take. While I may agree with many of the assumptions that the Member for Hootalinqua has drawn with respect to life in what is otherwise a rural environment, the government cannot agree with a proposal to pit communities against each other in this fashion. It is for this reason that the amendment is being moved.
Mr. Phelps: I have a few words to say about the proposed amendment. Let me preface my remarks by saying that we will be supporting the amendment. What I really cannot let go is some of the comments made by the Minister in proposing the amendment itself.
The Minister wants to delete the word reconsider and substitute for it the word consider, because he said that they had considered the needs of the area and he said that because there was a meeting held at Judas Creek in 1987 where there was talk of the need for a school to service the families out there. The problem with everything that the Minister has said in this regard is that we once again have a situation where the City of Whitehorse seems to call the shots, not only for people within its boundaries but also for those who live outside those boundaries.
In Question Period yesterday, we raised this issue regarding the desire of the municipality of Whitehorse to see property taxes raised in areas of Hootalinqua just beyond the city boundaries. The people who made those comments are not elected by the people who live in that area. The people who live in that area were not consulted about the comments nor the push made by the City of Whitehorse to wreak havoc with their tax situation.
The Minister spoke of how the Department of Education met with all the planners for the City of Whitehorse to consider the future growth of the city. That is the problem. There is a large number of families, their numbers are growing almost daily, who live outside the boundaries of Whitehorse. What was done to meet with these people? What was done to consult with them? What was done in planning and deciding upon Granger as the spot for the school to take fully into account the needs in future and plans in future for subdivisions, more lots, more homes, more families in the unorganized area just beyond city boundaries? Unfortunately, very little was done, so we have the situation where once again this significant number of people were ignored. Their present and future needs were not really taken into account and certainly not given the same kind of weight in decision-making that was given residents inside the city.
It is not our intention, certainly not my intention, to pit one neighborhood against another neighborhood as the Minister says. Nothing could be further from the truth. But I think that the feelings of the parents, particularly those outside the city boundaries, had to be put forward in no uncertain terms. I am going to take the Minister at his word that he believes that there is a good possibility that two schools can go ahead. It does not have to be one at the expense of the other.
In saying this, he has reiterated comments made by the Government Leader during the recent election. On numerous occasions, I have said that I agree with those comments: there is no reason why there cannot be two schools.
With those observations, I will be supporting this amendment.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am pleased to join the debate on the amendment. In response to both of the speeches by the Leader of the Official Opposition, I intended to speak on this motion not only because I have a direct constituency interest in the matter and presented a similar motion myself some time ago but, also, until the Leader of the Official Opposition had clarified his position a few minutes ago, I had great reservations about the text of his motion, particularly the unintentional proposition that would have had the effect of playing divide and conquer with two neighbourhoods in my own constituency. As the proposition was worded by the Leader of the Official Opposition, it would have been very pleasing to the people at the south end of my riding, but deeply offensive to those in the north end.
I would like to explain a little bit about why that impression was bound to be created by the text of the Members motion and why I think the amendment before us is an improvement. Before I do that, I want to say something about the Members statements about the City of Whitehorse.
Yesterday and today, he has made arguments for variable tax rates within the City of Whitehorse; arguments I made 11 and 12 years ago as a member of the City Council of Whitehorse. As the only non-Riverdale member of the City of Whitehorse, my arguments fell on deaf ears. At that time, before the taxation law of the territory was amended, there was a substantial and unfair burden falling on large land owners versus the owners of improvements. That situation has been somewhat rectified but, in the view of many of the residents of neighbourhoods like Wolf Creek, Mary Lake, McCrae and south in my constituency, given the level of services they receive from the City of Whitehorse and the disparity in their tax burden and the tax burden experienced by people immediately outside the city limits of Whitehorse, there is a very persuasive argument for a variable tax rate. As a constituency MLA, that is a position I share, and have shared for all my time in public life in this territory.
I would also like to make the important distinction that the problem in the City of Whitehorse is the way the council is structured in this town. Areas like Wolf Creek and Mary Lake, neighbourhoods that have trailer courts, are not usually represented on city council.
That may well be a persuasive argument for a ward system and may be something that, increasingly, neighborhoods in this city will look to as a solution to their problem of an inadequate voice in the local government of this great city.
But those people are represented in this Legislature. We are here as representatives, not only of the people in our constituencies but also as representatives of the territory as a whole, and are bound to make decisions in the public interest of the people as a whole.
I believe this government has done that. I believe that this government, in trying to make decisions about the location of schools, has consulted extensively - not, as the Leader of the Opposition would have it, with some unrepresentative elites in this city, but extensively, with all the affected interests. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition knows that the demands for school facilities within this city are not limited to the proposal for a school in Granger, nor will they be satisfied by a school in Granger. It is the fact now, if the Leader of the Opposition wanted to get into neighborhood politics, that some neighborhoods - Porter Creek and Riverdale - are relatively well served in terms of schools in those neighborhoods, while other areas, like most of my constituency, are very poorly served. In fact, I would make the argument that all of my constituency is poorly served, because even though it is the largest constituency in the territory, numerically, it has only one school: an old and overcrowded school. I want to say more about that in a minute.
The particular amendment that I am speaking to is necessary, because there are some problems in the main motion, particularly the proposition that, at this point in time, priority should be given to a south highway elementary school over a Granger subdivision school. I want to say a word or two more about that, because the motion, as it is originally presented, had five sections, each of which presents some problems in terms of logic and consistency.
First of all, the motion talks about reconsidering a decision that has been considered advisably, I think, even by the Opposition Leaders own admission. Secondly, it suggests that a consensus should be conducted. Thirdly, it suggests that, in advance of that consensus, priority should be given to a south highway school over Granger and, finally, it says that the South Highway School Planning Committee should be involved and residents be consulted. I suggest that sections two, three, and four of the original motion could be argued to contradict each other. How can we move to have a consensus done to determine the population under point two, and involve the planning committee under point four, and still give priority over Granger prior to two and four being done? The wording alone made the amendment necessary.
I do not want to quibble, but I do want to talk about the sensitivity of this issue and, since the Opposition Leader is snickering, I want to talk to him about the facts and talk to him about what grave offence he gave to people in my neighborhood, the most heavily populated part of the constituency, by suggesting that, by some kind of political process, a desperately needed school in the north end of the constituency should be disposed of in favour of perhaps a school that may be as well needed in another part of the constituency.
Let me review some facts. In the last six years, there has been a large increase in student populations. The elementary school population in this city has gone from 1,792 students in 1982 to 2,175 students this year. The increase in the population has been mainly in the broadly defined Takhini area, Porter Creek and the south highway. The population in the Takhini school district is forecast to increase more as a result of new Granger lots, the new McIntyre subdivision, expansion in both the Northland and Takhini Trailer Courts, which have added dozens of new units in the last period, and proposed townhouse developments near what we now call the Takhini Recreation Centre. It is ultimately contemplated that something like 675 lots may be made available in the Granger-McIntyre area.
It is also a fact that the Takhini School is presently overcrowded. In 1988, the enrollment was 360 students. The projected 1989 enrollment was 371. The recommended capacity of that school is 250 students. The allowable capacity of that school is only 300. Ninety eight of the students in that school, Kindergarten to Grade six, are from McIntyre and Hillcrest. One hundred and ten are from the south end of the school district. Seventy six of the students from the south highway area go to Takhini, and 34 students from the south highway area are at Whitehorse Elementary School, all in elementary grades. Of the 110 at the Takhini School, 35 are from McCrae or Lobird, which is considered by parents in that area as too far north to attend school at a school that may be located at the cut-off, or south of them. One hundred and forty other students from Kindergarten to Grade nine are in the Catholic school or the French course.
There are factors that must be considered when determining school locations, including the obvious ones such as increase in school populations, the concepts of neighbourhood schools, busing factors, the advisability of having schools within walking distance of as many students as possible, the availability of suitable service sites, ease of access, playground space, et cetera. When we are building within the city, the priorities of the city itself and consideration to city planning priorities and the needs of other user groups, such as the ones described by the Leader of the Official Opposition must be considered. I take this point as a very important point, that the neighbourhood we are talking about - loosely described as the neighbourhood at the south end of my riding and the area immediately to the south of my riding in the constituency of Hootalinqua - is indeed already more heavily populated than many rural communities in the Yukon.
As the Member mentioned, other than the fire hall or the Marsh Lake Marena, the area does not have a community centre. If a school were to be built in that area, it would become a community centre. It would be a facility for the use of not just children, but of the entire population in the area. It would be a real centre for that population.
I respect the efforts made by the parents involved. I appreciate the efforts being made by the South Highway School Planning Committee and the Department of Education. I also appreciate the work involving the Bureau of Statistics in the Executive Council Office. The work being done on the development of the survey, including the draft which was submitted March 20, is also appreciated. The analysis is due to be completed in mid-May. It was scheduled for the end of April, but they decided to hire interviewers, which resulted in a small delay. The South Highway School Planning Committee has been involved in the survey design and the listing of residents. The committee will have help in the survey administration.
Consultation is ongoing with this committee and with area residents. I want to emphasize that the detailed design of the Granger school will not occur until the survey results have been completed and analyzed. If there are to be adjustments in the scale or design of the Granger school as a result of the survey and the consequent decisions, then that must occur. We have given a commitment that the detailed design will not be received until we have taken account of the survey results.
The Minister of Education was kind enough to quote my observation. If it is feasible, there will be schools at both Granger and the south highway area. I think it would be a great mistake to pit one area against the other. We are going to have to make some tough decisions following the analysis of the survey results. I do not feel, nor do the parents who now live in Hillcrest, Valleyview, Takhini, Northland Trailer Court or Lobird, that it would be a good idea to have students bused south to a school closer to the edge of the town. That is something the parents would strongly object to. I understand the anxiety of parents whose children must spend too much of the day on school buses. The commitment of this government to improve and increase the availability of bus services is a matter of public record. It is something we are proud of.
In Question Period today, we had long and sustained propositions suggesting that this government should be spending less. A number of resolutions this afternoon propose we spend more. That indicates that government always has to make tough choices about its spending. There are many needs in this community and in this territory that are unmet.
It is the job of the government and also of the Legislature to pass judgment on those questions. I am sure todays debate will help clarify the issue for all of us, but nobody can suggest that these decisions will be easy in the current financial environment. We have many many competing claims for public monies, many, many competing claims from different parts of the community, many many competing claims from different interests, many, many competing claims from different school populations and parents of different school areas.
As long as that is recognized, and as long as it is recognized that there are no easy choices here, then I think we can proceed with broad agreement on both sides of the House. So, I support a school in the Granger Subdivision and, depending on the results of the survey being undertaken, I will support a school in the south highway area.
There is nothing to reconsider in the original motion. There are ongoing cooperative efforts between the planning committee, the Department of Education and the Bureau of Statistics. The survey is being done to determine the population and the needs. Area residents have been involved and will be continually involved throughout the process of planning the survey, completing the survey, discussing the results of the survey and the decision that governments have to ultimately make about its spending priorities; therefore, I support the amended motion.
Mrs. Firth: I rise to speak to the amendment. I, as will the Leader of the Official Opposition, will be supporting the amendment; however, I think there are a few points that have to be debated and discussed and a few reminders have to be raised in the House this afternoon.
I listened to the Minister of Education speak this afternoon, and he is always saying, I have to take issue with the comments that Members on the opposite side made. Well, I think it would only be fair that we stand and say we take issue with the Minister of Educations attitude and approach that he has taken with this particular issue.
From the report or study that this government had done regarding new schools, I read and interpreted that the recommendation was that the school on the south highway be built first, and then the Granger school be built. If I interpret it like that, I would presume that there would be other people who understood that same comment.
When the Minister talks about the battle of the neighbourhoods and pitting one constituency against the other, this government made that decision when they chose to interpret the report the way they wanted to interpret it and to give the school at Granger priority over the school on the south highway. They made that decision. We did not make it. Not only did they make that decision, they did not consult with any of the people who had expectations, from the report that this government did and so proudly published, that they had expectations that they were going to get a new school for their children. The next thing they heard was that there was going to be a school built at Granger subdivision.
At no time have we ever said that there should not be a school at Granger. We have never said that. We have never pitted Granger against the residents of the south highway. The points I take issue with here have to do with the attitude of the Minister of Education.
I can remember, time and time again, the threats that came from the Minister of Education. We stood in this House and debated a budget dealing with a Local Employment Opportunity Program. When we raised questions about that budget, that Minister stood up and told us that he was personally going to run out to the communities and tell them that we disagreed with these projects because we were asking questions about the expenditure of funds in the House.
When you have a Minister standing up and saying he is personally going to run out to the communities and tell them that we are against something because we ask questions in the House about it, is that not pitting one community against another in the battle of the neighbourhoods?
I agree with my colleague. The Minister stood up in this House again when we debated Hyland Forest Products and told us he was going to make sure that everybody in Watson Lake knew how we felt about Watson Lake. He stands up again this session and tells the residents of Whitehorse that they can pay their own sewer costs, tells everybody that if we ask for a sewage lagoon, that we are not going to get the school on the south highway. Then he has the gall to stand up in the House and tell us that we are pitting neighbour against neighbour and that we are in the battle of the neighbourhoods.
It was not just me who interpreted the Ministers comments that way. It was not just the Leader of the Official Opposition. It was the public and the media. He was very specific, as is his childish way in the House when he gets up and threatens us if we do not agree with everything he says. He has anointed himself as the bringer of news to all the communities about all the MLAs in Whitehorse and in the Opposition who raise questions about financial projects within his areas of responsibility. I am getting tired of that. It has worn out its interest. Everyone is tired of that kind of attitude and that kind of approach.
The Minister is going to be severely chastised in public for this attitude. I do not want to hear any more talk about the battle of the neighbourhoods and pitting one community against the other. We have asked for the people on the south highway to be given some kind of reassurance and commitment from this government, that they will reconsider their first decision, which was made in haste, to ignore the recommendations of the report saying they should have a school, and to give them some commitment that the efforts they have been undertaking to have meetings, get petitions signed, to talk to people in the neighbourhood, to bring survey information back to this government, to fill out a survey, to work with this government, will bear fruit, and it is not just to give these people something to do.
That is all we are asking for and so far, the government has refused to do that. They have refused to give any kind of commitment. The Government Leader stands up and says that the Granger school is going to go ahead. We still have outstanding questions, as I said yesterday. The lots have not been sold. There are population figures that have to be taken into account there. They are not selling. We still do not know if Takhini School is going to close down and the Minister does not know when he is going to have an answer to that. We still do not know if the school is going to require a junior high or not, whether Granger is going to be expanded to accommodate junior high students, yet the Granger school is going ahead.
Why can not the Minister give the commitment to the people out the south highway that something will go ahead and the things that they are doing and have been asked to do are for some useful purpose. It is not complicated. We are asking a simple question of this government. At no time are we saying that one should not go ahead in favor of another, as this government did when it made its original decision. It is only fair that this government give the people out on the south highway some answers.
I will be supporting the amendment reluctantly and I will be looking forward to debating further the amended motion.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am drawn into the debate largely because of some of the comments put forward by the last speaker. I find it rather ironic that the Member for Riverdale South would stand up and suggest that the Conservative position does not pit one community against another and, at the same time, have a statement within the motion that calls for a preference or a priority of one school over another. It is just blatantly illogical and totally impossible to understand.
But that is not the issue of the entire motion because I, too, agree with many of the sentiments expressed by the Members opposite, by the Minister of Education and by the Government Leader. There is a recognition of a very real service to be provided. That service is being fully explored from a planning point of view, from a consultation point of view and from the point of view of an assessment of available resources. That is not a small matter.
The Members take issue with the suggestion that capital planning is not important in this case. I remember over the last several years that this government has recognized the needs of many communities, not just Whitehorse and the peripheral areas of Whitehorse, but other communities. We recognized needs in Carcross, where considerable school expansion took place. We recognized needs in Dawson, where a school that had been in place for over 30 years and was virtually condemned had to be replaced, and the expansion of school facilities in Watson Lake. This government assessed those needs, consulted with the people, listened to what people wanted in those communities and put forward the capital planning necessary to bring those facilities onstream. I have a similar situation in my community. I have a situation where the previous government in 1982 completely botched a facility costing $2.4 million that today, as the community expands and grows and is faced with shortages of space and improvements to facilities, this government has to address as well. I say that with respect to the needs recognized in the peripheral area of Whitehorse and in Whitehorse.
I support the Members saying that state that student education is a primary concern. I am sure some Members might remember that I spent many years in a classroom before I entered politics. I know precisely what facilities and needs students, teachers, and parents expect.
The Members who are taking issue with this government assessing the priority to Granger have been misinterpreting statements. It was the Education Council that lobbied and supported the need for the placement of a school at Granger. That is the fact of the matter at the time the decision was taken. You have heard Members explain very succinctly the process that is taking place with respect to the planning, studies, analyses and the funding assessments for the south highway school. That is happening. There is no need to reconsider anything that is not being fully considered right now. I say that emphatically from a close association of some of the planning that has gone on for educational services in this territory, and that still has to go on in other communities at the same time.
In short, I too will be supporting the amendment because it is a much more responsible approach to what is facing us today. It is a recognition that this government consults and that this government will assess closely the needs of education in all communities. It recognizes public input, it seeks that consultation, and final decisions are going to be based on the public wishes and government resources that go hand in hand. That is the responsibility charged with government and it will be delivered.
While I am on my feet, I must remind Members that other communities as well will be putting forward their educational needs just as these are coming forward now. Certainly my community is going to be one of them. Boreal Engineering is currently doing an assessment of needs in my community. We do have educational requirements that have to be improved upon. We have a community supported by this government that is back on its economic footing and that is growing rapidly.
That has to be considered, as well, in the context of all the decisions that have to be made. I will be supporting the amendment and I may be provoked into speaking again.
Mr. Lang: I would like to correct the record concerning the so-called facts being put forward here for discussion by the government. I want to refer to the Whitehorse school facility needs study of April, 1986, where it very clearly recommends that a school be built in the Whitehorse South area and be scheduled for opening in September of 1988. I do not understand the statement that this side of the House is pitting one neighborhood against another neighborhood when all the facts point out that the exercise we are going through is probably a year late already.
The reality of the situation is that if a decision has to be made in favour of either school, obviously the South Highway one is the one that should be built first. I should point out to the side opposite that there has not been much debate in this House about the very real problems that are faced with the Granger Subdivision, and the fact that the man on the street is finding it very difficult to be paying $25,000 to $30,000 for a lot before they start to put the foundations in for a house.
There has been a very real land demand for homebuilding in this community, yet, at the same time, we have had those lots available for sale for almost five months and have sold a total of five lots.
I want to say for the record that the government paid for the study that said that there should be a school in the south end. They accepted the study and now, all of a sudden, the Minister of Government Services is talking about further studies by Boreal Engineering. I should point out that this study was done by the same firm.
Amendment agreed to
Mr. Devries: We have spent a lot of time talking about the nitty-gritty of the issue. I am going to spend a little time speaking about the principle of the issue.
I support this motion and note a sense of urgency surrounding the request. We only have to picture a hyper six-to-seven year old cooped up on the bus for one and one-half hours and then be expected to go into an over-crowded classroom and attempt to learn something while his adrenalin is working overtime to do something physical. That alone should be enough. From the preliminary figures, it is not only that one youngster who has this problem but that there are a dozen more like him driving the bus driver bonkers on the way to school.
There are also the ones whom my leader mentioned who are falling asleep and wondering where they are when they get to school and get awakened by the driver.
There are many other issues here that are of concern. There is not only the educational benefit, but the fact that friends who play together in areas of the south highway are pulled apart when they get to school, because they have to attend different schools.
The proposition to expand a school into this area not only benefits the people living in the area, but it benefits everyone. That area of the Yukon has a tremendous appeal, both environmentally and in the accessibility of the City of Whitehorse services. Having a school in the Mary Lake area will give both adults and children accessible recreational facilities and help reduce the amount of fuel consumption driving to Whitehorse for extracurricular activities, which is a real concern right now with the problems off the coast of Alaska.
Many parents like to volunteer for various activities, whether it be sports or tutoring. Being closer, the school will have the opportunity to draw on the valuable resources and talents of these people.
I support this motion, and I congratulate the people of this area on their efforts to make the House aware of this important issue, an issue regarding their children and the children who may someday be standing up here making decisions on the Yukons future.
Ms. Hayden: I speak for the amended motion. I am pleased the motion was introduced and amended today, even though I know the debate surrounding the issue is a sensitive one.
Who of us here wants to make this a win/lose situation, when the comfort and the intellectual development of so many children is at the heart of the issue? The whole concept of schools being at the centre of community life, not just for education but, also, for recreation, community meetings and other gatherings, has been the ideal.
Sadly, in the Yukon we know that schools, specifically residential schools, have been the root of much pain and anguish. Instead of being an instrument of family strength, residential schools caused the tearing apart of many families. Today, what we want is the ideal. We want schools to be a positive part of the lives of the children and families they serve.
Many people who spoke to the child care panel during last years consultation said they wanted to see schools used more than from 8:30 to 4:00, and they wanted child care facilities included and after-school care as part of the programs. They want to see schools return to their intended stature as centre points in community life.
Bit by bit, however, the urban reality of overcrowding has hit our schools. This government is working on a new education act that will go a long way toward solving problems associated with curriculum development with specifics such as native language education. The task before us today has been to discuss the request by parents for a school on the south highway. It is an understatement to say that schools in Whitehorse are overcrowded.
We can all agree, I am sure, that we do need more schools. The question has been one of location not need. Parents of Granger children will want a school in their area. Parents of children on the south highway say a new school should be placed there. Can we say no to either?
Imagine being six years old and being cooped up on a school bus more than an hour - sometimes more than two hours every day. In winter, when the cold and the dark tempt even the hardiest of us to stay in the sack a little longer, Yukon school children are getting on buses at the beginning of what is really a day so long as to border on hardship. The ride is long, the bus is stuffy and sometimes the kids are car sick. Tired children are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning. Tired children are cranky and cranky children find it hard to get along with classmates, and sometimes with their teachers. There are no doubt many so-called discipline problems that could be linked to simple fatigue. To make matters worse classrooms at the destination point are overcrowded.
So our concern is for the children. Ideally, schools should be neighbourhood facilities, conveniently situated in all communities. Financial realities mean limits to growth. Priorities must be established. For the parents of the south highway children, the choice is simple: build an area school. The same can be said for Granger. All the while, there is a continuing need to ease the tensions of overcrowding in the schools in Whitehorse to which the children are being bused.
We all see with 20/20 hindsight. The pity is that plans for a school on the south highway area and other areas in the community were not put in place when homes were being built. Does that mean that we make the mistake of not planning now? Should that mistake be repeated? Definitely not. We are not in an either/or situation. We must somehow find a middle ground and it appears that perhaps we have done that. Certainly, information gathered from the Bureau of Statistics South Highway Survey will show the facts that will influence final decisions.
It takes time and planning to build a school. The government must carry the burden of planning for the best placement of schools to serve the children and their neighbourhoods. A proposal for a school has been incorporated into the layout of the Granger Subdivision, and it is the planning process that I endorse. The Bureau of Statisticss survey will speak volumes for south highway people. We will be better able to plan for the south highway area when we have a full picture.
Mr. Phelps: I will not be long in my closing remarks, but I feel I do have to respond to some of the comments that were made. I tried my best to bring this motion forward in a spirit of cooperation and not to get into a political wrangle, and I was, unfortunately, somewhat unsuccessful, although it does look like we will end up with unanimous support for a motion that is acceptable to us all.
The Government Leader, as Member for Whitehorse West, went on at some length about support of a ward system for the City of Whitehorse. I am not a resident of the City of Whitehorse. I will not really comment on that, but it is interesting and a concept that does come up from time to time. He went on in a very disparaging way, trying to poke holes in the logic of the original motion put forward by me. I got the distinct feeling that he was tying himself up into knots like a pretzel by the time he was through because many of the points that he was attempting to make about the illogical side, as he saw it, of my motion were not even addressed in the amendments put forward by his partner over there, the Member for Mayo.
As to the issue of consideration, well obviously, consideration was once given to a school for the area we are speaking about. There was a report, paid for by the government, that recommended that the school be built by September, 1988. This report was considered by the government, studies were done, consultations took place, but unfortunately, not with the parents who lived outside the city boundaries. The government itself gave de facto priority to Granger over the school for the south highway. That happened. That is a fact. Logically it follows that they did give that priority to Granger.
We simply want to see this urgent issue addressed, and addressed as soon as possible. We want to see a facility built to serve the children who live in south Whitehorse, out along the Alaska Highway, and out along the Carcross Road. We want to see the quality of life improved there as much as possible, as soon as possible, and it can be done by acting on the intent of the original motion, or the motion as amended.
This is not a call to the government, at a time when restraint is called for throughout Canada, to spend more money. It is a call to the government to re-examine the $10,000,000 commitment that they seem to have for a school in Granger. It is a call for the government, at the very least, to pare down that commitment and use the freed funds for a much-needed facility to serve the families whom we have already spoken about.
I look forward to unanimous support. I want to thank all the Members who spoke to this motion for their thoughts and comments. I hope that in voting in favor of this motion we will be furthering the cause of the parents and the children. We need this resolved.
Motion No. 6 agreed to as amended
Motion No. 17
Clerk: Item No. 7, standing in the name of Mr. Devries.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 7?
Mr. Devries: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has moved by the Member for Watson Lake
THAT it is the opinion of this House that there is an urgent need for an extended care facility in Watson Lake;
THAT this House urges the government to examine the feasibility of establishing such a facility;
THAT the Watson Lake council, the Indian Band and support groups be consulted during the course of the examination; and
THAT the Minister of Health and Human Resources report the findings of the feasibility study to this House within 12 months.
Mr. Devries: The motion before us at this time is one that I am sure any of us who have parents or grandparents living in the Yukon can relate to. It is a motion that is recommended in a study done by Stevenson, Kellog, Ernst and Whinney that was carried out last year.
Senior citizens in Watson Lake are both our past and our future. The beliefs and the morals they have embedded in us are the principles by which we direct our destiny.
I would like to think of life itself as the leaves on a tree. The little bud in the spring is the infant and as time progresses, matures into a full-grown leaf, contributing to the life of the tree itself, which is our communities, or, perhaps Watson Lake.
We are the working force in this country. As fall approaches, the leaf slowly turns to a golden yellow. You can hear it speaking to you as the valley breeze rustles through. So it is with our senior citizens as they reach the golden years. Our children have the opportunity to draw on the tested and proven stories that the senior citizens tell. The elders often stretch the truth a little in order to have a more interesting impact on the unquestioning and junior mind.
I am sure everyone here today can remember a story passed down from their elders. I remember the tale of the bomber. My grandparents lived in Holland and a bomber was shot down over my grandparents house, the engine crashing through the roof within inches of granddads head. I remember the twinkle in his eye as he mentioned that the only thing that saved them was the Bible under his pillow.
I remember the story of my grandparents putting their lives and the lives of their children on the line to save the life of a Jewish girl by hiding her for months in a haystack behind the barn. This story was told to me to show the importance of compassion, an act that granddad hoped he could pass down to the next generation so they too could be a Samaritan, if the opportunity arose.
There are over 100 people in Watson Lake over 60 years old. We want these golden citizens to have the opportunity to pass their knowledge on to the next generation. It is important in this age of high tech and lack of concern for each other, for the children to have the stories of the past available. We all need to know about our past. Our heritage is life itself. We do not want to have anyone miss out on this important, valuable information. Once the leaves on the tree gracefully float beneath, they become compost and in turn nutrition for the generations to come. So it is with the senior citizens. We cannot rob the communities of this valuable resource by shipping them off to the city. These pioneers of our communities deserve better.
When our rural citizens require extended care and are shipped to the city, they do not like the atmosphere of a large, institutionalized-type extended care facility. They are county folk and like the small-town experience. If they wanted the pressure of urban lifestyle, they would have left the Yukon upon their retirement. No, they have contributed too much to our communities for us to send them off. We wish to care for them and give our children the chance to help nurse them back to health, or let them die in dignity with those that love and care for them near at hand.
It will also help our children get a better understanding of both life and death and a better appreciation of the importance of caring and volunteering to help, doing something out of love and compassion, rather than chasing the almighty dollar.
This motion must be given priority, yet it is not something to be rushed into without consultation and careful planning. It must be designed in such a way that volunteers, friends and relatives have ample opportunity to help nurse and care and love these people to death.
At this time, I am not getting into the different ideas and proposals that have been suggested. We have time for that once the motion is passed. We must commit ourselves to approach this with open minds, rather than with preconceived ideas and ideals.
The senior citizens of our territory have made it what it is. Let us not disappoint them. Let us show them our appreciation by passing this motion. This is not a motion of dollars and cents. This is a motion of love. This is a motion of passing on a heritage. This is a motion of both life and death with dignity. This is a motion that no one can afford to deny Watson Lake.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am a little surprised at the motion proceeding today since, in answer to a previous question, the Member had already received a commitment from this government and from this Minister to proceed according to the text of the motion, which had been filed previous to the Members question. I would like to put the position of the government and, in particular, the Department of Health and Human Resources on the record in greater detail than I had occasion to some days ago when the question was first asked. I am sure all Members of the House know that the motion is based on one of the recommendations in the Community Health Institutional Services Evaluation Report, which was conducted recently.
That report recommends renovating part of the existing cottage hospital to provide for four to six long-term care beds. The capital cost estimates arising from that recommendation are in the order of $195,000, and annual operation and maintenance costs of such a facility are estimated to be in the neighbourhood of $144,000.
As I am sure all Members also know, the existing hospital in Watson Lake is a cottage hospital that does not have a long-term care home, as it is presently constituted. The Community Health Institutional Services Report supported the use of the hospital for respite purposes and the redevelopment of a part of the hospital for extended care. I made a commitment on March 15, 1989 toward community consultation, including consultation with the band, the town council and the local interagency committee. The schedule for these meetings has not yet been finalized, but I understand it will be soon.
Since the facility is federally owned and operated, and the capital and operation and maintenance costs are cost shared, negotiations must take place with National Health and Welfare before we could proceed according to this motion. If the transfer of community health services becomes a reality, then the government will become the sole operator of the facility. Until that point in time, all decisions must be made jointly with the federal officials responsible in the Department of National Health and Welfare.
If the federal government agrees in principle to the physical changes to the facility, then an implementation plan can be designed in conjunction with the band, municipal government, care providers and interest groups in the Watson Lake area.
Such an implementation plan must include an examination of the physical changes to be made to the building and the means of achieving them, as well as a clear staffing plan that leads to the capital and operating estimates that I referred to earlier. With these plans in place, we can then move to actual renovations to the building and approve the plan for additional staff, but again, as Members will know, every time you add a person year, it becomes a subject of public debate and debate in this Legislature and, I am sure Members will also appreciate, debates inside Management Board and Cabinet as well, so no decisions have been made or can be made about that at this point in time.
I want to tell the Members of the House that every consideration will be given to the cultural needs of the residents of the facility. I know that this is a point of particular concern to Mr. Speaker, the Member for Campbell, whose constituents in Upper Liard and elsewhere have continuing concerns on this point, particularly about culturally sensitive health and social service delivery. I know, as one of the great carriers of your peoples cultural traditions and one of the great champions of the great tradition, that you will appreciate the innovations the government is beginning to make in terms of sensitivity on that score.
The cultural needs will be met for the facility in terms of the planning for the services to the residents and the furnishings of the facility. Furthermore, it is the hope of the department that the development of other support services described in the study I referred to earlier, such as home care, will enhance the ability of the elderly to remain in their own homes for longer periods. The extension of the home care program introduced by this government is something we will all see as a commendable initiative and an appropriate companion to whatever else we are able to do in the area of extended care. With those few observations, I will resume my seat.
Mr. Nordling: The Member for Watson Lake has presented the history and the need very well. There is not much more to be added on that regard. The Government Leader, the Minister of Health and Human Resources, has given his commitment to look into the need and expects to get back to us. I would like to answer his question as to why the motion was debated today after he had made his commitment on March 15, I believe. The reason is that we do not trust this government. We do not believe their commitments until they have stood up and said them at least four times.
We have had a commitment for an extended care facility made on numerous occasions by the government. We have not got that. It has become something that this government has a reputation for doing and, for that reason, we end up debating motions that are not really necessary, or should not be necessary.
Again, with respect to this motion and the extended care facility in Whitehorse, we hear the Government Leader using the word soon to describe the time frame for discussions. We prefer some sort of commitment and the motion does ask for a report within 12 months. I hope that we do have something concrete within that time. The Minister of Health and Human Resources also threw in the federal government as a possible excuse for a hold up on this project. Again, we are skeptical on this side. That is why the motion has been brought forward. That is why it is being debated today, and we expect unanimous consent. We hope in this instance the government will follow through on its commitment in a timely fashion.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The concerns of the Watson Lake community regarding extended care facilities are of extreme interest to this government. These concerns have been well documented in the Community Health Institutional Services Evaluation Report that has provided an option to utilize the existing cottage hospital to create extended care facilities. This government has long been in support of an extended care facility in Watson Lake as well as other support services that will enable local residents to remain in and enjoy their own homes in an atmosphere of dignity and well being.
It is important for us to realize that it is not just a matter of living in your own home, but being able to enjoy the company of family and friends. With an extended care facility in Watson Lake, residents can feel sure that while they may be require a certain amount of medical care, they will have relatives and friends nearby.
It has been the policy for too many years that people in north have no control over their own health and well being. The Member for Watson Lake can be well assured that this government will take the necessary steps to ensure that the concerns and interests of all residents of Watson Lake will be considered very carefully in planning a facility that will meet the needs of extended health care in this community.
In the past I have personally met with people from Watson Lake who are concerned and interested in extended care and other support services in Watson Lake. That has been well documented by the former Member for Watson Lake. We have listened to those concerns and have brought them forward. It has been pointed out by Members of this House that there is an urgency in Watson Lake for these services, such as there in many other communities. This government has responded to those needs. In planning for such facilities for Watson Lake and other communities, it is important for us to look at the operations and maintenance costs of such facilities to ensure that we not only provide affordable facilities, but we ensure that the community has their needs met and that any planning reflects the communitys concerns.
This government is committed to community consultation on any matters that may affect the residents of a community, and it is the intention of this government to continue to consult with all community groups, including the bands, and town councils and any other interest groups.
It was with a great deal of surprise that the Member for Porter Creek West brought up the matter of trust. Many things have been initiated by this government in the past with regard to health of Yukoners. There has been concern about over spending by Members on the other side of the House. There have been comments and accusations made about over spending and mismanagement but, when it comes to the health and well-being of Yukoners, we have to seriously look at the money that is being spent and how it is being spent. There is one thing this government will never jeopardize, and that is the health of Yukoners.
Mr. Lang: I very much appreciate the time and the effort put in by the Member for Watson Lake in bringing forward this issue to the House. Contrary to the Government Leaders infamous statements the other day saying that no one in this House gives a damn about the people from Watson Lake, that is obviously not the case. It is too bad such statements had to be made. Similarly, I would not make the statement that the Government Leader did not care about the people from Porter Creek.
With respect to the issue at hand, I have a major territorial concern that affects Watson Lake, Dawson City and all the other communities. This is the question of the health transfer. I believe we have lost a window of opportunity for the purpose of that transfer to the people of the territory.
In the past four years, we have had the privilege of having, for a period of time, the Member of Parliament from our area being the Deputy Prime Minister of the country. For almost three years, the federal Minister of Health, Jake Epp, has been very sympathetic to the north, primarily because he travelled up here a number of times and had also been a Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs.
Times are changing. We all know that Mr. Nielsen retired. We know Mr. Epp has moved into another portfolio. We have a new Minister who, to my knowledge, had never been to the Yukon until he assumed office and was unfamiliar with the territory. We also have a new government that is facing some very difficult financial times. For every tax dollar that you and I pay to the Government of Canada, 31 cents is going to pay for the cost of borrowing the money. That is serious. There is a problem out there, and it is one that is going to have to be confronted.
For whatever reasons, the previous Minister of Health refused to sit down and seriously negotiate the transfer of health during the past three years. I am afraid that, in all likelihood, the health transfer will not proceed over the next number of years.
The unfortunate element of that is the fact that the monies may well not be there to accommodate the building of the new hospital and if it is not, the Government of Yukon will be put in a position where it cannot accept the transfer. That goes further to extended care facilities in Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Dawson City. Unfortunately, we are going to suffer from the inaction of the previous administration on this particular issue. It is common knowledge that the previous Minister of Health corresponded with the Government of Canada two and one-half to three years ago and instructed the health care transfer be put on hold. There was no call for that. The Northwest Territories has successfully had health care transferred along with a brand new facility being built during the past number of years.
We are all going to vote for this motion unanimously. Unfortunately we are going to find that, through what can only be referred to as negligence, the need for these facilities that we all feel so concerned and deeply about are not going to be met. I hope, for the sake of our senior citizens, that we have not missed the boat on this one.
Ms. Hayden: I rise in support of the motion to examine the feasibility of establishing an extended care facility in Watson Lake. I thank the Member for Watson Lake for bringing it forward.
I am pleased to see the recommendation in the motion that the Watson Lake Council, the Indian band and various interest groups have been consulted as part of the process. As a former elected member of a regional hospital that included, under its mandate, an extended care facility as well as several intermediate care facilities, I have a few comments I would like to make about such a facility.
First of all, it is important to note that any planning can only be done cooperatively with the federal government and the Department of Health and Welfare, whichof course still have responsibility for health programs in the Yukon Territory. When devolution of health services takes place, it is my hope that we will do some innovative planning for the delivery of services to our elderly and other Yukoners who need extended care.
It seems to me we must first of all look at extended care in a cultural context.
Indian peoples continue to have high respect for the wisdom and values of their elders and to care for their old people in a family and community context. They continue to give that respect even, and perhaps particularly, when that person begins to deteriorate physically and mentally. They seem to still recognize and honour the spiritual value of that person.
That has been, in my experience, in sharp contrast to the medical model of care that I have often seen in our white culture. We tend to keep our old and our multiply-handicapped people in very sterile quarters, caring for their physical needs in an almost regimented way. As a society, we pay them little respect and in fact often treat our elderly, our handicapped and our dying somewhat like inept children. I am always appalled when a young care giver addresses someone four times their age by their first name and with the royal we.
But there are a couple of bright spots in this gloomy picture and they are the loving care that still is given at Whitehorse General Hospital, particularly on the medical ward where they are often over stressed.
The growth of the hospice movement, as I understand it, accepts death as a creative and natural part of living. I believe this should be encouraged to be a part of any extended care facility planning process. Perhaps in Watson Lake and throughout the territory, the hospice society and the Indian people as well as other groups and city councils and all of the residents will be encouraged to be a part of the planning process from the very beginning, not after the structure has already been decided on, because form often dictates behavior.
If the facility is to meet the needs of the Indian community and the old timers in the area, such as the trappers, prospectors and people who have lived there for a long time and some of the relatively urban population of their community, there will have to be considerable understanding of the various needs and real dialogue, not just token discussions. My hope is to see a facility that meets the needs of its residents and their friends and their families and the community - a place where people want to come, were a little mess is allowed and the known therapeutic value of pets is recognized.
Can you imagine living year in and year out without something or someone to touch or to hug? It is pretty appalling.
What is needed is a facility where people from the community can meet. A central place for all people would be ideal, rather than the isolation, sterility and loneliness that sometimes overtake our elderly, our ill and our handicapped.
It is important that we provide services that allow people to remain in their own homes and communities as long as possible. Not only is that a better model for living, it is also less costly in the long run. When people can no longer stay out of care, we must build in choices for them. It may be that people who live in a community choose not to go into an extended care facility in that community. It is important, in preserving peoples dignity, that they have that choice and the right to choose.
With our small population, we have the opportunity to do some very creative planning, to consult with various groups and to create a facility that will not only keep people clean and fed, but will enhance their lives, the lives of their family, their care givers and the community.
Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to be able to rise today and support the motion put forward by the Member for Watson Lake. I would like to commend the Member for his very eloquent speech describing the need for such a facility.
I do not intend to take a great deal of the Houses time, but I would like to point out why I believe this motion deserves support from all Members of this House.
As you know, in the past three and one-half years or so, I have had the opportunity to visit Watson Lake several times, so I do have an understanding of the needs of the community. Watson Lake is Yukons second largest community. It is not only one of the largest in the territory, but outside of Whitehorse it is one of our longest-established communities.
Many seniors who live in Watson Lake have been there for many years. As well, there is a well-established Indian band that is located near the community, and most of those people would like to spend their remaining days in and around the community.
When you have to put seniors in any type of extended care facility, it is important that you try to locate them as close as possible to their families and friends. In the case of seniors, and especially extended care seniors, this factor is an integral part of their care.
I believe we are fortunate in Watson Lake, because we do have a very nice hospital there. That hospital could possibly be used as an interim place to provide such a facility in Watson Lake for the short term. It sometimes takes a while to build a facility to suit the needs, but there is a study that says that the Watson Lake Hospital could meet the needs with a minimum of cost attached at the present time.
I have one comment I would like to make about what some of the other Members have brought up in the House. I believe the Government Leader raised the issue of the home care program. As well, the Member for Whitehorse South Centre mentioned it, too. I commend the government for that program, and I think it is an excellent program. I brought a motion to this House a couple of weeks ago that dealt with an occupational-recreational physiotherapist. A major component of the home care program is an occupational therapist.
The government saw fit to hire only a half-time occupational therapist. An occupational therapist is one that would actually go into the home to modify the home so that seniors could stay there longer. There is a dire need for not a half-time but a full-time occupational therapist in the Yukon. The government should reconsider that. I think the Member for Whitehorse South Centre would agree with me that it is extremely important in a home care program.
In closing, I would like to say that I believe that such a facility is needed now and I would encourage the government to move to examine the feasibility of such a facility, and move as soon as it can. Let us not just talk about this for another three-and-a-half years, we should be able to consult with the community and get on with the job as soon as possible.
Speaker: The hon. Member will close debate if he now speaks. Does any other Member wish to be heard?
Mr. Devries: At this time I would like to thank both the Members on this side and the other side for their support on this motion. I understand that there does not seem to be any dissent. I am sure the people of Watson Lake appreciate this, as I do myself.
Motion No. 17 agreed to
Motion No. 28
Clerk: Item No. 10 standing in the name of Mr. Lang.
Speaker: Is the hon. Member prepared to proceed with Item No. 10?
Mr. Lang: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Member for Whitehorse Porter Creek East
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the Capital Budget should be tabled and debated in all future fall sessions of the legislature.
Mr. Lang: I am bringing this motion forward because I feel some alarm over some comments made by the Minister of Finance inferring that the fall sessions of the House will no longer deal with the capital budget brought forward by the Government of the Yukon Territory.
I want to remind all Members that it has been a tradition of this House since 1979. It is 10 years since the inception of the principle that the capital plan of the Government of the Yukon Territory be debated and passed in the fall sittings of the Legislature.
I want to voice my concern with the cavalier attitude taken by the government this past fall when we did not have a session. In fact, the House did not sit for almost 10 months for various reasons. One of the reasons brought forward by the Government Leader was that there was a federal election and that it might interfere with the federal election.
The Government Leader did not inform the media and the public at large that the legislature in Alberta and in other provinces sat while the federal election was in progress. The Government Leader made it very clear to the general public that shortly thereafter we would have the fall session, with the idea of dealing with the capital budget. That did not take place. One can only surmise why. I would assume that the government chose that they should not come under public scrutiny.
The facts that have now come out about Hyland Forest Products may well have come out in the fall session and proved to be embarrassing to the government. If the will of the government is to bypass the principle of public scrutiny, I think we have to question the reason why we are here.
We should not delay the capital budget to a winter or early spring session because it deals with important items affecting many people. There has never been a complaint lodged in this House, by any Member or any political party, requesting that this item of business should be dealt with in the winter or spring session of the Legislature.
I want to go back in historical terms. In the 1970s, one major, ongoing complaint by both labour and business was that construction contracts were not dealt with until the spring. This created a significant delay in the tendering of these particular projects, because vote authority had not been granted.
Waiting until the spring to vote the capital budget gives limited time for contractors to decide which projects they are going to bid on. It gives them limited time for inspections and to do the necessary legwork, costing and estimating when a project is called. Anyone who has been in the contracting business will say that preparation time is required in order to be successful and to present a confident bid. The other reason for moving the capital budget discussions and debate to the sittings of the fall Legislature was to give the civil service clear direction from the Legislature.
In other words, with the House giving consent, it gave a signal to the civil service that these projects were going ahead. There was no question about intervention of government at a future point to any significant degree, unless amendments were brought forward in the House. It gave the civil service the ability to know that the body politic had made decisions and that they were going ahead.
Another point that I think has to be stressed, and this has got to be taken into consideration, is the question of the projects being voted on in the fall, providing a vehicle to tender them as early as possible in the spring. It is going to cost the taxpayer the minimum amount of money to do those projects.
With delays caused by perhaps late sittings in the spring that could cause tenders not being tendered until late spring or early summer, you could well see major projects not going ahead, or going ahead in such a manner that they are going to cost more money, because we all know that the cost of construction in the Yukon in the fall and the winter increases substantially. We have two projects right now that highlight what I have just said. The garage that was built in the compound in Whitehorse came in at $965,000 and there is no question that probably a third of that cost could be attributed to the fact that in the middle of winter the cost of doing business is higher. If you drove by the project and saw the artificial tent that they had over the facility and the fact that they were having to heat it and all the factors that some into it, there can be no doubt that the costs were driven up dramatically.
That applies to the young offenders facility that was tendered and then let out this last fall. We are looking at about $3 million. The sad thing about the young offenders facility - not only the fact that it cost as much as it cost, of which I am sure a good portion will be attributed to winter construction - is that with all the debate and all the hesitancy by the government in going ahead with such a facility, we have about one-third the size of facility to provide for that particular program, which we have to provide for under federal legislation. That is the shame of it. It had to be scaled right down because of delays.
Another reason for having the capital budget debated in the fall and passed is that it not only gives certainty to the government, but it also gives a very real flexibility to the government to tender projects. What I mean by that is that we do not have that many people in the construction business to begin with.
If we wait until the spring to give consent to the capital budget, you are going to find that you are forced to tender these projects in a very short time frame, within a month or two. That means that some contractors, who have bid on one or two of the jobs, will not be able to bid on other jobs because they are out simultaneously and they have put out their 10 percent requirement for deposits, their bonding requirements, and have not got the financial wherewithal to be able to bid on any more. Secondly, they do not know if they are going to get their initial bid to start with.
If we go back to our normal practice of dealing with the capital budget in the fall, it gives flexibility for Government Services to let these contracts out over a staggered period of time so that those who are not initially successful on one or two of the first bids have the opportunity of bidding on a number of the other projects, in order to be able to provide competitive bidding in the tendering procedure and, also, to ensure that the taxpayers and the consumers get the best clout for their dollar.
There is the other point of labour. If the tenders are late, people are not going to work. Constituents in all our communities who are in the construction industry are waiting for those tenders to be let to see who is going to get them and to see if they are going to be eligible for a job. This leads me to my point again: it is in the best interest of those who are working in the construction industry that those tenders be let as early as possible, so people can go to work as early as possible.
There were some very good reasons why, in the past 10 years, the capital budget was always dealt with in the fall. Look at the situation now where we are dealing with the capital budget together with the operation and maintenance budget. None of these projects can go out to tender under law, because there is no certification. Contrary to what some Members on the other side would like to think, there are still some authorities vested with this House, as limited as they might be.
I realize that the government finds the public scrutiny of its financial management to be very cumbersome, but that is one of the principles this House. If the budgets did not have to come under public scrutiny, we would not need the Legislature, nor would we need any of the Members opposite, with no affront intended. We would only need one individual to make the decisions. There is a reason for the budgets coming under scrutiny.
There are only 16 Members in this House. There are seven in Opposition and nine on the government side. There are only seven in this House who are actively participating in debate from the point of view of examining the budget. The Ministers have a responsibility to answer the questions; we have a responsibility to examine the budget as closely as we can to ensure that the taxpayers dollars are being well spent.
The idea of bringing both the capital and the O&M budgets together is going to give cause to less scrutiny of the overall budget. All of a sudden you are faced with dealing with over $300 million at one sitting as opposed to $100 million at one sitting and $200 million at another. The fact is that Members of this House get very tired because we are so few in number. What will happen if the government is intent on ramrodding this type of procedure through the House? It is going to cause more negligence in the public expenditure of funds because there is less scrutiny. This is the only check and balance in the system that we have on the expenditures of government other than the day-to-day responsibilities of the Executive Council.
We have witnessed, despite our continuous and legitimate discussion in this House about the expenditure of dollars, quite frankly what would appear to be reckless expenditures. Sometimes, I have to say this, it is not necessarily the fault of the front bench, although they carry the responsibility.
There are numerous reasons why we should be dealing with the capital budget in the fall session. Even if there is legislation, we could always sit an extra three weeks to a month in the fall. There is nothing negating that at all, because all the MLAs do and will come to the House when called.
When the Members opposite talk about a legislative session, think back over the last four or five years. If the fall session was strictly a legislative session, how much work would we have had to do? Other than when we have some major legislation, the government is saying is that we will no longer have fall sessions. Or, if we do, we will do some incidental work in those legislative sessions and we will get out of there because the last thing this government wants to do is come under public scrutiny.
I know that it is very difficult at times for the Members of the front bench and I can speak from experience. Having to come down here and answer becomes very tiring.
It is also essential because otherwise democracy does not prevail - we have a dictatorship - and nobody but nobody is above that if given the opportunity. Nobody was voted in to do that.
There are some very significant concerns being expressed by individuals and organizations about the governments intention to proceed in this matter. Labour is concerned about their people going to work; they want their people to go to work early in the year and not have them go out in December when it is -65 degrees below at heavy physical and financial cost to the individual. The Contractors Association is also very concerned. I have had calls asking why some tenders are not out already. It is a legitimate question. People in my riding are probably going to be at least a month late getting to work. We can sit here and play all the politics we want. Those people have spouses and children to support, as well as mortgages to pay, and they expect certain things to be done by us on their behalf.
There are a number of things I would like to point out. I wrote a letter on November 16, to which I never received a reply. I asked the Government Leader to reconsider the decision not to have a fall session. Since that time in December, the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce requested that the government reconsider their decision to not have a fall session. I would like to read this into the record.
Dear Mr. Penikett:
The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce is concerned that the delay in the Legislature sitting and the debate on the capital, operating and maintenance budgets may have a negative effect on both the construction industry and on auxiliary services.
The Yukon 2000 report, The Things That Matter, notes that to develop the construction industry and stabilize the Yukon economy, government contracts should be tendered as soon as the budget is approved in the fall. The report further states that budget approval in the fall allows contracts to be signed and work started April 1, the beginning of the governments fiscal year. By going against the recommendation in the Yukon 2000 report and ignoring the practice of approving the budget earlier, the Chamber feels that the construction season will be shortened considerably, thereby, having a harmful effect on Yukon business in general.
The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce urges the Government of Yukon to reconsider its position and schedule early debate on the capital, operating and maintenance budgets.
That particular correspondence referred to The Things That Matter, the Yukon 2000 report that the government stood up to say is a very good process and very worthwhile.
We have not argued that it has not come up with some good ideas. For the record, I would like to read what that particular forum came up with. These are people who represent every walk of life. We are not talking about people within the construction business, nor within business. We are speaking about people from various organizations representing the various sectors of Yukons community. They spent some time and effort in trying to come up with some recommendations for the government to consider in respect to helping, maintaining and encouraging a healthy and expanding construction industry. I would ask the Ministers on the side opposite to read that report. Under the heading of What We Need, I quote: More specifically, practical help can be provided by altering governments tendering procedures and policies so that government projects may be tendered as early as possible, thereby extending the Yukons short construction season.
The first recommendation is: How to get there - 1. Tender government construction contracts as soon as the capital budget has been approved by the Legislature. As noted, the construction season in the Yukon is short. It is therefore important for projects to be tendered and for construction to begin as early in the season as possible. The Department of Government Services could put approved projects out for tender as soon as the capital budget is approved in the fall. Contracts could then be signed and work could begin right after the start of the governments new fiscal year in April. This would substantially lengthen the amount of time available for construction work.
That puts our case very well, and I think it has to be given serious consideration by the side opposite.
I would like to read into the record a number of comments that were made in 1979, when the then administration brought in the first budget in the fall session of the Legislature for the people of the territory to consider. I happen to have been a Member at that time. I was the one who had the honour of presenting the first fall budget for consideration to the Legislature. At that time, I made a short statement, and I quote: It is with a great deal of pleasure that I present the capital estimates for the 1980-81 year. In the past, the capital estimates have always been presented in the spring budget session and always have been the source of great debate by previous Legislatures on the principle that our contractors were prohibited from taking full advantage of the short Yukon construction season.
With the presentation, Mr. Speaker, of these estimates during this session and, hopefully, ultimate passage, our government will be able to prepare our tender documents and put them out for early call and, thereby, allow our contractors full advantage of our summer season and, in many cases, ensure completion within the year.
In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, we feel that this is a major departure from the past for the good of the Yukon, will aid our contractors and also ensure the taxpayers receive full value for their tax dollars.
The then Leader of the Opposition, Mr. MacKay, said as follows:
First of all, before souring the grapes, I would like to congratulate the government on bringing forward this legislation in the fall session so that, indeed, Yukon contractors will have the ability to know well in advance what kind of contracts are going to be available and how much may be available for them, so I congratulate them for it.
There is a Member in this House who is fairly well known today - a Member by the name of Mr. Penikett, the Member for Whitehorse West. His comments were as follows, I just have one brief word. I think it is, as the Minister said, not a bad idea to bring the capital budget before us at this time. Obviously, I think all MLAs are at somewhat of a disadvantage in doing this in that we cannot accurately compare previous years spending with the projections. But I think, for the reasons outlined by the Leader of the Opposition, it is important that we, in fact, serve notice of these projects and get as many of them underway as possible, because I am committed, philosophically, to the view that where the private sector is not spending enough in the economy, the private sector has an important role to play in picking up the slack.
I rest my case.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I thank the Members opposite for their applause in anticipation of my remarks. In speaking to the motion presented by the Member for Porter Creek East, I have a few remarks to make about the budgeting process and about the expectations of the government of the day when this proposal was introduced in 1981, and also about the character of capital budgeting within departments that has taken place over the course of the years, and our record to date with respect to that budgeting.
Firstly, the Member attempted to draw into the discussion some general remarks about democracy and dictatorship and professed to know, I presume either from first-hand knowledge or otherwise, something about both. The point of the matter that I have to express at this juncture is that the budgeting and the desire by the government to come before the Legislature to explain and to make proposals for spending has not changed in any way. The government still intends and has always intended and must, by constitution, by law, explain the capital expenditures and operational expenditures that it makes and live up the scrutiny that Members may level on the Ministers to support those expenditures. That has not changed. That will not change. The territorial Legislature is held up in municipalities as being a good example of how public expenditures are reviewed and approved by elected authorities. There has been no disrespect shown. There has been maximum respect shown by this government to this Legislature with respect to not only coming forward and explaining the expenditure plans of the government in great detail, but also providing information at great length, the likes of which have been unknown to MLAs in this Legislature, to explain the expenditure plans of the government in great detail.
I can remember times when, many years ago, if you could not read out the list of projects that the Minister for Community Services to my left read out from his chair, back in the 1982 to 1985 period, you just simply did not get an understanding of what projects were coming forward.
Maybe the Minister of the day did communicate privately with contractors to indicate what the projects were, but if the Members of the Opposition did not have a listing of all the projects they would not have an understanding of what was going on in the territory. Times have changed, and the standards have changed. What is expected of this government is far superior to what was expected of former governments, and I think that is a good thing. Not only are the standards higher but the government is living up to those standards. I am very proud to be on a front bench that respects the Legislature to that extent.
The budgeting process has been of great interest to me for the last many years. I have taken the remarks made by the Member for Porter Creek East as a good example of one element of the argument that should be stated in supporting the case for a capital budget in the fall. The Member tried to make the case that the operations and capital budget should not be combined and I will deal with that shortly.
The proposal to bring the capital budget forward in the fall was made and introduced in 1981, with the good intention of ensuring that the projects passed by this Legislature would be well known not only to the politicians, but also to the civil servants who were charged with the responsibility of presenting the projects to the public through the tendering process, and also to the contracting community and the communities so they would know what to expect before the coming season. There are many people, especially in the contracting industry, who are very interested in knowing what the government does on a project-by-project basis. People in rural areas and people in the contracting industry are very dependent upon the publics business for their business. This is well known to this Legislature and to the Members on the government side.
The plan, as originally conceived, a good plan with good intentions, was to introduce a budget in the fall with the intention that the expenditure plans of the government would be known in detail by the early spring, and that contractors would be tooling up and the government agencies would be tendering contracts so that contracts could be let in the new fiscal year. There was always the understanding that no expenditures would be made prior to the beginning of the new fiscal year because that would have been against the law.
However, there was the intention that planning would take place. In varying degrees, planning did take place. In some cases planning did not take place even after the Members of the Legislature had given approval for projects.
The point of the matter was that any planning that required funding had to have that funding voted the previous year.
So when all the projects that required detailed design work - whether it be a highway construction project or a small demonstration project, like the $15,000 shed or major schools, or like many of the construction projects where the Minister is involved - come to tender, they have already had expenditures made on them in order to develop the detailed design.
Sometimes the consultation itself to come to conclusions on detailed design requires funding. The anticipation by any MLAs that the passing of a budget in the fall would mean that detailed designed projects could go ahead in the spring was a false assumption. As I said, if the project could be designed with the funding of the current year, then the project could conceivably go ahead.
One of the points that the Public Accounts Committee has been making is that ideally what is required is that there be at least a year of design, funding and planning in anticipation of a major project going ahead two years hence. So I think that expectations have not been met, at least by legislators, by the fall presentation of the budget in the House. That is not to say that the fall presentation of the budget in the House could not be a good thing, but I am saying that the expectations that MLAs had about what the fall presentation of the budget would do were not supported in practice.
What has happened in recent years is that more expenditures have been made in the field of planning. I am familiar with community and transportation services particularly, so I know that with engineering sections of municipal engineering and highways, not only with road construction but also the planning of highway buildings, funding for the planning has been built into previous years budgets so that the detailed design can be done well in advance of the tendering process, because the tendering process is only one window of approximately 30 days. There is a lot of planning required prior to the time that the project is actually tendered.
Certainly, while it was the governments intention in the past to have the projects on the table, in public, by April 1, it has not always been the practice, and it is only those departments that have taken the special effort to plan the major projects in advance that have been in a better position to do what the MLAs expected them to do.
I have been bringing in for the last three or four years expanded engineering budgets and expanded planning budgets for Community and Transportation Services and those budgets have received the sanction of the Legislature because there was recognition that planning was required. More than two or three months or more than a year were required in order to support any particular capital project.
The other thing the government did even while the budget was being tabled in the fall was to announce in detail the project lists for contractors because many times contractors had legitimate questions that were not asked by legislators because they had a different perspective on what the capital budget meant for them.
So, the Minister of Government Services of the day had a novel idea to invite contractors to cross examine the people doing the tendering, the same people who were putting out the ads and who were planning the projects. The contractors were invited to ask them exactly what was anticipated for those projects. In a positive sense, those contractors could get an accurate understanding of what the capital budget meant. They could not get this by reading the capital budget or reading Hansard. Because the MLAs of this Legislature had a slightly different perspective on the capital process, they did not provide all the information that the contractors wanted and needed in order to tool up and prepare for the capital season.
That in itself was a significant and worthwhile reform of the system. It ensured that the contractors had a better understanding of what was happening through public expenditures.
The remarks the Member inferred I made in respect to capital budgets not being tabled in the fall are inaccurate. I have never indicated that the capital budget would not be introduced in the fall session of the Legislature. I have said that the government feels there are very good arguments to combine the operation and maintenance and the capital budgets together.
In the many years that I have been here, the government has been continually criticized for not having a proper juxtaposition of operation and maintenance and capital budgets in this Legislature. There has not been a proper recognition that when there is a capital expenditure, it sometimes drives an operation and maintenance expenditure, and when there is an operation and maintenance expenditure, it sometimes drives a capital expenditure. It is appropriate that the whole picture be brought to the Legislature so people know exactly what the expenditure plan for the government is and that full justification for government expenditures can be made in one sitting.
There may be arguments for further reform in the budgeting process. We have always thought of ourselves as being a small Legislature. We have always thought that it is appropriate MLAs in committee review all the expenditures of the government. The government and the Legislature are at a stage of maturity when there may be a reform that could lead to even better scrutiny of expenditures by political people. There could be a committee system that analyzes in better detail the expenditures of the various departments.
For example, if a Minister and an official justify before MLAs the budget for which that Minister is responsible, then the detail of that budget can be delivered immediately to MLAs. There would be people present to provide the information to MLAs. The work that is essential in the scrutiny of the budgets can be done to greater effect than has been done in the past.
Speaking as one Member of the Legislature, some discussions should be held to improve and reform the system to the extent that, like other legislatures in this country, elected people have the opportunity to review in great detail every expenditure that is of interest to them.
The Member for Porter Creek East seems to think that the kind of scrutiny that is satisfactory to them is the only kind and the best kind. As a Member of the Opposition, I remember that I would have preferred to sit down with the media present and everybody present and get a handle on specific plans in my constituency, specific plans for specific projects, bringing the officials to help explain what exactly was anticipated, rather than the more generic and general statements that take place in this Legislature now.
Mr. Speaker, I think I am interrupting the Member for Porter Creek East, who has just had the opportunity to speak, but does not seem to feel that the courtesy should be extended to this side. That is unfortunate.
The Members on the government side of the House have considered the issue of combined O&M and capital budgets at great length. There are very good arguments to make to combine both budgets for the purpose of receiving the full picture.
Speaker: Order, please. The time being 5:30, I will now leave the Chair until 7:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. House Leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 51 - First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 - continued
Chair: We will continue with debate on Bill No. 51, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1989-90. We are on the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
On Planning and Engineering
Planning and Engineering in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Sundry Equipment
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $300,000 is for the purchase of various equipment on an ongoing basis to replace equipment that is damaged, uneconomical to repair or worn out. In the engineering branch, these type of items can include survey transits and soil-testing equipment. Maintenance equipment can include things such as power plants for the highways operations, water pumps and chain saws.
In the past year, there was an expenditure of $325,000 for this. It is largely an ongoing program for the replacement of these types of equipment.
Sundry Equipment in the amount of $300,000 agreed to
On Maintenance Camp Facilities
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This is designated specifically for repair to the roof at the Watson Lake station.
Maintenance Camp Facilities in the amount of $60,000 agreed to
On VHF Systems
VHF Systems in the amount of $130,000 agreed to
On Miscellaneous Branch Facilities
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This would be similar to a previous item. It is something of a replacement account for various items at the camps - overhead door replacements in a couple of camps, fuel pumps, ventilation systems, lighting improvements, various similar improvements to various grader stations.
Mr. Brewster: I would just ask the one question. Why do you have the miscellaneous branch facilities and then up above there is sundry, and you are almost repeating the same things. Why could that not be combined into one? They are very close to the same. The other one for the $60,000 is a roof. That is repair. I understand that, but these two seem to be much the same product. I just wondered why there are two line items.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The earlier item we spoke about under sundry equipment was primarily for equipment, such as water pumps and various larger scale tools. This is repair work to the stations themselves. This is more of a building maintenance type of upgrading.
Miscellaneous Branch Facilities in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Klondike #2
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Perhaps I could take the opportunity to have a page circulate an innovation to committee debate that was originally introduced by the previous Minister: some colourful maps of highways in the territory.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: We are in a cost-effective mode and we are trying to reduce excessive cost due to oversize paper.
Speaking to the item at hand, Klondike #2 under the Engineering Services Agreement, all the items remaining on that page of the budget will come forward, given that there is federal support. These are all recoverable funds. Speaking on the planning of the projects, the intention for the south Klondike reconstruction and BST from Fraser to Carcross is to reconstruct kilometre 57 to kilometre 80, which will include considerable drainage work. There will be additional work between kilometre 44 and kilometre 57. There will be 30 kilometres of new BST on that section.
I can refine some numbers better. The kilometre 44 to kilometre 57 section is anticipated to be $850,000. The reconstruction of kilometre 57 to kilometre 80 will be the expensive portion, at $4.5 million. There will be design work for $100,000 for section 57 to 65 and section 80 to 90. There will be additional work relating to stockpiling and crushing. Culverts and guard rails are estimated at nearly $1 million. Supervision and engineering work are estimated at $475,000. That totals $6.9 million.
Mr. Brewster: I have one question. It may be out of order.
Are they bringing the compaction on that road up to 90 percent? The road from Haines Junction to Haines, Alaska was all brought up to 90 percent compaction. That road has not broken up anywhere. I notice that the new road you designed between here and Haines Junction is broken up in several places. That road is horrible. There are cracks all over. The other road has maintained its position for years. I suspect that it is due to the compaction test. What is the compaction test for these roads?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would love to entertain a discussion on the subject. I am not clear as to what highways the Member is talking about. He talked about from here to Haines Junction, which would be the Alaska Highway. He inquires whether the level or standard of compaction on this portion of the south Klondike meets a standard similar to the Haines Road. I am advised that it does meet the compaction test of 90 percent.
Klondike #2 in the amount of $6,980,000 agreed to
On Dempster #5
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Dempster No. 5 relates to three sections of the highway for upgrading. There is $800,000 to be spent on kilometres 139 to 242 of the Dempster; $427,000 is budgeted for planned upgrading at the Klondike maintenance camp at Klondike; $395,000 is for upgrading at the Ogilvie camp, for a total of $1.6 million.
Mr. Brewster: Which was the first camp?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is the Klondike camp. It is not marked on the map, but it is approximately 80 kilometres up the Dempster from the junction near Dawson.
Dempster #5 in the amount of $1,622,000 agreed to
On Emergency Airstrips
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This is for upgrading the emergency airstrip, constructing a parking apron, a taxi way, an access road, and resurfacing of the runway at the Eagle Plains site on the Dempster.
Emergency Airstrips in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On MOT Airstrips
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This again, by virtue of the nature of the funding under the ESA, is the tentative plan for upgrading a number of B and C airports. The improvements are intended in this fashion: at Beaver Creek, $223,000; at Teslin, $408,000; at Faro $262,000; some miscellaneous work at each of Ross River, Burwash, Mayo, Old Crow and Carmacks for a total of $390,000; and, of course, in the Members riding, $1,065,000 for upgrading there. That total comes to $2,400,000.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to just correct the Minister that Burwash and Beaver Creek are also in my riding.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As the distinguished Member knows, I have visited each of those communities many times. I temporarily forgot.
Mr. Brewster: It was probably because he drove over that road and his brains were all shaken up.
Mr. Phillips: Where do I find the Old Crow road on the map the Minister gave us?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In addition to the map, it is in the budget. If the Member will give me a moment, I will identify it more specifically. We have passed it, but I will locate it.
Mr. Phillips: How much is going to be spent on that particular road this year and how far will it go?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Old Crow road is budgeted to have $50,000 spent on it this year.
Mr. Brewster: On what line item do I find that? I do not see it.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It was specifically within the budget book on page 89 under Other Roads where I applied $275,000.
Mr. Brewster: That is fine, we will take that, but as my colleague from Riverdale said, it was not mentioned last night. It is a fair chunk of money.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It was certainly not intentional. The item relating to Other Roads has about 12 or 15 different sections of roads throughout the territory that are going to receive various amounts of upgrading or construction. I did not cover any of them in any detail, because I was not asked, but I certainly could if he wanted.
Mr. Brewster: We are not going to argue about this. We are pointing out to you that we do check these things to see what you are doing.
MOT Airstrips in the amount of $2,448,000 agreed to
Transportation in the amount of $20,927,000 agreed to
Chair: We will now go on to page 91.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In speaking to the development work for industrial lands, I will go through the planned activity, if that is the wish of the Member.
Chair: Is there any general debate on Lands, or should we go line by line?
Mr. Brewster: No, we will just go line by line. The reason I would want something on that industrial is because there is an increase in the amount of money that you put in there.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In response to the opening remarks, the increased funding would be reflected by the increased demand. As I go through the list of the planned projects, perhaps the Member can seek further information. All of these development projects of land are cost recoverable when the property is turned over or sold. It is not a forever debt.
At Teslin, we have $20,000 intended for a stage 1 activity; at McCrae, we have two phases of work planned for $250,000; at Dawson, we have the stage 3 of the Callison development; at Beaver Creek, there is some industrial development at the airport for $50,000; in Carcross, there is $20,000 identified for some industrial lot development; and $25,000 for an industrial development at Faro.
Mr. Brewster: When he went through those, I either missed it or he did not give the total for Dawson in the Callison subdivision.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The total is $150,000.
Industrial in the amount of $515,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, I give the Member the detail as to where the money is earmarked.
There is $10,000 identified for some legal work, which is throughout the territory and applied to the cost of the property in question, and recoverable. At Teslin there are residential lots to be developed at the airport for $75,000. At Beaver Creek there is a residential development in its latter stages going on, for $130,000. At Watson Lake there is going to be $5,000 spent on the Campbell reactivation. At Ross River there is a residential development with a planned expenditure of $100,000. In Whitehorse, in Porter Creek, there is an extension to Pine Street planned, for $50,000. There is a development required at Keno City for $150,000. Of the amount in this vote. $20,000 is intended for expenses relating to the Porter Creek C litigation. The Granger neighborhood has an expenditure allocation of $2,568,000. Carmacks has a $10,000 development planned at $80,000. Mayo has a $15,000 development and for the mobile subdivision at Granger, there is $900,000. There is $50,000 in that budget for various lot acquisitions throughout the territory. That totals the $4.1 million.
Mr. Brewster: I am just going to make a suggestion. I do not know how far it is going to go. In putting these residential places out you have the big problem of doing much the same as you did with Willow Acres. You try to make everybody travel with a Cadillac and Yukoners cannot travel with a Cadillac. That one started out to be just country residential and now it is a suburb of Haines Junction. These things all start out very nicely but they seem to get bigger and bigger and bigger, and it is the government that does that. It puts in highways that nobody asks for. It puts in lights that nobody asks for. Other people go and pay for their own.
I just want to caution you that to go all over the Yukon and put these things in it is a very fine thing, but if you put them up in this price range they are not going to sell.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the Members comments but I guess one has to take the job of developing land responsibly, in the sense that you do have to plan your developments. You do it in conjunction with the communities involved, that is, through the consultation process, whether it is by the authority of the municipality, of the band, or through the recreation associations in unorganized communities. We have a policy that calls for a stage-by-stage and step-by-step process for the development of land. We call it our orderly land development policy.
The Member cited Willow Acres and I dare say that a fair statement to make on Willow Acres is that it was planned too fast and it was inadequate planning. This is something that we are trying to prevent from happening again. If you take the needs of a community and you listen to what the community wants and you develop certain standards, you do not have to go back in to essentially patch up the unforeseen mistakes that may have come about without the necessary planning. I am open to suggestions for change in how we develop the land. I dare say that the government is in the unenviable position of being the major land developer for lack of competition in the field, I suppose, and we try to do a good job. If the Member has any suggestions on how we can improve or change that, let us hear them.
Mr. Brewster: We really should not get into a discussion on Willow Acres like that, but I am not going to accept what happened over there. First, I requested that it be country residential. The bureaucrats got into it and I sat at meetings where it was quite apparent that the people wanted it right next to the town, which was not country residential, and was not what I asked for.
I got up at the meeting and said the next thing you are going to have is a suburb of Haines Junction. We now have lots out there and I think you have sold one. They are running from about $21,000 to $38,000. To me that is almost the price of building a house. You buy a lot and you have a piece of land. You have no water on it. You have a great big fancy street, and that is not country residential. Now I even hear horror stories that they are going to put sewer and water in. This is what happens when the bureaucrats get it and it gets away from you.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am as reluctant as the Member opposite to get into a major debate about Willow Acres, but I have some recollection of that particular development and it was done in conjunction with the municipality. They approved what took place. The Member seems to have a finer recollection of who made the decisions, and I do not question that, but certainly, I have recollection of developing a subdivision in Faro about 12 years ago, and I felt just like the Member felt. We were fed up with the cost of a lot in the $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 range. In an effort to bring down those costs, because they related directly to development costs, there was an initiative in the community to get out there and develop the subdivision at the cheapest rate possible. I am sure the previous Minister in that administration will remember the community effort. The community went to the extent of grubbing their own survey lines and bringing in survey crews and putting them up for nothing and really working toward keeping the price down. Invariably, the costs were still there. This was 10 or 12 years ago and the cost still bore out at, I believe, between $8,000 and $10,000 a lot.
Now the Member talks about $18,000 and $20,000 lots. How do you make them cheaper? I do not know.
Mr. Brewster: I just brought this up because you are spending a lot of money and I do not want you to get into the same fiasco as we got into there. I also am going to object a little bit about what was said. You are right, the council did agree with it, but here again is one of these situations where you bring all the people in to talk. The people who voted, and I can name every one of them, do not even live there any more and never intended to live there. They worked for the government and they took transfers. They hooked the town with that because they wanted to be close to television and where the kids could walk to school.
That is not what the original people wanted. Now they are all up and down the road, 40 and 50 miles out of town, because they wanted to build their own place, and we are stuck with that. I just do not want you to be stuck with it all over the Yukon. Most of the people that sat at those meetings, and I can give you a list of every one of them, if you want, are gone. They never intended to live on those lots - just we will spend lots of money, we will show you how to do it. There was no common sense.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: One thing that has taken place during the last number of years is a planning and consultation process to make sure that community-developed lots were what they wanted and were at a price range related to the development standard opted for. This was a major initiative by the previous Minister, who took a sincere interest in the orderly development of land. The government would love to get out of the land development business. I do not think you will find the lots any cheaper. It is just the price of doing business and developing land.
Mr. Lang: I want to make a couple of observations with respect to the development of land. I think the government has a responsibility to look at the standards they are requiring. We have gone through this before. I have to question why we are going all the way to pavement, curbs and gutters. Why are we going to very high standards in some of these extensions to subdivisions? The previous Minister said it is the citys requirements. I think the Government of Yukon should be sitting down with the City of Whitehorse to find an alternative. Maybe we should be looking at doing some subdivisions with all those amenities and some with fewer.
One difficulty is that people cannot afford these lots. I would like to know how many people in this room can afford to buy a $30,000 lot and then start building. By the time you are finished building a normal home, you are looking at over $100,000. That is if you do a lot of work yourself. This concerns me. The normal guy cannot afford a $100,000 home. There are some thoughts that can be brought into it. We should take a look at our standards instead of throwing up our hands and saying that we cannot do anything about it. We can do something about it.
I will refresh the Members memory about what happened in Crestview with the mobile home subdivision. The decision was taken that it was initially going to be for stick-built homes. There was a shortage of mobile home lots and subsequently these lots were put on the market. It has been very successful because people could afford them. This is the point that has to be looked at very judiciously. I would suggest that it is in order to give housing in those areas where there is demand, we should be promoting the extension of privately owned mobile home parks and also providing mobile home private lots.
I know the Minister will say that they have made a deal in Granger and have cut some costs by making the lots smaller. In some cases they pay $20,000 per lot. That is still a lot of money. That is one of the reasons we are not selling the lots in Granger. That is why we have only sold five lots. Talk to people who want to build their own homes. A young couple of 21 or 22 years of age cannot afford $30,000. The money is just not there. They would be better off sitting and waiting for the government to build them a home. It is a vicious circle. My message is that maybe the standards can be looked at and, in some cases, revised. Down the road, we may have to put pavement in a subdivision. It is better to have the land available and have people building homes than having everyone playing poker and wondering if anyone is going to buy a lot. That is the alternative.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member raises a number of issues relating to land development. The principal issue he outlines addresses the standards of lot development. I can appreciate what he is saying. To the extent possible, those standards are addressed. The Member has to realize that in a development in the City of Whitehorse those standards are set by the city. Our development criteria have to meet the standards the city sets for us. If the Member wants to help me persuade the city to change the standards they demand for the developments, he is welcome.
We are providing a mobile home subdivision in the Granger subdivision, and the very question of standards is a matter of discussion right now. In our efforts to bring down the price of those mobile home lots, we addressed the option of putting overhead power lines in the back lanes of the lots, and the city is refusing to accept that standard; it wants underground lines. That bumps the price of that lot from $18,000 to $26,000. I agree, who really wants to buy a $26,000 mobile home lot?
I agree with the Member to the extent that standards are a reality of the development cost. Our policy is to meet the needs and the requests of the communities involved. In the case of Granger, the standards are set by the city. In the case of other rural communities, they are set by consultation with and support of the local authorities. I do not know what the answers really are.
Knowing from past precedents in land development, when you allow a minimum standard development to take place, you do a follow-up exercise of providing the upgraded services that you often wonder if you should not have put in in the first place. If you put in a trail, and you do not put in power, and you do not provide any school bus support, or you do not provide telephone, that is the service the local authority and the government get drawn into providing in later stages of the development.
If the Member is suggesting that we revert to that policy, that is fine and good. We will discuss it with the authorities that are involved in land development with us. The realities of land development are that it is expensive if you want the sewer, water, a good road, a telephone and electricity.
Mr. Lang: I noticed that there is $50,000 for the extension of Pine Street. Where is Pine Street going, and what are you doing with it?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am glad the Member raised the point. The summary statement on the $50,000 was inaccurate. It is in fact for residential in-fill in the Porter Creek area. There is some planning and geotechnical work intended to be done with the money. There has been no expenditure to date on this. Lands branch is going to be working with the city to identify areas within Porter Creek suitable for lot in-filling. I suspect it was rather ambitious of someone to suggest Pine Street. That is not accurate.
Mr. Lang: I would submit to you that it was outlined as Pine Street in this information provided to us on the community breakdowns. That is why I was asking the question. Is it the intention to in-fill lots on Pine Street or are we talking throughout Porter Creek and, if so, where?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The community-by-community summary on that single point is inaccurate. As I explained, it is for planning work to determine whether there are areas in Porter Creek that can be in-filled. It is to determine whether there are any lots or groupings of lots or extensions of streets that can be expanded. It is strictly a planning exercise with the City of Whitehorse, including some site testing.
Mr. Lang: Are we talking about areas that are presently zoned as open space and this type of thing? Is this what we are looking at?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is going to be an exercise with the city to determine what areas of Porter Creek may lend themselves to in-filling. Whether or not that includes areas now designated as open space or park land is not clear. I cannot answer that. Certainly when I have any information I will let the Member know.
Residential in the amount of $4,163,000 agreed to
On Rural Residential
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can go through the list as I did previously if that is deemed desirable.
Mr. Brewster: No, I do not think so. I have a couple of questions for the Minister. I presume this is the homesteading areas. Are there any more of these coming on line or is this just for improvements on the ones that are there? That is the first question. Another is that I have one in my area in the Mendenhall area and government people tell me they are not to keep those roads open and the homestead people tell me they are. What is the decision on that? I see the Minister of Renewable Resources already has the answer. He is shaking his head. I would like the Minister to make a decision on that, one way or the other.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am advised that there was no intention to maintain those roads in those homestead developments and that was part of the rationale behind keeping those prices down, the ones we just finished talking about. Is the Member making representation to start upgrading those and relating development costs to that?
Mr. Brewster: No way. I came from a homestead when I was a little boy and we did our own. Government did not come near us or we would have had a shotgun out. We looked after ourselves.
However, I am very serious about these people up there. I have been there and I do not know whether I would want to homestead in a bunch of rocks like that, but that is not my business. They are seriously thinking, and this is what happens, that since they have moved there they already have a place marked out for a playground. They have already talked to me about a school bus. No, I am not kidding you. I asked them why they moved out there. They are unrealistic. They moved out there and found out they had to come in 60 miles to bring their kids in and then back out. That is 120 miles per day that they put in. The kids want to come back in for hockey. You have a problem. It is not just your problem, this goes on and on. Remember when Tagish started? They are independent people who were going to look after themselves and now they have everything under the sun such as TV and BST and you are going to have another one at Mendenhall now and all the other places. Even though these people have signed an agreement on a homestead, they are already after this and are lobbying.
I am just warning the Minister that this is going to happen.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the warning; it goes back to the very discussion that we were involved with moments ago. One of the major initiatives of the previous Minister was to make cheap land available, and that was done, specifically in the homestead policy. I appreciate the warning and I can tell the Member further that my office has already received calls about the road, and I expect more to come. We are going to have to address that issue in terms of standards, the very standards that the hon. Members colleague was talking about.
Mr. Brewster: The only problem I am going to have with this is that apparently you have already found a loophole, because you cleared the old highway, which was supposed to be destroyed. You are clearing that so it means I have to go to check to see that you are not clearing the rest of it. I have to go about two miles off the road because of it. The argument your department puts out on this is that it is part of the old highway and it goes straight into the homestead area. I have no problem but it means that they have got the first two miles clear and they clear it of snow all the time already.
Mr. Phelps: I have a couple of questions under this item. First of all, I notice from the community breakdown that there is $475,000 for rural development in Hootalinqua North, and I would like to know where that is planned in that part of my great riding.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $475,000, at the time of budgeting, was intended for the development of Flats Creek. The Member may be familiar with that area on the north highway, on the Yukon River. That development is temporarily on hold pending our Hootalinqua North study. It may or may not proceed.
Mr. Phelps: And the rural development on Annie Lake Road - is that in-fill?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes, that is intended primarily for in-fill. It is expected that some 10 to 15 rural residential lots may be located between kilometre 140 and 158 of the Klondike. That falls in line with a considerable demand for rural residential land in that area.
Mr. Phelps: A final question on this item, I hope: the Carcross residential is $80,000. Are those lots that are going to be coming off the assembly line about two miles north of Carcross rural residential?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is talking about the vote in the residential portion, I believe. The short answer is yes.
Mr. Phelps: It was rural residential, as I understood it. They were fairly large lots, about two miles north of Carcross.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will undertake to the Member to more clearly provide him with an answer to follow. Currently, my information is that it is residential land, not rural residential. I will double check that. I trust he is drawing it from the community-by-community summary. In the residential land development, there is $80,000 allotted for Carcross development and, in the homestead area, there appears to be no money identified that I am aware of. I will double check the specifics of that development.
Mr. Phelps: There was some progress being made in regard to some lots that were rural residential in nature along the Carcross Road just north of town on the west side of the road. There was a road to be started just before Christmas of last year. When he does bring this back, perhaps he could give us an update on that. I will expect that later.
Should we not have an update on what is happening with the Chooutla subdivision in Carcross?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Could the Member advise if any of this information I have is not as he understands it? There were a number of homestead lots developed that are intended for release in the Carcross area this summer. At the same time, late last year there were seven residential lots that were released. Pricings on those lots was $6,000 and, to my knowledge, there have been no applications received.
Also last year, there was an evaluation done by YTG in the Carcross area for a number of lot development sites, homestead and residential. I have already indicated that seven lots were released last year. Work was begun on a homestead site: 15 lots in the homestead type of development planned for this summer. Perhaps that will clear up the Members questions.
Mr. Phelps: It goes a long way, but it does not answer what is happening with the Chooutla subdivision, which has been frozen, and we do not yet have a block land transfer from the federal government, to my knowledge. I gather the $80,000 for Carcross is for additional residential lots over and above the homestead lots that are coming onstream this summer?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes, the $80,000 is over and above what is coming onstream this summer.
On the Chooutla subdivision question, I take the question as notice.
Rural Residential in the amount of $1,550,00 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: If it is the wish of the Member, I can advise him of the plan developments for commercial land.
In Carcross, $10,000 is identified for a Stage 1 development, which will be primarily planning and engineering.
It is a similar planning stage in Watson Lake, for $10,000. Some commercial sites are going to be investigated in Haines Junction, for $20,000.
On the south access in Whitehorse, some additional work is identified, for $15,000. Under activity, Kopper King is the large one, at $500,000. Dawson has a commercial development, for $75,000.
Commercial in the amount of $630,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: In recreational development, $20,000 worth of work is intended at Lake Laberge. A cottage subdivision is intended in Watson Lake for $100,000. An additional $20,000 is intended for the Teslin-Morley Bay area. An additional $20,000 is for the Little Salmon Lake area. Mayo has identified $90,000. In the Whitehorse area, cottage lot development is planned, for $100,000.
Mr. Phillips: When we develop these cottage lots at lakes, do we do it the way they developed Judas Creek, in a subdivision like that?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As the Member realizes, that tends to pose some eventual problems so that is not the method used. The planning is done in conjunction with whatever community exercise can be developed. This avoids community developments such as that of Judas Creek.
Mr. Phillips: I have always been against the Judas Creek-type development. It reminds me of Wasaga Beach in Ontario where they stack you up like an actual subdivision. We have a lot of lake front in the territory. If we can afford to set aside 100 acres for a subdivision, we can spread the 100 acres out along the lakeshore so everyone can have a decent view and is not a mile away from the lake. If you are up on the back bench, you do not even know there is a lake there. I think we should try to place people along the lakes. We now have a better idea as to what areas are claimed under land claims. We can now do a little more planning and give people a real recreational cottage lot right on the water rather than a mile back from the lake.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The type of developments that turn into a concentrated development where you stack up lots and homes is not the planning process that is being done now. The policy attempts to scatter them as much as possible, not locate them in groupings, as the Member described. The department is responsible for planning future developments, and this goes on as much as reasonably possible within the resources of the department and with the available information on those areas that are available for development.
Recreational in the amount of $350,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $280,000 is broken down as follows: $150,000 worth of work in Dawson; $30,000 worth of work in Mayo; $100,000 worth of work in Hootalinqua North.
Mr. Phelps: With respect to the $100,000 for Hootalinqua North, what is planned?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Hootalinqua North agricultural activity is going to be comprised of $75,000 worth of planning work for an extensive agricultural development activity, meaning larger acreages, and $25,000 for intensive work. This work has been identified in some anticipation of what may be required once the Hootalinqua North plan is adopted. It will not be spent until that time. As I said, $25,000 is for intensive lot development. I cannot be more specific because the areas are identified only by the plan, which is not yet adopted and could change.
Mr. Brewster: Could you give me a breakdown on Dawson? When I add that up, it comes to $310,000, and you are only asking for $280,000. You are trying to get some money that you are not getting authority for.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My numbers added up to $280,000. There was $150,000 in Dawson, $30,000 in Mayo, and $75,000 and $25,000 in Hootalinqua North for the additional $100,000. That should add up to $280,000.
Agricultural in the amount of $280,000 agreed to
Quarries in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Non-Recoverable Legal Survey
Mr. Brewster: I would just ask why there was such a great difference between the year before and this year.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The non-recoverable item listed there relates to the Kopper King development because part of that development is going to be a public access road. There is no one to sell it to and recover the money.
Non-Recoverable Legal Survey in the amount of $175,000 agreed to
On Community Planning
Community Planning in the amount of $115,000 agreed to
On Planning and Engineering
Planning and Engineering in the amount of $250,000 agreed to
Lands in the amount of $8,103,000 agreed to
Chair: Is it the wish of the Committee to have a recess at this point? We will have a 15 minute break.
Chair: I call the Committee to order. Is there general debate on Community Services? We will proceed with line by line.
On Community Services
On Planning and Engineering
Planning and Pre-engineering in the amount of $160,000 agreed to
On Water Supply, Treatment and Storage
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I could list the projects that are planned for this fiscal year. They number about 14. Do the Member have specific questions?
Mr. Brewster: There is one thing: I receive telephone calls from a number of contractors in the small communities where the sewer and water lines are going in. They are very very concerned that they might not get to bid on this, that this might not be an open bid. This is not true, is it?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would curious as to which community has concerns. In the unincorporated communities where the Yukon government is responsible for the development and administration of the services, we go through the normal tendering procedures. The only exception to that is when the project management is undertaken by a local authority under a cost-sharing agreement or a capital assistance program. In some of the communities, an agreement is struck with the local band to manage the project. Those are the odd exceptions. In municipalities, the municipality is the authority for the project. In other words, it tenders the project. So there are essentially three different approaches. The most common one, of course, is the standard tendering procedure.
Mr. Brewster: Maybe we had better look at some of these, then. There are some rather large ones there. Can you tell me which ones are going to be for open for bidding by any contractors in the small communities?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There are two big ones in the category of the 14-odd water and sewer activities. One is an anticipated activity for $700,000 to be done this year in Haines Junction. That will be managed by the municipality, and it probably will be tendered. The other big one is for the water supply system to be put in place in Carcross. That is for $600,000. I guess that is under our jurisdiction and certainly, as far as I am aware, it is going to be publicly tendered under standard tendering procedures.
Those are the two big ones. There is an additional smaller one for $60,000 at Carmacks. The municipality will be in charge of that but I suspect we will assist it. The other $50,000 in Old Crow I can not predict but it may well be a capital assistance agreement. More likely, I am advised, we will do that one ourselves.
So there are two big ones and a number of smaller ones. The two big ones look like they are clearly going to be publicly tendered, one by the municipality and one by us.
Mr. Brewster: There is also one in Teslin for $465,000. Is that going to be a tender?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That technically falls into the next line under water and sewer mains. That one will probably be a capital assistance agreement with the band.
Mr. Phelps: I would just like to make some representations about the one in Carcross. I see that there is an item identified for $600,000. Recently there was a meeting in Carcross when the engineers had just been brought on stream. That meeting was to determine where the water was to come from and generally where it was to be put.
I guess my concern is first of all about the $600,000. It did not just drop out of the air. I have written a fairly lengthy letter and mailed it. I know copies were not sent to the Minister or officials of the Minister and I will send a copy over. I am very concerned about over design and designing for over capacity and it comes down to figures that really have not been thought through and are just a big guess. We got into that before in this debate, following through from Public Accounts.
In Carcross there is now a feeling almost that there is an attempt to over design deliberately in order to put the cost beyond the means of the band and the residents of the community itself.
I would just like to point out my disappointment with the vagueness of the funding and planning and advise that I certainly intend to follow this very closely and scrutinize it because over design would be tragic. The way it is being handled does not mean it is being made up or anything but the citizens are starting to think that maybe there is an attempt to try to do it beyond the means of the residents. I am disappointed. We will be watching closely because we want to see the project go ahead on a basis that is reasonable and meets the reasonable expectations and needs of the actual community of Carcross.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the Members representations. I trust the Member realizes that this is a very early stage of the project. The $600,000 identified is intended essentially to provide for a deep water pumphouse and planning for the future stages of the project. I take his points under advisement and I, too, will be scrutinizing the project closely and keep his concerns in mind in the context of the letter just received.
I heard that the deep water pump house facility for Teslin cost something like $1 million and the residents there are unhappy with the costs, and that is before they get water supplied. The water system has not been put in yet and I just feel there has to be some pretty careful thought given to some financial controls. I know that in Carcross nobody wants a fancy facility. They want the minimum that will work and meet their realistic future needs.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Again, I take his points under advisement. I accept his representation and can give him every assurance that we will, as in all projects, keep a close watch on this one, and I expect to communicate much more with the Member.
Mr. Brewster: I just have one more question on this. I notice that in Upper Liard you have a community well development for $90,000. What are you doing there, bringing a river in? The average well down to 400 to 500 feet does not go any more than $10,000 and that is a well that will have 400 feet of water in it.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I guess the information I can provide to the Member at this point is that the expenditure is intended to indeed provide for a ground water well supply and it has to be fitted to permit a truck to fill from it. I guess the supply for the community has largely been from Watson Lake prior to this. Part of the cost, I can tell the Member at this point, is the above ground connections and structure, and I can certainly undertake for the Member to provide a more detailed breakdown of the $90,000 cost.
Mr. Brewster: Thank God these people are not building one for me or I would have nothing left. Even my pants would be gone by the time you get through clipping around. It seems unreasonable to me, unless you are including the truck, but that a building to house one well would be $90,000 is unreasonable. Does this include drilling the well too, or is the well already drilled and we are just building the house?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I can tell the Member that this is the entire facility, which would include drilling the well, casing it, providing the pump house and the pump, and providing an access point for truck fill. It does not include the truck. Well, it may, but it may also require some special adaptors for the truck, which would be included in this. I can only undertake to the Member to refine those costs more specifically. These are the estimated costs for the drilling, the assembly, the powering and the supply for water.
Mr. Brewster: To drill a well with a six inch casing runs between $28 and $32 a foot, which includes the casing and the well. You can put a single cement block building up and, if that costs you $10,000, someone should be investigating it. You talk about a connection to put the truck on, which is a hose with an automatic valve inside so the water will run back in so it does not freeze. How does the Minister come up with $90,000? I would be very interested if the Minister would bring that back to me. Could the Minister bring back the plan for that so I can see what is actually going on?
I would also like to apologize to the Minister. We have a bunch who are sitting on tacks around here tonight; they are not being very damn smart.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will undertake to bring a refined cost breakdown for that $90,000 and provide it to the Member.
Water Supply, Treatment and Storage in the amount of $1,770,000 agreed to
On Water and Sewer Mains
Water and Sewer Mains in the amount of $1,710,000 agreed to
On Sewage Treatment and Disposal
Sewage Treatment and Disposal in the amount of $250,000 agreed to
On Solid Waste
Solid Waste in the amount of $125,000 agreed to
On Mosquito Control
Mosquito Control in the amount of $16,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Emergency Measures in the amount of $108,000 agreed to
On Fire Protection
Mr. Brewster: They built a drying room for their fire truck and a training room at Destruction Bay, yet, they have had one fire in four or five years. They asked to have that building fixed so they could put the ambulance in so it is not locked in the territorial government garage. In Haines Junction, for instance, the door is always open for the ambulance. There are a lot of volunteers. Yet, they were completely ignored every time on this and now they have a training room for which they have little use for. There is no reason why they could not train in the ambulance room and move the ambulance out and put it back after, and the door would be open all the time. It is quite understandable that the garage does not want people running in and out of there with the gates open, but the ambulance must be available at all times. Some of these volunteers do not work for the government.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take the Members representations, and I trust he speaks with some consensus from the community. My recollection was that what was constructed there was in full consultation with the fire and ambulance people of the communities. There were a number of changes made before the final construction was done. If we have a specific oversight that the Member thinks took place, I will be pleased to take that under advisement.
Mr. Brewster: I have not talked to them. They would probably give in, like they always do, because nobody listens to them anyway. The president of the community club and the president of the Lions Club have pointed out to me that they wanted the ambulance out there, and they did not really need a training room. This has gone on for some time. I have talked to people in the department about it but, apparently, they ended up with a training room anyway. It is of very little use to anybody.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am going to seek additional information to ensure that what is being said is accurate. I understand that what was constructed was not just a training room, but that there is an additional bay for the ambulance to be stored. If that is wrong, I will provide further information to the Member.
Mr. Brewster: This ruckus has being going on for at least one year. It was not mentioned the last time I was there. Unless it has been done within the last three or four months, to my knowledge it has not been done.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I was somewhat ahead of myself in making the assumption that it was done. Part of the intended expenditure is for this to be done.
Mr. Devries: Would this amount include the fire truck for Watson Lake?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes it would. There is an amount of $115,000 in that vote for the Watson Lake fire truck.
Mr. Devries: From talking with the Watson Lake Town Council, it is my understanding that they are not happy with this particular truck. I realize the one they want costs more, but they understood, when the municipality was incorporated, that the agreement was that they were getting a different model truck. I am not sure of the details surrounding it, but there are concerns regarding this fire truck.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am going to bow to my colleague, the former Minister and the current Minister of Finance, to explain the history relating to that project. I only have a vague recollection of the earlier understanding about the fire truck.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: In the last year, the Mayor of Watson Lake came to the government and indicated that he felt the terms of incorporation had been breached in that the government had not provided the Town of Watson Lake with a new fire truck upon incorporation. A review of the letter signed by the Minister of the day was undertaken to determine if Mr. Ravenhill was correct. The letter appeared to include a commitment for a fire truck that was better than the one that was currently in use in Watson Lake. Subsequently, the department has indicated its willingness to fund a new fire truck.
Subsequently, the Town of Watson Lake, in reviewing its needs, decided that the standard fire truck that is provided to municipalities upon incorporation was not sufficient to meet its needs. They indicated that the truck that they would like to have was in the $156,000 range. There were a number of extras that they wanted incorporated into the vehicle. The government at the time believed that the letter of incorporation committed a new fire truck of a certain model, and the government intends to live up to its obligation to provide that basic model.
If the town of Watson Lake would like to go for a much improved, fancier model then that is certainly a decision for them to make, but the department is doing what it promised to do for all communities of this size, upon incorporation, and basically the treatment of Watson Lake is no different than the treatment that was provided to other communities.
Fire Protection in the amount of $375,000 agreed to
On Ambulance Service
Ambulance Service in the amount of $282,000 agreed to
On Equipment Purchase
Equipment Purchase in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Hazardous Waste
Mr. Brewster: I want the Minister to explain that. That is a new item.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $100,000 is essentially to provide the planning requirements for a storage site for hazardous waste, as we have discussed in, I believe, a previous motion or two. At the time that the money was advanced, it was intended to provide for the storage of those hazardous wastes relating to government activities. As the Member is aware, the issue has taken on a much greater proportion and, in a much more global way, the government has undertaken a commitment to do a much more thorough assessment review and planning for hazardous waste product storage and disposal.
Hazardous Waste in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Planning and Pre-engineering
Planning and Pre-engineering in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Road Upgrade
Road Upgrade in the amount of $1,010,000 agreed to
Mr. Lang: Of what roads is he speaking?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There are a number of street and road upgrading activities intended in this vote. There is $50,000 identified for upgrading the Yukon College access road. There is street lighting identified in the community of Carmacks. There is road improvement in Carmacks for $30,000. There is upgrading of streets and roads in Ross River. There is considerable money in Burwash: $200,000. There is street upgrading in Destruction Bay, in Beaver Creek, and in Old Crow, as well as an additional $200,000 for Pelly.
Road Upgrade in the amount of $1,010,000 agreed to
On Recreation Facilities
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $834,000 consists of activity in several communities. There are community hall improvements and a septic system installation at Keno.
There are some community hall improvements at Tagish, some community centre money for Ross River and money for curling rink construction in Destruction Bay, for $270,000.
Mr. Phelps: Is there no money in the budget for a re-vote or otherwise for the Carcross community club relocation and planning?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am advised there is planning money in the 1988-89 budget that will likely be re-voted. It just does not show up in this budget.
Mr. Lang: I have a question in respect to Ross River. Is this the money for the expansion of the infamous arena? If not, where is it?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The amount identified here is indeed to finish off the existing arena, the community centre portion and the community campus and library facilities: $497,000 of that $834,000 is identified for the Ross River arena.
Mr. Lang: Is there also any money for the community centre in Ross River as well over and above this? I thought I heard the Minister say there was money going into the community hall as well. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: They are one and the same. The community centre is within the Ross River expenditure. It is the completion of the job.
Mr. Lang: What happens to the old community hall? Is that just going to be closed down? It is where the curling rink is.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My understanding is that ultimately and eventually it probably will be closed down unless the community has an alternate need for it. At this point, I do not know anything further about the old hall.
Mr. Lang: In the O&M, can he provide us with the rental costs for the accommodations for the various government services that are going to be renting that space from the community club? What will the cost be on an ongoing basis? You must have those projections in there. And when we get to the O&M Mains, can he tell us whether or not they are incorporated in the Budget?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I certainly have no problem in bringing forward those figures. There were calculations done and I am sure they will be showing up in the O&M, and I can cite them there.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that you report progress on Bill No. 51.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. May we have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 51, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1989-90, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. House Leader that the House do now adjourn.
Motion agreed to
Speaker: This House now stands adjourned until 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.
The House adjourned at 9:30 p.m.
The following Legislative Return was tabled April 5, 1989:
Human Rights Commission - matter of unpaid taxes to City of Whitehorse, and financial procedures. (M. Joe)
Oral, Hansard, p. 172
The following Filed Document was filed April 5, 1989:
Petition entitled Lets have a school for Mary Lake, Wolf Creek, Golden Horn, Carcross Road and Marsh Lake. (Phelps)