Tuesday, April 11, 1989 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: Is there Introduction of Visitors?
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I wonder if I can ask your indulgence to introduce my newest constituent, Robin Kelly Reid Fraser, at the age of two weeks, who is here in the gallery with her parents, Allison Reid and Max Fraser.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for Tabling?
Introduction of Bills?
Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
Statements by Ministers?
This then brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Operation Falcon
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions regarding a motion passed in this House on December 9, 1987 calling for a full public inquiry into Operation Falcon. Initially, the motion called this government to cause the inquiry to be made in the event that the Government of Canada had not established such an inquiry within 90 days of the receipt of this resolution. I questioned the previous Minister more than 90 days after the motion was passed and he advised a resolution was sent by him to the federal government on December 14, 1987.
My question of the Minister of Justice is, first of all, does she know whether or not the federal government has initiated a public inquiry of Operation Falcon?
Hon. Ms. Joe: As the Member has indicated, the resolution did go to the federal Minister of Justice, and we have not received a response back from him. I have taken it upon myself to write a letter to the federal Minister, asking him for a response to that letter, and I have not as yet received a reply.
Mr. Phelps: The original resolution as amended by the government side was passed unanimously in this House. Why has the government not yet convened a public inquiry, as the resolution called for?
Hon. Ms. Joe: As I indicated, the previous Minister was waiting for a response from the federal Minister, and that response did not come. I am, at this time, waiting for him to respond. The letter went out, I think, about three weeks ago, or more.
Mr. Phelps: As the time has long since lapsed that should have triggered the calling of the inquiry, does the government intend to go along with that motion that they voted for and initiate a public inquiry into Operation Falcon?
Hon. Ms. Joe: As I mentioned before, I would like to be able to make a decision on that, but first I am waiting for that initial response, and I will not know until that time whether or not I will be making the decision to have an inquiry into.
Question re: Operation Falcon
Mr. Phelps: Will the Minister advise this House why she has to wait for a response from the Government of Canada, when the motion as amended calls for the public inquiry to be initiated by this government if the Government of Canada did not respond by initiating its own inquiry within 90 days of the receipt of the resolution? Fifteen months have gone by, not 90 days.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I would like to know first of all whether or not the federal government will have its own inquiry, and until I have that information I cannot make a decision. I hope that I will get a response to that letter.
Mr. Phelps: I would like to say that I can not believe it, but unfortunately I can, given the record of the side opposite. The motion said that, after 90 days, if the federal government had not started its own inquiry, this government would cause an inquiry to be started under our appropriate act.
Can the Minister tell us if there are going to be further delays or if they intend to live up to the spirit and the letter of the resolution which was, after all, amended by their side and passed unanimously.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member has asked if there are going to be further delays. I suppose the answer to that is that we are still waiting for that response. If the federal government chooses not to have an inquiry, then we would have to make some kind of a decision on how soon we might be able to have an inquiry here.
Mr. Phelps: It is outrageous. The 90 day period is in the motion we all voted for. Does the Minister not understand that? If the federal government did not cause an inquiry to be commenced within 90 days that this government was to conduct its own public inquiry?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have already responded to the Member. The inquiry that has been asked for in the motion is not a small thing. It requires an awful lot of planning, money and other things. I would like to first of all find out if the federal government is going to do it, and I am still waiting for that answer. I hope to get one very soon.
Question re: Operation Falcon
Mr. Phelps: To me, and I am sure to a good many Yukoners, it appears that this government does not want to see a public inquiry held. Maybe the federal government does not either. Maybe they are in collusion on this. All we, the people of the Yukon and all the Members of this Legislature are demanding, by debating this motion seriously in the House and passing it unanimously, is that we get to the bottom of what actually took place during Operation Falcon. That is really the issue.
I would like to know whether or not the Department of Justice has done any preliminary planning with regard to estimating the cost of a full public inquiry by this government.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I cannot tell you whether or not we have an estimated cost of what the inquiry would cost. I realize there was a motion with an amendment to it that was unanimously passed in this House. The other thing is that there are a lot of things involved. You do not call an inquiry without a lot of thought being put into what it is going to cost and who is going to be involved. I understand the seriousness of the motion, but I am waiting for that reply. I realize the 90 days have passed. A number of things have happened since then, and there are other pressing needs, although this is a pressing need as well.
I cannot say anything else except that I would like to be able to find out what the federal government is going to do before we make a decision to spend tons of money.
Mr. Phelps: Aside from estimating the cost, has any planning whatsoever been done with regard to what would be involved in conducting a public inquiry by this government into Operation Falcon? Has any groundwork been done? It is now more than 15 months after the motion was passed and sent to the federal government.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I think some steps have been taken. I am not exactly sure about the information that would have been received in regard to that, but I am sure the department is not sitting still and doing nothing. We certainly do not ignore all the motions that are passed in the House.
Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister take this under advisement and come back to me soon, in order to advise the House when her department is going to get its act together and live up to the clear intent of the motion, as amended by the side opposite? Can she come back and tell us what steps are going to be taken and when?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I can do that. As I have mentioned before, there are a lot of things to consider in regard to an inquiry, and one of them is the cost. I imagine the cost that would come out of an inquiry like that would be tremendous. They are always talking about mismanagement and over spending. If the federal government can come back and let us know they are going to do it, then that would be the answer we would need. If he wants information back from me, I would certainly take it under advisement to find out what is in place right now or what has happened in regard to a public inquiry.
Question re:Operation Falcon
Mr. Phelps: I would hope that the Minister understands that one of the reasons for wanting this inquiry to take place is to try to save both governments in the future, so that this kind of elaborate exercise, this abuse of individual rights and freedoms at the expense of the taxpayer and the expense of innocent defendants never takes place again. Does she understand that one of the reasons for all of the people in this House supporting the motion was simply to try to make sure that this kind of waste and this kind of oppression by the bureaucracy does not happen again? She can see that this is one of the salient points that was recognized during debate.
Hon. Ms. Joe: Of course I do.
Question re: Valdez oil spill publicity
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister of Tourism.
On CBC Radio this morning a representative from the Southeast Alaska Tourism Marketing Council expressed some very strong concerns about the effect the Valdez oil spill may have on tourism. In light of Alaskas concern of a negative effect, and the fact that a large number of Yukon visitors are on Alaskan tours, has the Government of the Yukon taken any action to counter this negative publicity?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, at this time the Government of the Yukon has not taken any direct action to counter this adverse publicity. However, on that newscast this morning it was reported that extensive work has been done by this Southeast Alaska Tourism Marketing Council in putting advertising into 30 publications in the lower 48 states. We plan to raise this matter at the the Tourism Industry Association board of directors monthly meeting, to be held this Thursday, for appropriate action from our government and our industry. I will keep the Member informed as to any recommendations coming from that meeting.
Mr. Phillips: Last year we saw a 10 percent decline in tourists coming to the Yukon, partly because of our slow reaction to the Alaska Highway slide. Will the Department of Tourisms officials contact Alaska officials to immediately discuss ways that this misinformation about the Alaska oil spill can be corrected?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, we will. In fact, our marketing representative will be attending the Alaska marketing council meeting, to be held at the end of this month, to discuss the matters related to last years problems, as well as the one we are currently facing.
Mr. Phillips: In my conversations this morning with Alaska officials I have confirmed that there are two meetings taking place. One is in Sitka this Thursday and Friday; this is the Southeast Alaska Marketing Council. The other is a special task force meeting convened by the Alaskan Marketing Council in Anchorage on Tuesday, April 18, to specifically discuss the negative effects of the oil spill on tourism. Both of these groups...
Speaker: Order, please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Phillips: ...both of these groups indicated that they would be pleased to have Yukon representation.
Will the Minister assure this House, today, that the Yukon will send a representative to both of these meetings, so that we may coordinate our efforts to minimize any damage that may have resulted from the negative publicity over this oil spill?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Well, we will certainly look into the possibility of attending those meetings if you think that they are to our advantage at this time. There is one in Sitka being held on Thursday and Friday of this week. I will take it under advisement.
Question re: Tourism publicity campaign
Mr. Devries: My question is for the Minister of Tourism. In a survey conducted by the marketing branch on entry/exit questionnaires, 30 percent of the tourists travelling the Alaska Highway said that they did not reach their destination points due to, amongst other things, terrible road conditions.
Will the Minister of Tourism make a commitment to a comprehensive advertising program to counteract the obviously bad publicity being spread by the disgruntled tourists?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I gather the Member is referring to the exit survey that was conducted in 1987 at which time he suggests that 30 percent of tourists did not reach their destination because of poor road conditions. That is news to me. I do not think that poor road conditions were encountered in Yukon with the unusual exception of last years disaster on the Alaska Highway. I would expect that most problems were encountered in British Columbia on the Alaska Highway. I could see it causing some concern for tourists wishing to continue their journey.
As to whether or not it is our responsibility to carry out what should be the job of the Government of British Columbia and of the federal government, we are certainly willing to do what we can in that regard to improve the situation, but I do not think there is a lot we can do.
Mr. Devries: I am not sure of the year either, but I got this from the chamber of commerce in Watson Lake. I am sure that the Minister is aware that if they cannot get through BC, they will not get here.
What publicity campaign will the government put in place to inform tourists of the Alaska Highway road conditions in order to encourage them to travel on to the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We have recently established a tripartite arrangement with the Governments of Alaska and British Columbia. We made a contribution of $200,000 to a two-year program to promote RV traffic along the Alaska Highway to promote the 1992 celebration of the Alaska Highways 50th birthday. That money will be used to promote the route through the three jurisdictions, and I think some very positive elements will come out of that marketing campaign.
Mr. Devries: What program will the Minister put in place to ensure that accurate highway information is available to RV travellers when they reach the Yukon? Such as in Watson Lake?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member is aware, we put out a special publication for the benefit of the RV travelling public that is made available at all the Visitor Reception Centres. All the information contained in that pamphlet is very factual.
Question re: Alaska Highway completion
Mr. Devries: It seems the message did not get out in 1988.
Again, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. A few weeks ago, in Juneau, our delegation met with the Commissioner of Transportation and discussed the Alaska Highway upgrading. In the course of this discussion, we raised the possibility of striking a joint task force made up of Alaska, BC and Yukon officials. The purpose of this task force would be to lobby Ottawa and Washington in a coordinated effort to obtain funding to complete the Alaska Highway. I would like to ask the Minister today if he would start the ball rolling by calling on Alaska and BC to get their participation in this lobbying effort.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am quite pleased to tell the Member that that work and effort has already been initiated upon their return from Alaska, where the delegation met with various groups, including Commissioner Hickey, and where it was suggested that a working group be established to determine ways and means to approach Alaska Highway upgrading. My officials are in communication with Alaska and British Columbia and federal counterparts, and the task force, or working group if you will, is being established now.
I might also point out for the Members benefit that I am currently in communication with the federal minister on the very subject and I hope to advise further on that subject later.
Mr. Devries: As the Member for Watson Lake, I would like to assure the Minister that I support this task force and will assist him in any way I can.
Question re: Alaska Highway wash out
Mr. Brewster: My question is to the Minister of Tourism. I previously asked his colleague, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services, about contingency plans should the Alaska Highway North wash out again. Since last years wash out was so devastating to Yukon tourism, I would like to know what contingency plans the Department of Tourism has developed should this unfortunate situation happen again.
Hon. Mr. Webster: In the event that we were to experience a similar misfortune this summer, the Department of Tourism has not come up with any contingency plan other than to promote, of course, the other route into Alaska, which is the Taylor Highway in Alaska and the Top of the World Highway in Yukon. That would be our contingency plan at this time.
Mr. Brewster: It is very apparent where this government is going and Kluane National Park and the World Heritage Site and everything can just fold up. Can the Minister advise the House what extra tourism marketing and promotion the Tourism Department has done to counteract the negative impact left over from last years wash out, except to send them into Dawson?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I just finished explaining to the Member for Watson Lake a number of things we have done to counter the bad experience suffered by some unsuspecting tourists last year, and that was, of course, to publish that pamphlet for the benefit of RV travelers, through this joint-marketing strategy with British Columbia/Alaska, to promote travel on the Alaska Highway.
As I have already mentioned, that wash out last year was a rather unfortunate and unique experience. We had a record amount of rainfall contributing to the slides. Not only did it not stop raining for a considerable length of time, which contributed to more slide activity, but the weather all along the Alaska Highway was bad. To be quite honest with you, with the prospect of another two weeks of forecasted poor weather, I think I might have even been tempted to turn back.
Mr. Brewster: Would the Minister send me one of those pamphlets that went to the United States and assured them the road was all right?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I could not show the Member one pamphlet that was issued and sent down to the lower 48 states at the time of the slides. I am trying to say we experienced an unusual amount of rainfall that contributed to the problem. I do not care if we have to put full-page ads in 300 publications in the States. If it is still raining in British Columbia, and the forecast is for rain for the next two weeks, people are not going to travel up the Alaska Highway and have a six-hour wait at Dawson City to cross the ferry, if they are that intent to go to Alaska. Unfortunately, that is the fact of the matter.
Question re: Alaska Highway wash out
Mr. Lang: I would like to follow up on that with the Minister. The point of the question is what has been done over this past winter as far as information being distributed into the United States that the Alaska Highway is going to be in the condition where we are not going to continue to experience the decline we had this past year, or a further decline. Would the Minister table the information that was sent and used over the course of this past winter to assure potential visitors to the Yukon that the Alaska Highway is going to be in a condition that RV and other vehicles would be able to safely travel on?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I would be pleased to table such information that was provided to potential travelers in North America about the safety and accessibility of the Yukon and Alaska via the Alaska Highway. Of course, a considerable amount of work on that was done over the course of the winter in our travel shows that toured some of the southern States. This information has been passed on to all travel agencies that do bookings on tours into the Yukon and Alaska. As the Member knows, a lot of bus tours travel that route. They are all assured that the Alaska Highway is a viable means of getting to and through the Yukon Territory.
Question re: Ross River arena
Mr. Lang: I understand bids were submitted for the addition to the Ross River arena a number of weeks ago, and I understand they were under consideration by the government. Can the Minister of Government Services confirm that the government has canceled those particular tenders?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe I previously advised the Member that the tender call that was put out resulted in bids that were far in excess of the budget. Following that, there was an investigation done by fire officials to determine whether or not some costs could be pared down. I understand that is now completed, and department officials are in discussion with the proponents of the original tender. I do not know the final outcome of that round of discussions.
Mr. Lang: I want the record to be clear. Is he telling the House that the lowest tender is still being considered by the government?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That is my understanding. The four contractors that submitted bids are being approached and there are discussions regarding how to approach what amounts to a slightly changed scope of the project, given that some equipment originally intended to be installed will no longer be installed. I understand that officials are in discussion with the contractors involved.
Mr. Lang: I do not understand this. I have received information stating that the lowest tender has been told verbally that it is not going to be awarded to them. I do not understand why you would be talking to the four contractors that had bid unless you intended to retender.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to take notice of the question as to whether or not it is going to be retendered. My understanding is that because the project has now changed in scope because some fire equipment originally planned to be installed is no longer required. Given that slight change to the focus of the job and that it would ordinarily cost less now to construct, department officials are in communication with the four contractors who submitted bids.
Question re: Ross River arena
Mr. Lang: The Ross River arena is another chapter in the soap opera. The Public Accounts Committee tabled a document in this House over a year ago, outlining what procedures should be followed in respect to capital planning and for the purposes of tendering. I do not understand why, after having this document for over a year, we are now in a situation where the department budgeted $600,000 for this job and bids came in over $900,000 to start and they were competitive bids, within six percent, to be precise, between the lowest two tenders. Could the Minister tell us why we would tender a project budgeting $600,000, when the department and the Minister must have known that if was going to cost in a range of $800,000 to $1 million?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think the Member opposite has to get his position straight. On one hand, he criticizes us for going over budget. On the other hand, he criticizes me for taking a look at those very costs to bring things within budget. That is simply what was done. Tenders came in far in excess of what was budgeted. It was a reasonable exercise to examine those costs. That was done. The contractors are in communication with department officials. I do not know the resolution of that round of discussions. I would be pleased to advise the Member when I know.
Mr. Lang: The point is, we have been experiencing overruns in all areas of the government, especially in capital expenditures. The question that I am putting to this Minister is why an accurate estimate of the cost of this particular project was not put into the budget. Can he explain to this House how we got a figure of $600,000 when the low tender came in over $900,000?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The short answer is that the estimate is low or the anticipated costs were high; it is a combination of those two factors. The Member has to respect that when a tender comes in nearly 50 percent over budget, someone has to take a seriously look at it, and I did.
Mr. Lang: There is a principle here. The fact is that you have gone out and said to this House and to everybody, we have a project that is going to cost approximately $600,000. Now we are dealing with the scope of nearly $1 million. These are Yukon contractors who have bid on this project...
Speaker: Order, please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question?
Mr. Lang: I would like a new question, Mr. Speaker.
Question re: Ross River arena
Mr. Lang: Yukon contractors have bid on this project, at great expense to themselves. It cost thousands of dollars plus hours of time to submit a bid. Now, by not proceeding with the project, these people Yukon business people are out these dollars.
I would ask the Minister this and this is not the first time that this has happened, they are numerous, the young offenders facilities and others there are numerous such projects where tender contracts have been called and then canceled. Is the Minister prepared to reimburse, at least in part, these contractors for the work and time and effort that they have put in to tender? They have, after all, tendered in good faith
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I think the Member realizes that there is no precedent to be paying for contractors to prepare their bids. I hope the Member is not suggesting that when we get eight bids on a project we reimburse the seven unsuccessful bidders on the work they did in preparing their bids.
I want the Member to recognize that we have not finalized a decision that the project is not going ahead. The project is clearly going ahead; however, the projects scope has changed. Those discussions of the projects scope change, in recognition of a reduced budget for the project, are currently taking place with the contractors. That is a proper and fair approach to take. I do not know the outcome of those discussions but I would expect to know that shortly.
Mr. Lang: The point I am making here is that people have put a lot of time and effort and work into these tenders, in good faith, thinking that these projects are going to be tendered to the lowest tender, unless there is good reason to the contrary.
Here is another example where a low tender was submitted. There were competitive bids and yet the government has had to change its mind, at expense to these individuals involved. That is the point I am making.
If a final decision has not been made, when is it going to be made? You cannot have these contractors wait forever while the government tries to make up its mind about what it does not now need in the project that was tendered in the first place.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: With respect to the Ross River Arena and the issue of the tenders coming in way over budget, I dealt with the Contractors Association at a meeting when that first arose, approximately two to three weeks ago, and I flagged that as a problem. We had a discussion about the problem and there was a full and thorough understanding at that time that we were going to re-examine what we were doing. We did that. The result is that the scope of the project has changed. It would be entirely inconsistent to award it now without a full discussion of that project scope change.
The net result of this is that we are in the process of discussing, with those contractors, the manner of the award. If there is no resolution to the discussions, perhaps a new invitational tender may be one of the possible outcomes, or one of the possible approaches to take, and the four contractors asked to rebid. Or, perhaps some agreement can be reached where one contractor will be accepted the previous low one. I do not know. Those are discussions taking place, in a fair, up front manner.
Mr. Phelps: With due respect, it just seems to me that the Minister is missing the point. Here we have a department making estimates and, once again, they are out by more than 50 percent with regard to the real-world cost of the project. This has happened again and again and it is costing the taxpayers all kinds of money. Does the Minister realize that these extremely faulty estimates by the department are a source of many problems and extravagant waste? Is his department going to do something about making the estimates more accurate?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is making a number of assumptions, many of which are false. One of those false assumptions is that all the estimates are wrong. That is not necessarily the case. The fact is, and the Member knows, that budgeted amounts for projects are tabled in the House. Everybody knows what those figures are. When a tender comes in far in excess of the budgeted amount, I would be curious to know whether or not the Member is suggesting that we proceed at whatever price. That is certainly not the responsible approach.
To the Members issue about what process we are using, I think we have had numerous debates in Estimates about the approach being taken by this government with respect to project manual development, which is currently nearing the final stages of approval. This government is taking a responsible approach to project planning, engineering and to the implementation of construction. That is what is taking place here as well.
Mr. Phelps: These words are wonderful, but we are definitely not seeing it. I can talk about Carcross with its water system for $600,000. That was put in the budget before they knew where the water was coming from or going to. That is supposed to be good estimating? This was a competitive bidding situation where various contractors bid the project and were within six percent of each other, yet the lowest estimate was out by more than 50 percent. Surely, the Minister recognizes a serious problem. I would like to know if the Minister is seriously going to try to have his department do a better job of estimating.
He cannot stand there and tell me that the water project in Carcross...
Speaker: Order, please. Will the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Mr. Phelps: ...was good and he did not even know where the water was coming from when they put it in the book.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to tell the Leader of the Official Opposition, with respect, that he, too, has to get his position clear. The $600,000 that was budgeted in his community for what he refers to as water and sewer services was specifically for a pump house. He knows that and I said that. It has everything to do with where the water was coming from or what the overall multi-year costs of the project were. With respect to the business of estimates, on the one hand the Member says, You have a problem; you have to deal with it. I deal with it and he says, You have a problem, you should not deal with it.
Mr. Phelps: I am suggesting that the estimates have to be more accurate and based on realistic plans and realistic costs. The Carcross pump house and reservoir situation were not based on anything. It was just a blind, wild guess. One has to presume it was a blind, wild guess...
Speaker: Order, please. Could the Member please get to the supplementary question.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member should not say there was a blind figure put into the budget with respect to the Carcross fire pump. That was a calculated and pre-engineered cost, and included a pump house. That is not an accurate statement to make.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed with Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
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. Government 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: Committee of the Whole will now come to order. At this time, we will have a brief recess.
Chair: Committee of the Whole will now come to order.
Bill No. 51 First Appropriation Act, 1989-90 continued
Chair: We will proceed with debate on Bill No. 51.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I have some information that was asked for by the Member for Riverdale South. I would like to pass this over to her.
Chair: For information, we are going back to the vote that was stood under Justice, court facilities.
Department of Justice
On Court Facilities Renovations
Hon. Ms. Joe: This is a project to review the facilities used by Yukon courts throughout the territory. It was begun in 1986. The requirements of amendments to the Criminal Code passed by the federal government under Bill C-15 necessitated a review of whether the facilities the courts used could accommodate the changes. Those changes are surround the need to make special provisions for child victims, including giving evidence in a separate room, separate entrances to the court and visual separation in the courtroom. At the same time, consideration was given to court facility standards and forecasting of future demands.
In 1986, the department had an architectural assessment prepared, a review of court facility needs throughout the Yukon and an evaluation of the space requirements for court administration support. Such things as environmental conditions, building services, appearance and public access are addressed in this multi-year upgrading project.
During 1989-90, the first stage will prioritize the facilities upgrading requirements from among those identified and begin a staged approach. The changes or enhancements to the facilities used by the courts, but owned by other agencies, will be done in consultation with those agencies in a timely manner most suitable to them as well as the court. Examples of deficiencies identified that will be rectified over the full term of the project are: the need for separate evidence interview rooms in Carmacks and Haines Junction; a general problem in most locations with acoustics; lack of disabled access in several locations; better lighting needed in Faro and Mayo; and general requirements for clerical and administrative work. Once completed, this project will provide facilities to support operations of the Yukon courts in all locations to a standard that meets statutory requirements as well as to a standard that supports efficient operation of the courts.
I have also added to the document that I passed over to the Member, the facilities assessment matrix. The Member asked for specifics with regard to the kind of projects that we would be doing. As I indicated to her, we would be specifying which of those facilities would be prioritized and which ones we could work on. For instance, there is indication in the information that I sent her that there are certain things that are acceptable or unacceptable and it is our intention to renovate those facilities on a multi-year basis. We cannot do it all in one year. We will start this year with the amount that we are asking to be voted in this House today.
I am sorry. Last night I indicated to the Member that I would bring recommendations and a copy of the evaluations to her. I have not done that. Those documents that we have right now are internal working documents and that is what we are using to do this project.
Mrs. Firth: Since I have not seen the information yet, I would like to ask some general questions about what is happening.
I understand from the Minister that there has been an architectural assessment done regarding court administration support, and, as a result of that, we have a multi-year upgrading project for $450,000 in the Ministers budget. I think it is safe to say, that is a fact.
So the Minister is now telling us that there will be a staged approach as to the renovations. Is she saying then that the $65,000 is to be spent this year just to begin that, or that there have been no decisions made yet as to where exactly that $65,000 is going to be spent? Is that correct?
Hon. Ms. Joe: As I indicated to the House previously, we will be doing a review to find out which facilities we can work on within that $65,000 budget. There are many facilities that require certain things to meet the requirements, and through this review, we will find out which of those facilities we can actually do this year. There is also some other information we have to find out as well, and that is, as I mentioned last night, in regard to some of the community halls or band halls that have already been renovated that may have met the requirements for court facilities since this information was given to us.
Mrs. Firth: The way I understand it, the Department of Justice rents accommodations in communities from the communities or the bands in which to hold circuit court. Is that correct? The Minister is nodding her head indicating, Yes, that is correct.
Why is the Department of Justice being asked to make an identification of capital funds to upgrade these facilities? If the community halls and the bands are renting those facilities to the government, they have programs like the Local Employment Opportunity Program, through the community block funding and so on, where they could get the money. They could upgrade the facility to the needs of the user who is renting it, which in this case is the Department of Justice. They could provide the kind of facility or service that the department needs, and then we would not need this almost $500,000 capital expenditure within the Department of Justice. So, I would like to ask the Minister why it is not happening that way. Why are the bands or communities that are providing those kinds of services to the government not being asked to be responsible, through some of the programs that are available within government, to provide the service to the department so that they do not have to have a capital allotment and will do the capital renovations themselves?
Hon. Ms. Joe: One of the things that I talked about last night is that there were ongoing projects in communities where community band halls and community halls were being renovated. In some cases, the requirements needed to put the buildings up to standard were done, but not in all cases. We do not rent all of the facilities; there are some that we do own. There are some cases where communities have not had the kind of funding available to meet the requirements that we need for our court facilities, but certainly some of the requirements have been met and I think I can safely say that consultation has been carried out in some of the communities where some of the renovations have taken place under LEOP projects.
Mrs. Firth: I guess that is part of the reason why we would like to have access to the studies that were done and the recommendations. I can appreciate the Minister saying that it is an internal working document but how can we make any assessment of where potential duplications could occur? All of the things that the Minister has mentioned the interview rooms, the acoustic problems, the disabled access, better lighting, administrative work space are areas that, other than the government-owned buildings, could be eligible for assistance to enhance them.
For example, one of the band offices or a community centre would be eligible to come to the government and Housing Corporation for disabled assistance, local employment opportunity and the community block funding. There must be a handful of areas where they would be able to get funding to upgrade the facility, and then could rent it back to the government. This way, the Justice Department is paying for the capital renovations and then renting it back from the community. I am concerned that the taxpayer is getting the most efficient use of their dollar and, in order to make that determination, I feel that I have to have the assessment that was done so that I have some idea of where they are going to be going and in what areas there are shortfalls. I could perhaps make positive recommendations as to other alternatives. I do not know if those alternatives have been examined or not.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member is right in that there are many other programs that are available to those groups and community agencies that we rent the facilities from. It is also true, as I said, that some of them have taken advantage of some of the projects that are available. It is not our intention to spend money and go hog-wild doing these facilities. Certainly there will be a review done in regard to finding out exactly what has to be done to upgrade those facilities. In some cases the communities we are renting the facilities from are aware that these requirements are necessary. I am positive that we will be able to come to some agreement on how it will be done.
There are certain court facilities that this government owns, for instance, that we can start renovating as well. There are facilities in some of our communities where wheelchair access is needed. The money that has to be spent there of course cannot be done by a community because those are our own facilities, but certainly we are looking for the cooperation of those bands and those community groups in regard to these renovations.
Mrs. Firth: Perhaps the Minister could tell us if this $450,000 multii-year cost is the total amount for the whole architectural assessment? Were they recommending that $450,000 be spent to complete all the renovations and upgrading required?
Hon. Ms. Joe: That $450,000 is not a figure that came out of the architectural design. It is an estimate that was established after the design and after receiving information that we needed.
Mrs. Firth: I wonder if the Minister could give me a listing of the communities where the government owns court facilities and where they rent them. I do not need that immediately but I would like that for the O&M Estimates.
Hon. Ms. Joe: I could provide her with that information.
Court Facilities Renovations in the amount of $65,000 agreed to
Court Facilities in the amount of $74,000 agreed to
Chair: We will go back to the total on page 270.
Justice in the amount of $156,000 agreed to
Renewable Resources - continued
Chair: We will proceed with general debate on Renewable Resources.
Mr. Lang: I want to follow up a little further about the predator control programs and the Ministers comments of last evening.
Is it the Ministers opinion that the predator control program with respect to the caribou herd was a success?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, I would certainly call it a success.
Mr. Lang: The Minister spoke very briefly about the prospect of further predator control programs. Could he elaborate further? We have some major problems in Zone 7 and 9, which is no secret to anyone. Does he have any comments on this?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, some options for consideration with respect to predator control will be brought forward to the wildlife management board for review and it will be making recommendations to me on that matter.
Mr. Lang: When does the Minister expect these proposals to be before the management board? When does he expect the recommendations to come forward for his consideration?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This will not go before the management board before early this fall. I would expect to receive recommendations shortly thereafter from the Wildlife Management Board.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to go back to see if I can get some answers on something I could not get answers to last year, and that is the agreement with the University of British Columbia. That agreement says the location of this study will be within the Kluane Game Sanctuary. Has there been any change?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Some of the study will be conducted within the game sanctuary, and some of it will be conducted outside the game sanctuary.
Mr. Brewster: Why does it not say that in the agreement? Do they have permits to be experimenting outside the game sanctuary?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, they have.
Mr. Brewster: Did they get a new permit last summer to come as far down as between Sulphur Lake and Jarvis Creek, which is approximately 20 miles from Christmas Creek?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not have those specific details on that particular matter but, apparently, all the permits are in place.
Mr. Brewster: Was there a new contract or agreement made so they can run all over the whole highway up there?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will have to get back to the Member with specific details on his request.
Mr. Brewster: I presume they have been filing their reports correctly on November 1 of every year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is correct.
Mr. Brewster: When are they going to fix the well at the Pine Lake campground so people do not come to my house at 10:00 at night and ask to get some water?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It will be done this summer.
Mr. Brewster: This has been going on every summer but, unfortunately, as soon as they fix it, it freezes again. Are we going to prevent this from freezing so they will not continually come up to my house all the time?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As a point of clarification, is the Member suggesting he has campers coming to his place in the middle of winter?
Mr. Brewster: Yes, they try to get water out of a well that is frozen, and is frozen until nearly the end of September. There is a large lake there that is probably nine miles long with water running in, but these are city people so they come to the nearest house, which is a mile away, and knock on your door at 10:00 at night to get a little water out of your tap. It is better water than the water in the lake, apparently.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The information I have here about the Pine Lake well is that the new well to be drilled will have a seal in the pad. We hope that will prevent the problems that have occurred in the past.
Mr. Brewster: I am glad that they will not be ringing it now at Midnight and I would have to get out of bed to give them water. I like to help tourists but I am getting tired of looking after Renewable Resources work.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to thank the Member for all the assistance he has provided our department in the past on this matter.
On Departmental Services
On Departmental Equipment
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is equipment for all branches of the department at various locations throughout the Yukon with respect to the fish and wildlife branch. It is quite an extensive list. I can elaborate further.
Departmental Equipment in the amount of $120,000 agreed to
On Marwell Shop Renovations
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is an enlargement of the router room and installation of a dust collecting system. There will be $12,000 set aside for the renovations. The purchase and installation of the dust collecting system is $4,000.
Mr. Phillips: Where would we find the new storage shed that the department has acquired? Has this department acquired this shed? How much is it going to cost?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am afraid the Department of Tourism inherited that.
Marwell Shop Renovations in the amount of $16,000 agreed to
On Trap Exchange
Mr. Lang: I would like a further explanation as to exactly how this is going to work. If a trapper has an older trap, will he swap with the department? How is it going to work?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Basically that is how the system will work. It will be an exchange for equal value. In some cases, for exchanging two of your old traps you will receive one new trap to a maximum of $500 for each trapper.
Mr. Lang: Does this have the full support of the Trappers Association?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes it does.
Trap Exchange in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Economic Development Agreement
Economic Development Agreement in the amount of one dollar agreed to
On Other 1988-89 Projects
Mr. Lang: I would like to know why this is included here?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think the reason it is included is because there was some money in this broad subject area last year. There is a reduction there of $1,000.
Mr. Lang: What vote authority am I giving you here on this section? I know it is zero. I may be asking a technical question. Does that give you the vote authority if you decide to do something anywhere in the department because it just says other 1988-89 projects?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to remind the Member that is $1,000 not one dollar. It could be for any number of things but it would still have to be identified for a specific purposes. For example, if we had another project scheduled for this year, we would have some information on that.
Other 1988-89 Projects in the amount of nil dollars agreed to
Departmental Services in the amount of $286,000 agreed to
On Information/Interpretation/Public Education
On DRR - Strategic Plan Publication
DRR - Strategic Plan Publication in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Film/Video, Video Vignettes, Booklet-YCS
Film/Video, Video Vignettes, Booklet-YCS in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Yukon Conservation Strategy-Final Publication
Yukon Conservation Strategy-Final Publication in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Yukon Fisheries Communication Program
Yukon Fisheries Communication Program in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
Information/Interpretation/Public Education in the amount of $120,000 agreed to
On Parks, Resources and Regional Planning
On Herschel Island - IFA
Hon. Mr. Webster: Under this total of $287,000, $254,000 will be devoted toward the heritage branch for a variety of projects, the bulk of which will be building preservation. Restoration work will continue on historic buildings with a focus on the whalers recreation building, the whalers warehouse and several other buildings. That totals about $180,000. Contract services for parks management is the bulk of the remainder of the funds at $32,000.
Just to remind Members, all costs associated with the Herschel Island project are fully recoverable.
Mr. Lang: This is a multi-year project. I just wonder if the Minister could tell us what the total amount estimated is?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This will be our fourth year of a total eight-year project. The total estimated cost shows up on page 318 of the estimates. It is $2,714,000.
Mr. Lang: I just have to go on the record. It just seems to be a lot of money, and we have expressed this view before, to be putting up there there being a very limited number of people who actually do go through there. Other than government people who are traveling on government funds, very few people can afford to go there and I am sure the Minister would have to concur with that comment. It is a lot of money, and it is hard to go back to your constituency and have people talk about the deficit and see this kind of expenditure going on. People just walk away shaking their heads.
Herschel Island - IFA in the amount of $287,000 agreed to
On Campground Rehabilitation
Hon. Mr. Webster: There are seven campgrounds requiring rehabilitation and/or reconstruction during this coming year. Some reconstruction is the completion of projects started last year. The largest project will be that of the Yukon River Campground: complete rehabilitation. This is our most heavily-used campground. The cost for this one will be $147,000, which involves a lot of material. There is another section here involving emergency reconstruction of facilities. We have budgeted $76,000 for construction of the bridge in the Wolf Creek Campground, of which $76,000 is strictly for supportive materials.
The well at the Pine Lake Campground, which you have already mentioned, totals less than $10,000.
Another component of this expenditure is a campground rehabilitation completion. Marsh Lake campground will receive $27,000. Fox Lake will receive $20,000 and the Congdon Creek and Pine Lake campgrounds will receive approximately $25,000 each for the construction of amphitheaters.
The last component is for the planning for the campground rehabilitation and reconstruction. This involves the one-term person year, which I mentioned earlier. The rest is for support costs.
Mr. Lang: The one figure that does jump out at me is the $76,000 for a bridge at Wolf Creek. Is this a walk bridge?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, this is a bridge for vehicles to cross and it involves a lot of support for the base of the bridge, so we have to tender for a lot of gravel. This is basically for bridge materials and equipment associated with the construction.
Mr. Lang: I have had some experience with building bridges and even a pile-driven bridge would not cost $76,000. It is about a 20-25 foot span, and I think you should seriously go out for proposals or tenders to people who are in the business to find out what kind of prices you can get. This seems totally outlandish for what you want. I am familiar with where you are talking about now, it is the area that basically splits the campground in two. If that is the case, I think some serious consideration ought to be given to the kind of structure you are building. Maybe you could get it at a lot less cost than what you are projecting here.
Chair: Mr. Lang, could you please direct your comments through the Chair.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I welcome the Members suggestion. It seems a very reasonable suggestion. I will take it under advisement.
Mr. Phillips: I wonder if I might make another suggestion. I hate to add to the cost of the bridge and I do not know the design as yet, but when they are looking at designing the bridge, they should look at a possible walkway on the one side of it so that people could observe the salmon that are expected to return this year. They may make it up that far. It is expected that they will get a lot further than that when they get to Wolf Creek, so it might be a spot where people could stand and watch out of the line of traffic. He might consider that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I thank the Member for that suggestion.
Mr. Phillips: I hope the budget for the bridge does not come back at $100,000 now because of that suggestion.
I would like to go to the Marsh Lake campground. It says that there are $27,000 worth of improvements to the Marsh Lake campground. Does that include the floating bridge? It crosses the day-use area and the campground. That is in dire need of repair.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Not according to my notes. It does not include the floating dock. But if the Member, from personal experience, believes that it needs some attention, I will look into it.
Mr. Phillips: So the Minister understands the nature of the problem, I was there last fall and the bridge was starting to sink. I think it is the 45-gallon-drum type bridge where they put drums underneath the structure. Half of them are filled with water, and the bridge is now underwater in some places and, in some areas, it is at about a 30 or 40 degree angle. Some of the handrails are down, and it is very dangerous. I was not sure whether you could walk from one side to the other on it; that is how bad it was when I was there late last fall.
Campground Rehabilitation in the amount of $361,000 agreed to
On Campground Relocation
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is a frequent need to relocate campgrounds that are in poor condition and, likewise, a need, from time to time, to provide new overnight campground facilities in areas of the territory where there is no private sector operator providing services.
The bulk of the funds will be for the Johnson Lake campground completion and the Old Crow campground/day use area completion. As well under this proposal, we want to increase the self-registration system for another eight campgrounds, and $35,000 has been allocated for this purpose.
Campground Relocation in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Campground Facility Replacement
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, there is a regular need to replace or upgrade individual campground facilities. There are 50 territorial campgrounds and, with the amount of use they get, things have a tendency to wear out, break, or are sometimes even lifted.
This is a program of renewal and facility revitalization. There will be $50,000 spent in the western region, the bulk of that being facility replacement, which is $40,000. In the northern region, $100,000 has been budgeted to complete facility replacements at Lake Laberge, Minto and Moose Creek campgrounds. For the southeast region, $75,000 has been budgeted. The bulk of that is for the replacement of equipment.
Campground Facility Replacement in the amount of $225,000 agreed to
On Liability Reduction
Hon. Mr. Webster: The $20,000 budgeted under this project is entirely for the Million Dollar Falls campground. We want a completion of the safety fence, which is installed along the canyon trail to protect the public.
Mr. Lang: Is it going to cost $50,000 to put a fence along the trail down toward the falls?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, perhaps I was mumbling. I apologize. It is $20,000.
Mr. Lang: What about the other $30,000?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am sorry, I have the wrong project. The $50,000 is budgeted for the Lapie Canyon under liability reduction. We are removing and disposing of trees. In addition, we are going to supply some fencing to channel people and control the foot traffic in the vicinity of the canyon.
Mr. Lang: I am pleased to know that the Minister knows exactly where his campgrounds are. Fifty thousand dollars just seems like a lot of money from what the Minister describes. Could he elaborate a little more on that? I do not mind appropriating some money for a fence, but when you start talking about $50,000, I hope that, in the campground of Lapie, it should at least be gold plated.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would be pleased to provide a breakdown of costs for this project. Fourteen thousand dollars alone is for the fencing material itself. Labour costs for three men working six weeks comes to $13,000. Other materials come to $5,000 and miscellaneous materials, fuel and safety equipment and so forth come to $4,000.
Liability Reduction in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Recreation Trails
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is the project I was referring to earlier at a cost of $20,000. The Million Dollar Falls again needs safety fencing down by the canyon.
Recreation Trails in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Dempster Corridor Study
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is phase 2, the last phase of the Dempster study. This will develop a management and implementation strategy for the Dempster corridor. This study is being prepared in cooperation with federal and Yukon government agencies. Of the $50,000 this year, $25,000 will be for contract services to prepare a management strategy of the Dempster corridor. Ten thousand dollars will be to print the resulting document of this strategy, and there are a variety of small costs associated with this project.
Dempster Corridor Study in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
Parks, Resources and Regional Planning in the amount of $1,068,000 agreed to
On Wildlife Management
Chair: Page 316, wildlife management. Is there any general debate?
On Big Game Management Plan
Hon. Mr. Webster: The purpose of this project is to publish big game management plans for public consideration through the Yukon Wildlife Management Board. Subsequently, it is to be implemented by the department upon their approval of the recommendations. These plans are urgently required to make secure long-term conservation and wise use of key species, as we have tended to do for all species throughout the entire Yukon.
For this particular year, we are budgeting $50,000 for one years salary for a program manager. There is $65,000 set aside for six months employment for six community workers and $15,000 for fuel expenses such as travel, vehicle rental and miscellaneous supplies to undertake the project.
Mr. Lang: I would like to further discuss the mandate of the Wildlife Management Board. I take it that it is a board independent from the government. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is true.
Mr. Lang: So, any recommendations from the board are public information. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is correct.
Mr. Lang: In view of the fact I am the critic for Renewable Resources, the Minister will have no problem with me receiving a copy of the recommendations that emanate from the board, so we know exactly what the board is doing?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will see that the Member opposite does get a copy of the recommendations.
Mr. Lang: I have corresponded with the chairman. I just wanted to reconfirm there would be no problem. I appreciate the Ministers definite statement on that. I would like the recommendations as they are put forward so I have an idea of what the board is doing and what they are thinking of so we can contribute in a positive way to the game management of the territory.
Big Game Management Plan in the amount of $130,000 agreed to
Wildlife Management in the amount of $130,000 agreed to
On Determination of Forage Productivity
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is to provide for the planning, development and management of Yukons resources, and to support development of a self-sustaining agricultural industry in the territory. We definitely need some work done on the grazing capabilities of Yukon lands. This program will see to it that we have enough information to make available to people who need lands for grazing purposes without doing unnecessary damage to those grazing lands.
Mr. Phillips: I have a couple of questions on the government gathering this information on forage productivity. For many years, we had the experimental farm at Mile 1016. They have a great collection of records that are in Beaver Lodge. In some of the programs we are carrying out in the Department of Agriculture, it seems that we are duplicating what was done at Mile 1016 and what is being done in Alaska. I would encourage the government to meet with Alaskan officials and contact the Beaver Lodge officials as much as possible.
I think a lot of the northern seed grains we are now looking at developing and which people are working on were worked on 20 years ago. There are all kinds of data proving whether or not they were successful in this climate. Sometimes, I think we are reinventing the wheel without realizing it. We should rely more on Alaska, which has been doing this for 20 or 30 years, and our own experimental farm would give us an idea of how things grow in the Yukon. After all, that is why the farm was here. It was an experimental farm to determine what could or could not grow in the Yukon. I believe there are volumes of data in that regard. Why are we not utilizing that?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have been informed that the records of the experiments that were conducted on the farm at Mile 1016 are being transferred to this government. We will have a better understanding of the capabilities of various seeds and their suitability for our environment and climate.
I also want to point out to the Member that most of this work will deal with the open land where we are talking about native grasses and how much those native grasses are able to sustain, in terms of the number of horses, cattle, et cetera. That is where the bulk of this work is being done.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to point out that they also did those studies. For instance, I know of two pieces of land at Haines Junction where they studied and highly recommended them for agriculture. They have been studied twice by this government since for the same thing. Perhaps we could be looking at books. The gentlemen who did all those studies for the Department of Agriculture is now one of the top men in the agriculture department in Manitoba. He is doing all the experiments through northern Manitoba. We could have had him here, but we lost him.
Mr. Lang: Will this finish the study?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is the second tear of a three-year program.
Determination of Forage Productivity in the amount of $105,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on supplementary information on pages 318 and 320?
Mr. Lang: You have $3,000 designated for the College of Veterinary Sciences. Could the Minister tell us what that is for?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is our annual contribution to the veterinary school at Saskatoon.
Agriculture in the amount of $105,000 agreed to
Renewable Resources in the amount of $1,709,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am pleased to introduce the Capital Budget for the Department of Tourism. It has been reduced by four percent, or $86,000, over 1988-89 forecast levels.
I will briefly highlight the changes in this budget. Within the Development Capital Program there has been an overall net increase of 71 percent, or $89,000. The details and changes are as follows. Three new projects will be undertaken in 1989-90.
The first is a strategic planning project. There is $30,000 for initiatives identified in the tourism action plan, including analysis of visitor exit survey data to support regional planning, accommodation occupancy analysis and design of a resident travel survey.
The Regional Tourism Plans Project has $45,000 to undertake planning for the Carcross-Southern Lakes region and update the Whitehorse Regional Tourism Plan prepared in 1979.
The Destination, Site or Product Assessment Project has $15,000 to prepare a major how to tourism development guide to assist new entrepreneurs entering the tourism industry and to provide generic product information on opportunities for development.
The second is that funding levels for all other department projects will decrease in total by $1,000.
Within the heritage capital program, there has been an overall net decrease of four percent, or $61,000. The major decreases are as follows.
Fort Selkirk funding will decrease by $30,000. The master plan for the future Fort Selkirk is planned for completion in 1989-1990, based on joint planning with the band and the outcome of the land claims process. Other 1989-90 projects not being funded as part of this budget are as follows: The Enerdemo agreement with the federal government has not been included pending a formal extension to the original agreement. This is a decrease of $34,000. The Old Territorial Administration Building landscaping project has not been included, resulting in a decrease of $38,000. The design of the historical Victorian gardens is scheduled for completion in 1988-89, and will not be repeated in 1989-90. Once total development and subsequent O&M costs are known, a decision will be made on implementation of the plan subject to appropriation.
The decreases are partially offset by the capital maintenance project funding, which will be increased by $23,000, in order to undertake maintenance of historic sites, including Upper Laberge, Hootalinqua and Forty Mile, and highway sites such as Robinson and Montague Road Houses. There is also a net increase of $18,000 on all other heritage projects.
Within the marketing capital program, there has been an overall net decrease of 59 percent, or $114,000. The major changes are as follows. A low-frequency radio transmitter project will increase by $5,000. Funds will be used to revise, update and produce new radio programming for the FM radio stations and the visitor reception centres. The production of films and TV vignettes project will have funds to produce 20 additional attractions vignettes in 1989-90. It has been reduced by $83,000, since the TV and attractions vignettes produced this year will not be repeated.
The production and distribution of film and audio-visual projects will have $25,000 allocated for the production of foreign language film versions of prints and tapes. The development project for the Whitehorse visitor reception centre has been postponed, resulting in a reduction of $61,000.
The departments person year allocation for capital will change as follows. Indeterminate person years will increase by one, to a total of two for 1989-90, and not three person years as shown. The one new indeterminate person year is the conversion of a term restoration crafts person position to indeterminate.
Term person years will decrease from eight to six, and not five person years as shown. This decrease of two person years results from the conversion of the restoration crafts persons position to indeterminate, and the expiry on March 31, 1989, of the assistant restoration crafts person position.
Mr. Phillips: With respect to the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway, it is White Passs plan to come as far as Fraser this year with tourists. Have they indicated that they plan to come as far as Carcross in the following years?
Hon. Mr. Webster: They have not indicated when they plan to expand into Carcross, but that is their hope. As I said, they do not know when.
Mr. Brewster: Well, I have been getting up for seven years, and I am very disappointed. I do not see anything again for Silver City. I must point out that the latest consultants report uses this as one of its focal points. I have not got a count, but I would suspect there are at least seven or eight other reports that all say the same thing. Parks Canada says the same thing. I guess this is probably the last year I will have to warn the Minister; if something is not done, then we might as well forget the whole thing, because it is all falling down. The flood last year just about finished it, and if we do not move this year to save it, then I think the whole project, which will affect the whole Kluane area, as this is one of the focal points, is over, and I am very disappointed to see that there is very little mentioned about it.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have to agree with the Member for Kluane about his assessment of the tourism potential for Silver City. I, too, am disappointed that no concrete progress has been made on this matter. However, it is my understanding that recently Mr. Peter Upton visited the owners of Silver City in Fairbanks to try to persuade them to sell the property to the Government of Yukon so that we could have it as our tourist attraction, and he has indicated that he has met with some success in that regard. We are also going to make these people aware that if they are serious about their investments, and if they want to keep ownership and an interest in the property, that they certainly are eligible for heritage property assistance to a maximum contribution of $20,000 for purposes of stabilizing and repairing the foundations of these buildings. As I say, that would be at the very least some of the work that can be done this coming year to save Silver City.
Mr. Brewster: I am not going to carry it on, but I would just like to point out something. The first time they made an offer, I believe it was $30,000 or $35,000 for 160 acres of land. There are business people in Haines Junction area who get six to seven acres of land with nothing but trees on it. This is a heritage site and they are paying $38,000 for the same property for three or four acres. You go up to a business man and offer him $30,000 for 160 acres. I am very glad to see that Mr. Upton as a private businessman has got in there. It should have been done seven years ago, but at least we now have private people probably that can successfully make the deal where the government did not succeed at all.
On Development of Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Wilderness Resource Assessment
Wilderness Resource Assessment in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Regional Tourism Plans
Regional Tourism Plans in the amount of $45,000 agreed to
On Destination, Site or Product Assessment
Destination, Site or Product Assessment in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Wilderness Product Development and Marketing
Mr. Phillips: The government has done some marketing on this area. What kind of results are they getting? I know there is a great demand out there for wilderness travel, but it is the type of travel where you do not want to see literally hundreds of thousands of people coming to the territory because, if they are all lined up on the trails, or all rafting down the rivers, it is not much of a wilderness travel experience anymore. So, I am just wondering how far the government is going with this. I see they are directing a lot of their marketing money this year into that program. Do they feel that they are really getting the best bang for their bucks, so to speak, if the bulk of our travellers are seniors and the type of people who come on tours and travel through here, or do the wilderness travelers spend an awful lot of money when they are here?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We do think that this aspect of our tourism industry has marvelous potential. We have noticed results in the last few years with increased numbers of people coming to the territory to take advantage of wilderness adventure experiences. To that end, last year under this activity, the Wilderness Outfitters Association produced an adventure guide, which was made available to prospective tourists at trade shows that were attended by Tourism Yukon.
Last year we had 3,800 requests for more information on this wilderness adventure aspect of our industry, so I think we are getting some results from this program as people are increasingly looking to that type of activity.
Wilderness Product Development and Marketing in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Signs and Interpretation
Mr. Phillips: Would any of these signs be explaining to our American friends how far the next town or city is in terms of miles instead of kilometres or is that the responsibility of the Department of Highways?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, that is the responsibility of the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
These are for visitor awareness, and provide information related to our campgrounds, for example, and our historic sites.
Mr. Phillips: I mentioned this before when I brought it up with the Department of Highways, but I think it is a tourism thing as well. I think if the Minister has ever travelled in Europe or other foreign countries where they deal with a lot of tourists, especially English-speaking tourists, you find a great many government signs in English, specifically to assist the travelling public. In this case, our American neighbors who make up about 70 percent of our travelling public on the highways just simply do not understand the metric system, and we can not expect them to understand it in the three days to a week they might be travelling through the territory. I think it should be given serious consideration. We are in the tourism business, and we should do whatever we have to do to make their stay more pleasant, enjoyable and understandable.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I recall going through this debate a few years ago about making distance signs in both systems for the benefit of the travelling public. I think that it is a good suggestion. We have a responsibility as part of the tourism industry. All that information is contained in the road maps we publish, including distance charts. These signs contain more, as I mentioned earlier, points of interest to enhance the experience of the travelling public from outside to make them more aware of some of the richness of our heritage here in the territory.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to get a personal plug in here. There is a large sign that identifies the Wolf Creek Chinook Salmon Project. The plan is to put this sign up at Wolf Creek this year. I know that the best location is right in the YTG campground. I just hope that when the Fish and Game Association approaches the Minister and asks for permission to put this large sign, which was built by the Whitehorse Corrections Department, in the Wolf Creek campground, that there will be no difficulties or problems in their gaining that permission to put this beautiful sign up so our tourists and our people can see just what exactly happened in that area.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I thank the Member for his representation. Personally, I see no difficulty with that. I would like to thank other Members as well for their suggestions on new signs we should be considering, such as one for Emerald Lake.
Mr. Brewster: I think the Minister has just been conned by my colleague.
People in the Kluane area continually complain about the duplication of signs between Parks Canada and either the Department of Tourism or the Department of Highways. One set of signs is in brown and one set is in blue and many say the same thing. People are confused. Surely, they could get together and have one colour of sign and one sign. Many people complain about this. You are supposed to be going into the wilderness, yet you have all these brown and orange signs with a beaver on them. Then you run into the blue and white signs and then you see the necessary signs that the Department of Highways has. They are all around the lake. People want to know why they cannot be uniform. I have to agree. Why should we have two sets of signs in the same area? Surely, the two departments can get together. They are not 100 miles apart.
Hon. Mr. Webster: By remarkable coincidence, the Kluane Tourism Development Plan has identified this as a problem and will make recommendations to standardize the signs.
Signs and Interpretation in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Canada-Yukon Tourism Sub-Agreement
Mr. Phillips: Is there any change in the status of the $2 million that lapsed? Are we trying to negotiate an extension on using that $2 million?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are planning to meet with representatives of the federal government to extend this agreement one more year under its present terms. However, they have indicated a reluctance to meet until the federal budget has been tabled.
Canada-Yukon Tourism Sub-Agreement in the amount of one dollar agreed to
Development in the amount of $215,000 agreed to
On Artifact Inventory/Catalogue
Artifact Inventory/Catalogue in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: What is conservation security?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is to ensure the safe and secure storage and display of local museum and government artifact collections. It is also to ensure the safety of museum visitors.
Conservation/Security in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Major Exhibit Development
Mr. Phillips: Where is the major exhibit development taking place?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The two main activities under this proposal are the Old Log Church Museum, phase 1, in the amount of $75,000 and $75,000 for the Kluane Museum of Natural History. The latter will involve upgrading of exhibits.
Major Exhibit Development in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Museum Capital Contributions
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is to assist all Yukon museums in developing facilities, staff, and programs that meet minimum national standards in the display and care of their artifact collections. It also assists them, once they have achieved a certain level, to tap into other sources of funding from the private sector.
Museum Capital Contributions in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Major Museums Development
Hon. Mr. Webster: Here we are trying to assist Yukon communities to develop local museums that again meet minimum national standards, and to upgrade existing museums to acceptable norms. The $383,000 will be spent on a variety projects.
The MacBride Museum will receive $200,000, the bulk of this money, to allow for the continuation of upgrading of the existing facility. The Old Log Church Museum, $100,000, will provide for phase 1 of a two-year plan. There are problems there with the foundation and it will require a new basement. Apparently that project is ready for tender.
The Transportation Museum will receive $33,000, to be used by the society to hire a project manager who will work to try to raise capital for this project.
The last one is $50,000 for the Watson Lake Museum; however, it was set aside for architectural fees in the event that the concept was developed. Unfortunately, as we reported a couple of weeks ago, this seems to be a dead issue at this time. The people of Watson Lake have formally said that they do not want to proceed at this time with the museum there.
Mr. Devries: I came up with a concept myself the other day that I hope to present to the museum society regarding possibly dragging the chipper from the sawmill over to the interpretation centre and putting up a plaque about the colourful history of the sawmill.
It came to my attention the other day that someone in England saw the colourful Hyland wrappers there and inquired about them. They found that the lumber there had been quarantined due to too much bark and the possibility of infestation due to the larvae that get under the bark. These same people, when in Paris, were visited at their table by someone who asked them about the Hyland Forest sawmill and this was in a positive light.
We seem to be very internationally recognized, and I just thought that possibly the green monster could be used, with a mock cemetery for all of the past managers who went under with the outfit and if we ever get one that makes it, we could make a sculpture of him and have him above the ground.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I welcome the contribution and rather unique concept put forward by the Member and perhaps that idea, among others, will be considered as part of a possible museum for Watson Lake. I said that it was a dead issue, but only the original concept was not accepted by the community. Certainly, there is time this year, however, for a new concept, such as the one suggested by the Member opposite, to be considered.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister mentioned the Old Log Church had $100,000 identified here, and that was the first of a two-year phase. In the multi-year budget, there is nothing there for the Old Log Church. Is it not the practice of the government to include the museums? Do they have a plan for each museum and include it in the multi-year projections?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know what the practice has been. In the particular case of the Old Log Church, there is a possibility the project may not require a second year funding, that it can all be done in the one year, accessing another source of funding, that being the community development fund. Also, since it is a heritage property, there are federal sources that could be tapped.
Mrs. Firth: It is just a point I raise because I have not seen it done in previous years yet each year we approve a certain amount of funding for museums and for major development or renovations. It would be nice to have a plan so we know how much money we are spending on museums, particularly so we know there is a plan and we are not just throwing money at it when we have some extra. For example, if the MacBride Museum needs so much worth of renovations made to it, that could be identified and we can say it is going to happen over three years and we are going to give this much. It would be easier for us to get a handle on the ability of the department to plan for these kinds of renovations and to see if we are getting efficient use of the money within the community.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member has brought forth a good suggestion, and I thank her for it.
Mr. Phillips: With respect to the $100,000 renovations to the Old Log Church, the Minister said that was to put a new basement under the building. I am concerned about the cost. The building is about the size of a very large house, and $100,000 seems to be a lot of money to put a new basement under a building.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That could very well be, but that is not the total project. There are other costs associated with the further development of this log church museum. It is not just the foundation. That is the bulk of the funds.
Mr. Phillips: With respect to the transportation museum, at what point of development is that at now? I understand they were going to use what most of us know as the Ice Palace as the museum. Are they still going to use that building? It was totally renovated for Frostbite, and a great deal of money was spent. Are we going to be renovating the building again for the transportation museum?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Apparently that is the plan if they can secure some private funding to develop that facility.
Mr. Phillips: So, it will be private funding that will renovate what they now call the Ice Palace?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It will be a combination of private, territorial and federal funding for this project. It is my understanding that this money has been set aside to hire a project manager whose responsibility right now will be to raise funds for this project from the private sector.
Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to see that this will probably be the last time that that building will be used for an NDP victory party.
Major Museums Development in the amount of $383,000 agreed to
On Capital Maintenance
Capital Maintenance in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
On Heritage Properties Assistance Contributions
Hon. Mr. Webster: This program will assist individuals, organizations and industry in the preservation and development of Yukon historic sites. I have already raised this matter in relation to the Silver City situation. The purpose of it is to ensure the preservation of the Yukons historic heritage structures.
This year, as you can see, there is $75,000 budgeted for this purpose. A maximum of $25,000 is made available to a maximum of 50 percent of the projects cost. This is an ongoing project.
Mr. Phillips: Are there any funds in this line here for the old Montague Roadhouse on the Mayo-Dawson Road, or where would we find this?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That was previously raised under heritage properties development. This, as I mentioned, is for the benefit of individuals or organizations and they make an application for preservation work on the historic properties.
Just to give you an idea, last year there were seven projects funded. One of them was the Odd Fellows Home in Dawson City, a project I am quite familiar with. The sponsor of that was the Klondike Visitors Association.
Heritage Properties Assistance Contributions in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Planning and Feasibility
Planning and Feasibility in the amount of $60,000 agreed to
On Heritage Inventory
Heritage Inventory in the amount of $85,000 agreed to
On S.S. Tutshi
S.S. Tutshi in the amount of $200,000 agreed to
On Ft. Selkirk Development
Mr. Phillips: I think the Minister mentioned it earlier but what is the total cost of that project? It is at its end now; is this not its last year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The total project cost is $1,430,000.
Ft. Selkirk Development in the amount of $250,000 agreed to
On I.F.A. Herschel
I.F.A. Herschel in the amount of one dollar agreed to
On Visual Arts Acquisition
Visual Arts Acquisition in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Heritage Artifact Acquisition
Heritage Artifact Acquisition in the amount of one dollar agreed to
On Yukon Archaeology
Mr. Phillips: What efforts are being made by the government to recover the boxes and boxes of Yukon artifacts that were gathered in Old Crow? There was an extensive program for many years in Old Crow. Many of the artifacts were taken out of the territory and were never returned. Are we getting some of them back?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Members may recall that we are planning to, over the next three or four years, build a heritage resource centre that will meet all the requirements of the federal government on matters related to the preservation of artifacts. We will then have a place in the Yukon where these artifacts, currently being held by other governments or in private collections, may return. It is our intention to start acquiring some of these things that have been found here and boxed and shipped outside.
Mr. Phillips: I know that the people of Old Crow are interested in getting back these artifacts and have been concerned about this for a great many years. Has the government negotiated an agreement with the individuals that were involved in that study? Is there an agreement that when they have a facility for safe storage, the artifacts will be shipped back? Have they gone that far? If they have not, may I suggest that they start now, so that when the building is built, in two or three years, we are not two or three more years in negotiations trying to get the artifacts back. We should move on it now.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We certainly have had discussions with the federal government, which is prepared to return some of these artifacts to the Yukon territory once we have the proper facility. However, we have not done that much work in the private sector. That is one reason why we have a Heritage Artifact Acquisition Program, which we hope to make use of for this purpose. I agree that there is some urgency to this and we are starting to budget for that at this time.
Yukon Archaeology in the amount of $60,000 agreed to
On Heritage/Cultural Studies
Heritage/Cultural Studies in the amount of $55,000 agreed to
N.O.G.A.P. in the amount of one dollar agreed to
Mrs. Firth: Before we clear this, could the Minister tell us what happened to the heritage act?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is now in the process of cabinet review prior to being released for public consultation this summer. Based on comments received during that process, it is my intention to bring it forward in the fall sitting of the Legislature.
Mrs. Firth: How many times has this act been reviewed? We must be getting on to about the second or third time. It is the second time it has been reviewed. By the time it gets here, it should have been so thoroughly reviewed that there will hardly be any discussion left. Who has been involved in reviewing it? Who has had access to it, who has reviewed it, and are there any other people who are to be allowed the opportunity to review it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It has been reviewed by members of the Yukon Historical and Museums Society, as well as the various boards of the museums throughout the territory in preparation for the Cabinet submission.
Heritage in the amount of $1,573,000 agreed to
On Low Frequency Radio Transmitters
Low Frequency Radio Transmitters in the amount of $30,000 agreed to
On Marketing Equipment, Displays and Productions
On Purchase and Maintenance of Displays
Purchase and Maintenance of Displays in the amount of $1,000 agreed to
On Production of Films, TV Vignettes
Production of Films, TV Vignettes in the amount of $24,000 agreed to
On Produce, Distribute, Version Films, AV Shows
Produce, Distribute, Version Films, AV Shows in the amount of $25,000 agreed to
Mr. Phillips: Before we clear this total, I mentioned to the Minister before about local advertising and vignettes that addressed the local public people who benefit from tourism in the territory. In the future, the Department of Tourism should consider looking at a vignette that would show people working in various sectors of the territory that were benefiting from the tourism industry and pointing out to local Yukoners to be polite, courteous and helpful to as many people that they can be, because a lot of our jobs depend on the tourists coming back and telling people how friendly and accommodating we are. We have a reputation for being that way, but we still have a way to go. Government could encourage this with short radio ads that would make people think about what the job is all about and what the tourism industry does for the territory.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member again for raising the matter. He has a good point there. Introducing the FM radio station last year for the benefit of visitors had a positive effect in making Yukoners aware that this is an industry that contributes a lot to our economy. It is important and having the whole radio station geared for that purpose made people aware of that.
Anything we can do to expand the Yukon Host program, which deals with a relatively small number of Yukoners directly involved in the tourism industry, and to portray this to the Yukon public at large would be in our best interest.
Mr. Phillips: Since the Minister brought up the Yukon Host program, I will make another suggestion to him. It is a very good program. Some of the difficulties with the program are that each year when they offer it in early spring, a lot of the same people take the program. We should look at possibly a mobile program. All the people in the tourism industry did not come to the program. In some cases, people cannot get out of their workplace for a given period. Maybe we should look at going into places like the Klondike Inn on a given day early in the spring and doing an intensive program in there, and going to the workers. Instead of getting one or two chambermaids, you could probably talk to every chambermaid in the hotel in an hour. It would be more effective that way.
In this industry, people move about quite often. Sometimes, the people you train at the beginning of the year are not in their jobs by the middle of the year. It might be advisable to offer this service to the businesses. A lot of businesses are concerned about that. They are thankful for the program, but they do not feel it is serving all their needs. They would like to see more mobility to it.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, the marketing council is examining the whole program and what the Member has suggested is being considered. Certainly, if we are to reach a wider Yukon audience, we are going to have to do some of the things that the Member has suggested to improve ease of access to that information.
Mr. Phillips: My last comment is that many of the people who simply do not take part in these programs are the people in the local gas stations around the territory. They are the people who have to offer advice and guidance to the tourists a great many times, and I think that it would be very good if these people were given a short, crash course. I think that in any given day they could probably do a half-dozen stations in Whitehorse, moving around to different stations under pre-arrangement with the owners, prior to the tourist season when they are really busy. I think it would be something that would not only benefit the owner of the business, but would certainly be of great benefit to the tourism industry.
Mrs. Firth: I just wanted to ask the Minister a question about pins and flags. I gather that that kind of item is included in the Operation and Maintenance Budget. There has been nothing in this Capital Budget for it, nor has there been in past years. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This item is contained in the O&M Budget.
Mrs. Firth: That is what I thought. It always seems to be that we have a shortage of pins and flags and I wonder if perhaps we should look at a capital identification of expenditure. It is one of the most popular things with Yukoners if you have sports groups going outside. People coming to the Yukon want pins and flags, and every time you go to get pins and flags it causes a bit of a flurry with budgets and the shelves not being stocked enough. I think it might be something that the Department of Tourism is going to have to look at, because when it comes down to supplying these kind of things, they are the ones who always end up getting the telephone calls from people saying that they do not have enough.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is a yes, Madam Chair. Certainly under the O&M part of this department there is an ongoing promotional program. I was not aware that we were always under-supplied with these items, so I thank the Member for her suggestion.
Marketing in the amount of $80,000 agreed to
Chair: There is supplementary information on pages 343, 345, and 347. Are there any questions on those pages? If not, we will carry the total.
Tourism in the amount of 1,868,000 agreed to
Chair: Is it the wish of the Committee to take a break?
Chair: I will call the Committee of the Whole to order. We will proceed with Bill No. 51, Government Services, an item that was stood over on page 191.
Government Services continued
On New Facilities
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The item stood over under new facilities was an amount of $225,000. During yesterdays debate there was some confusion as to precisely what the allocation was for. I have sought an explanation from the department of the identified expenditure. Of the amount, $150,000 is earmarked for the move of the industrial arts building from the Robert Service School to the highways compound in Dawson City. When the new school was constructed it had a new industrial arts facility included, so the old one was deemed to be a very useful facility for the building maintenance in Dawson. So, essentially, an arrangement was struck at no cost to either department where the facility from the school was moved to building maintenance. It will replace a small workshop that the community now has. It essentially upgrades it. As I indicated, the school has its own new one and the total cost associated with re-establishing that as the building maintenance workshop in Dawson is $150,000.
The additional expenditure in that line item is for the outfitting and establishment of a building maintenance workshop in Faro for $75,000. At this point it is merely an estimated amount for an anticipated location. I understand from the department that several sites and locations are being examined. There is no determination yet as to where it will be located. Clearly, with that amount of money it is intended to be a location in an existing facility for the establishment of a new workshop in that community. That outlines the $225,000 of that particular vote.
Mr. Lang: In moving the industrial arts workshop to make it a shop for the Department of Community and Transportation Services into the present compound where it is situated in Dawson City, is that then effectively saying that we will not be moving the highways camp outside the town into the industrial area?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: That is an interesting question. I honestly do not have the answer. If I can take notice on that I would certainly provide to the Member full detail in writing or verbally.
Mr. Lang: Maybe the Member for Klondike could get into this as well. My understanding of the long-term plan of the city, at least at one time, was to have the highway camp relocate to the Callison Industrial Subdivision, or in that area, and in fact, I understand, if my memory serves me correctly, land has been set aside for the government purposes for that for quite some time or was at one time. I think that if you take a building like this and put it where the highway camp is presently located in town, you have more or less said that it is going to be there for a long time, at least during our lifetime, and I do not know if that is the proper thing to do in the planning of the city. Maybe this is the first step in seeing whether or not we should be getting the lot that we have set aside and maybe setting the workshop up there with the idea of moving in the next year or so. Perhaps the Member for Klondike has some comments on that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is correct that at one time the lots were set aside for the Government of Yukon to move out to Callison in conforming with the citys development plan. However, in an effort also to meet the needs of the community plan, it was necessary to relocate a lot of commercial operations in the City of Dawson to other areas and, of course, that one area, Callison, was the only industrial subdivision we have there. The lots that were originally set aside for the Government of Yukon to move the highway camp to in Callison were eventually sold to private individuals or businesses to relocate there.
The demand for industrial lots in that subdivision has exceeded the supply over the years, and, as you know from the Estimates, we are going into a stage 3 development for Callison this year to hopefully bring on stream another six or eight lots just to meet the present needs. I guess what I am trying to say is that, at this time, there is an area identified for relocating the highway camp, but given the nature of the building that is being moved to that site, it is obviously one that can be moved quite easily, I would hope in the future when more land is developed, the highway camp will be moved out of town and better use can be made of that very valuable piece of property.
Mr. Lang: It would seem to me that for $150,000, you are talking about a lot of money to just move a shop over to a camp where it is now and move it again for another $150,000 and suddenly we are up to $300,000. This effectively would probably pay for the whole move of what we have presently in the Estimates.
Is this correct? Is this estimate of $150,000 correct? The Minister just quoted $150,000 for the move. I am just shaking my head over this. I think once again that we have been given estimates that really have to be questioned.
If the idea is to make it permanent with concrete foundations and so on, the best thing to do would be to pick up the building, set it aside on the present highway camp and get the land together this summer for the purpose of the relocation of the highways camp. Surely, if we are going to get six lots at the Callison Subdivision, we could get another eight or ten, maybe on the other side of the highway. I just think some serious consideration should be given to it. To me, $150,000 is a lot of money. I just hate to see us sitting here and just arbitrarily giving the go ahead. I would like to see an undertaking by the Minister to have a serious review with my comments in mind with perhaps the City of Dawson and see if something could be worked out in the interim and save some of that money.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take the Members representation seriously. He makes a valid point. Given that there may be some consideration for relocation in the long term, and given that it is also another department I am responsible for, I have no problem with reviewing the matter and addressing it in the context and spirit suggested by the Member.
New Facilities in the amount of $225,000 agreed to
Property Management in the amount of $5,200,000 agreed to
Government Services in the amount of $8,188,000 agreed to
Yukon Housing Corporation
Chair: Is there any general debate?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: If I could indulge the Committee for a moment before general debate, I would like to put into circulation a number of outstanding items from previous supplementaries.
There was a request from Members opposite to provide the number of social housing units we have in the territory. I would like to put into circulation the ones we have in Whitehorse and advise Members that the ones from the territory are not completed yet but will be tabled before we get to the O&M portion of the budget. They should be ready no later than Monday.
There was an outstanding question relating to square footages of two units in Watson Lake. Respectively, one unit has a square footage of 1,188; the second unit has a square footage of 864. Both of these are on Liard Avenue.
There is still the outstanding matter regarding the breakdown of the tenders. That is currently being finalized. I can advise the Member that will be ready for circulation in Committee no later than Monday.
There was a request for a list of lease-purchase units. I will provide a list of the existing units that have a lease-purchase arrangement associated with them. There are 18 out of the 20 that were referred to. Two are not completed yet and will fall into this fiscal year. I will put the specific addresses and costs associated with those 18 into circulation.
There was a question respecting project management by the corporation and the associated costs. This also is being finalized and should be ready for Monday. I have for circulation, as requested, the new contracting by-law approved by the board.
To my knowledge, those are the outstanding items from previous supplementaries. A few are yet to be fully provided.
This now leads us into general debate on the capital portion of the budget before us. Essentially, the Capital Budget reflects a substantial increase, primarily in the area of social housing. We have debated various issues surrounding the commitment by Yukon Housing Corporation and this government to provide adequate and affordable housing to the Yukon. This budget reflects that general commitment.
The principal portion of the budget for $12 million is in social housing. I can provide substantial detail to specifically reflect what our plans are, community by community and project by project, when we get to the line item. Essentially, the commitment here is to provide for core housing that addresses the demand and need, and at the same time speaks to the global agreement arrangements we have with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, where the commitment exists to cost share the operations of those units.
The joint venture program is a new program introduced last year and is identified at $1 million this year.
As Members are aware, the home ownership program has two components, a lease-purchase and owner-builder component. Specifically in the line items, I can delineate the status of those programs.
Staff housing identifies $500,000. This is not to acquire any new units. It is strictly for upgrading and retrofitting the existing units.
The small component for central services relates to equipment, primarily the location of fax equipment in the communities.
I should note that in this particular project the recovery component is substantial. Of the $12 million being sought, $10 million is recoverable under the various cost-sharing arrangements and under the specific commitments of the various programs.
In programs where you joint venture, the money is to front the investment, and you recover it. I am sure Members may have some general questions. If not, I would be quite pleased to detail the plans of the corporation in the line-by-line discussions.
Mr. Devries: I do not have many specific comments. When I arrived in Watson Lake this week, I was hounded to death by contractors and people upset by social housing. During the next month or so, I am going to have to try to analyze what the real problem is. On Friday, I hope to be going to both CMHC and Yukon Housing to try and get a true picture of what their plans are for Watson Lake. I will have to get back to Watson Lake to determine what the need is, and see if the two make sense.
That is my concern. In the small communities, it seems to be reflecting the value of the homes of the present home owners, and it is forcing the values down to where a person who has lived in the Yukon all his life cannot afford to leave because, since his house is not an R-2000 house, he cannot get enough money for it to move down south and find suitable habitation down there. That is the picture we are starting to get now. That is one of the concerns. I do not know what we can do about it. The government is going to have to sit down and look at this, talk to the contractors and the people who are concerned about the prices of houses.
By the same token, there are lots of people on the reserves who are still living in shacks and, also, people living in poor housing in town. There seems to be a need, but how to go about it without stepping on the toes of others is a very difficult situation.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the Members comments. In general terms, the issues he raises we have discussed in part during the supplementaries. At the same time, it is one of the general problems we are facing as a government and as a housing corporation. In a global sense, the problem is to provide adequate and affordable housing for those in need and, at the same time, to utilize the existing marketplace factors to the maximum extent possible but, at the same time, deliver what is a mandate and an obligation to provide the housing for the people in need.
It is probably fair to say that there is a fairly critical need here in Whitehorse. The Whitehorse Housing Authority identifies at least 90 people on the waiting list for houses. These are people who would ordinarily qualify for support and who require better and more decent housing. It is a problem that exists in this community. In the rural communities, it is even more complex because of the nature of a virtually non-existent marketplace.
This budget tries to speak to that under the global arrangement with CMHC. There is a commitment by CMHC to help pay for 60 units for the Yukon this year. Yukon Housing is taking advantage of that and trying to put in place 60 housing units in various configurations. When we get to the specific line item on page 363, I would be more than happy to outline those intentions regarding the 60 units.
I certainly share the Members concern that, while we are trying to meet the very necessary commitment to provide adequate and affordable housing to people in need in the territory, at the same time we have to address the costs of those units. Certainly, the housing that will be delivered by Yukon Housing will be housing of a modest stock.
We certainly will be looking at those means of keeping the costs down. I think the Member who just spoke was at the Home Builders Conference recently where I spoke to this issue about our intention to call for turn-key operations, where the private sector, through a call for proposals, would essentially be responsible for identifying land and the nature of the housing that we, in turn, would commit to buy. Certainly that is one approach that we hope to use to keep costs down as much as possible.
Some of the Members opposite have challenged Yukon Housings ability to keep costs down. We are going to try to allow the private sector to demonstrate its ability to keep those costs down in the provision of social housing.
I guess the long and the short of it is that this budget reflects this governments commitment to the very urgent housing situation facing the territory and we intend to meet that obligation.
Mr. Lang: I would like to make a couple of observations. In the smaller communities, the person who is building their own home really has to have a hard look at what they are doing if what is happening in communities such as Watson Lake, Haines Junction and perhaps Dawson and Whitehorse is getting some sort of a market that is much the same.
The sad thing is that it is very discouraging for anyone to build their own home in a small community when the government is obviously intent on keeping the number of staff houses at the present numbers. They are also talking about 60 government homes being built around the territory, which is the first we have heard of that number. That is significant. What we are arguing is that we could be accomplishing the same thing with the idea of the individual owning the home as opposed to the government owning the home. This is basically the philosophical argument that flows into the financial argument.
If you can give some incentive for individuals to initially get started as far as their mortgage is concerned, and they get on their way, they own the home, they pay the bills, I think it is a much better deal for the taxpayer and, more importantly, for the individual in the community in question. Private home ownership builds in responsibility to the community. Especially if you are a direct property tax payer, you are very concerned about, for example, what your municipal government is doing on a day-to-day basis because it affects you, directly, financially. That is important to somebody earning a wage, paying a mortgage and raising a family. And consequently, it also, from that point on, builds stability in the community where individuals are committed to the community because they own their own home.
But if we continue on with expanding the governments stock of housing, we will get into a situation where everybody is going to be totally dependent on the government. Now maybe that, from a political point of view, is good. You have people dependent on the government. I do not think it is. I really strongly believe that if we are going to develop our communities and primarily I can say the rural communities because Whitehorse is large enough that I do not think it is being affected that much I really believe very strongly that it is going to have a long term detrimental effect, considering the direction the Housing Corporation is going. Quite frankly, I think both sides of the floor share the same objectives. It is just a question of how you get there. Nobody here is going to deny anybody any affordable housing. I think we should be striving for it. For an example, the other day I believe the Minister quoted us the cost of building those houses in Watson Lake: one was $120,000. If you take that, a quick calculation is going to give you that they are costing in the neighbourhood of $110 per square foot. That is absolutely outlandish, especially when you are in a community that has a saw mill and you have lumber there. So, you really have to question the cost. People talk about $75 per square foot as being very high. Here we have exceeded that substantially and we have such a small house. I am assuming, in all likelihood, the basement will not be finished.
These are the questions I think the Housing Corporation has to look at and I appreciate the comments by the Minister referring to costs and how can we get homes that are maybe more a bungalow type or more affordable. I think he may be on the right track by asking for proposals and somebody giving him a design. I mean, it is not too far off where I believe I will use Watson Lake again as an example you have an individual there that has a prefab log home. I have seen some pictures of them and they are very nice homes. There is no reason why in some cases those types of homes cannot be built and I think we will find our square footage costs substantially less than the figures I have just been quoted here.
Quite frankly a lot of the people who were talking to me would be comfortable in that type of a home.
I just think there has to be a hard look in respect to what is going on and I am going to be interested in hearing what the Ministers comments are about the 60 additional homes that he spoke of because that is the first we have heard of that.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The previous Minister desires to get into the debate because, to a large extent, the programs being delivered in this budget are the product of his efforts. Within the program of the Housing Corporation, there have been the initiatives whereby people can own their own homes. Historically, those were never heard of programs relating to lease-purchase and where the owner can build. These were programs that were developed in the last couple of years by the Housing Corporation under the previous Minister. These are the very programs that encourage individual and private home ownership, where a person who cannot quite afford a home at todays costs is provided some support on an interim basis until he can acquire home ownership, whether that is through the lease-purchase arrangements or the owner-built.
By the same token, it was this government and the previous Minister who brought in the joint venture program, which encourages builders to go out there and construct modest housing for the purpose we all speak of. The budget identifies $1 million on joint venture projects. The Member says nothing happened. I am quite pleased to tell him that there are discussions with a couple of proponents that have not completely come to a deal yet, but I have every confidence that in the coming year we are going to see some very hard money go out there on an investment basis for modest housing to provide the kind of affordable housing that we want to see on the market.
It is correct that we have identified a considerable portion of this budget in the social housing area. By using the approach of calling for proposals from the private sector for turn-key operations of modest housing projects, we are going to start providing that affordable housing more within the means of people to pay for it. I have already indicated that a quantity of the social housing effort is cost shared by CMHC to quite a substantial basis.
The Member cites Watson Lake on a continuous basis. I can only tell him that in that community the need was identified for four additional units. That need was addressed in conjunction with the housing association of the community. We went through that debate in this House. As we get into a further line item, I will be speaking about two houses that are specifically in that community.
Before we run out of time today, I know the previous Minister would like to say a word. I will not put him on the spot, other than to permit any comments he wishes.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I hope that the comments I can provide will be useful and constructive. Having been associated with the Housing Corporation for two years now, I do remember much of the debate that has occurred in the past sessions of the Legislature with respect to the need and requirement for homes and the philosophy behind the Yukon Housing Corporation, which is participation in the social housing program and the participation by the corporation in home ownership programs.
There is one useful note from a rural community perspective, and I am not sure that my understanding of the needs of rural communities blends completely with that of the Member for Watson Lake, but certainly I have a clear picture of the needs as expressed by the housing associations, not only by Indian bands, but also by municipalities that continually lobby for appropriate housing in their communities. Clearly, the lack of housing in communities and one can analyze the market forces endlessly has a very direct impact on whether or not those communities grow or slide. The situation, for example, in the community of Elsa recently, was such that a number of very long-standing Yukoners of 20 years or so and, in one case, three generations, has found that there is no place to move to in the Yukon and they have to leave the territory because there is no housing available.
The rental market is clearly flat in Whitehorse. The available social housing, which is the governments response has proven that because we have been reluctant to build in communities there is now absolutely no place for people to go in the territory and they have to leave.
This is a terrible state of affairs because these people had every desire to remain in the Yukon and, in some cases, work at fly-in-fly-out mining operations, but there is no place for their families to go. They found, too, that home ownership is not an option when you are leaving the community of Elsa without a job there is no place specifically to go. The fact that there were no vacancies in all communities except one has made it impossible for these people to find even short-term accommodation. I am particularly sorry about that because I was the Minister responsible for housing for the last three years.
I think that the comments made by the Member for Watson Lake with respect to the housing market are appropriate. There is very little in respect to house sales that are undertaken in rural communities, and it is not always the housing market, per se, that determines whether or not a person is going to move into a rural community and make their life there.
Whether or not the house is going to sell is not the only factor. That is one of the things that keeps housing prices down. People move to rural communities for the love of living in those communities, rather than for the investment possibilities that are available through the purchase of a home.
That is one of the reasons why Yukon Housing Corporation has had difficulty over the last few years dealing with the public relations element of building a house in a rural community when the market is flat. You build a house in a rural community and you pay $110,000 for the land and the house. Prices are determined, in many cases, by the tendering process. The moment you turn the key, the value of the house drops by 50 percent. That is the character of the housing market in most rural communities. It drops dramatically.
Even in Whitehorse, the threshold price between new construction and the market have only been kissing each other in the last couple of years. There is still no incentive to build modest housing, given the housing construction prices in this town. That is the reflection of the real cost of construction. It is no accident that people in Whitehorse are building at the top end of the market. It is quite reflective of the problem when you have a joint venture program which has the government, through the Yukon Housing Corporation, providing funds to encourage private sector development when, after eight months of hustling the streets, shaking the bushes trying to get the investors out there to invest that there is still not a project on the table. That is a reflection of the market and of the industry. These are useful things that MLAs should be considering.
A lot can be said about these various factors that will determine whether or not a particular home will be built in a particular community. Globally, the problems that the Member for Watson Lake mentioned with respect to housing markets in rural communities are accurate. However, I do not think the answer is not simply to do nothing in hopes that it will force people to build homes. That will not change the construction price of homes. That will not encourage more people to build their homes in those communities. In fact, the housing market will remain flat. That is exactly the reason why every mayor I have talked to in this territory, including the Mayor of Dawson, has said there has to be some government action in these communities.
It has to come not only through the home-ownership programs. We provided an extended mortgage program. We took care of the mortgage problems for rural Yukon through a program. It is not only lease-purchase, which is to encourage first-time home buyers into the market. It is not only the home ownership elements. It is also providing housing for people through the traditional focus of a social housing program. People are discussing all those things in rural Yukon. All those things are appropriate. They do not blend perfectly with the Whitehorse housing market, or the concepts and the principles of the Whitehorse housing market. That is the reality. That is the conundrum the Member for Watson Lake has identified. That is the conundrum we have been trying to wrestle with in this Legislature.
As far as I am concerned, the answer is not to do nothing. Ultimately, we have rare situations, for example in my community, where people I have known a long time have to leave the territory because of the housing market in Whitehorse. They want to go to rural communities. It is not that they want to come to Whitehorse. There is no opportunity, and there is no way to get into a home in the rural communities. That is tremendously unfortunate.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us the number of people who have privately started building, in view of the extension of the rural mortgage to the communities? My understanding in that area, which we applauded, was that an individual who now wants to build privately in Dawson City, or Haines Junction, or Mayo, or whatever community, can build with a 10 percent requirement down and the balance being mortgaged through normal bank financing. We thought the initiative that the government took last year was very positive.
How many private housing starts through CMHC financing have taken place in the rural communities over the past year?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: To which program is the Member referring? Is he talking about the lease-purchase, or the owner-build program?
Mr. Lang: My understanding was that the government was either going to guarantee or make the difference available that was required for the purposes of a down payment to build a home privately in one of the communities in order to meet the 10 percent requirement by the purchaser. This was opposed to what was happening in the past where the banks would only finance up to 75 percent. You were therefore required to put 25 percent down.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I move you report progress on Bill No. 51.
Mr. Lang: Prior to dealing with the motion, my understanding was that, prior to last year, if you built a home in Watson Lake, the bank required you to put 25 percent down. It was my understanding that the Yukon Housing Corporation took some initiatives so that, in conjunction with the builder, they would make up the 15 percent difference, either through a second mortgage or some other method of financing or guarantee. In other words, the principle of building your home in Whitehorse would be the same as building your home in Dawson City.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe the Member is talking about the extended mortgage program. When we open debate tomorrow, I can provide more detail on that for him.
I restate my motion. I move you report progress on Bill No. 51.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Chair: It has been moved by the hon. Government House Leader 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 the House have the report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: 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 Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
May I have your further pleasure?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government 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 5:28 p.m.