Monday, February 12, 1990 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. At this time, we will proceed with Prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed with the Order Paper.
Recognition of release of Nelson Mandela from prison in South Africa
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I rise on behalf of all Members in the House to acknowledge the release, yesterday in South Africa, of Mr. Nelson Mandela. This is truly an event of historic significant and cannot help but bring hope to all of those who deplore the racism in South Africa and a regime that subverts the democratic principles that we celebrate in our own Assembly.
Nelson Mandela is a symbol throughout the world of the indominability of the human spirit. He shows us that there is value and hope in fighting for justice, and his release shows that even the most entrenched discrimination, backed up by military might, cannot withstand that justice.
Today I ask all Yukoners to pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and to join his struggle for freedom, not just in South Africa but everywhere in the world.
Mr. Phelps: We support full democracy in South Africa. We hope that yesterdays event will prove to be a major step in that direction. However, we would caution that no one should be satisfied until equal rights for all peoples is achieved, and the principle of one man-one vote is firmly entrenched in that part of the world.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have a document for tabling.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills.
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Are there any Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms. Kassi: I give notice on the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that throughout the western world there is a growing recognition that the existing adversarial criminal justice system is failing to resolve social and criminal problems;
THAT the costs of the existing justice system are rapidly increasing without significantly improving the wellbeing of individuals or communities;
THAT, in the Yukon, lay people and professionals recognize the need for significant changes in the justice system to enhance opportunities for communities to play a much greater role in maintaining peace and harmony within the community;
THAT vital initiatives such as tribal justice, mediation and diversion in the Yukon have begun to enable communities to assume responsibilities for community problems;
THAT there is a need for a change in our justice system from primary reliance upon professionals to a partnership between communities and professionals, and in many areas, to a primary reliance upon everyone in the community to participate in promoting the wellbeing of their community; and,
THAT Yukon Legislative Assembly recognizes and supports the initiative of the Yukon aboriginal people to assume greater responsibility over social problems within their communities through the development of aboriginal justice systems.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
This, then, brings us to the Question Period.
Question re: Yukon Pacific Forest Products
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister responsible for the Yukon Development Corporation about the Watson Lake sawmill. On Thursday, the receiver/manager was appointed by the court, and I understand that he is empowered to blow $1 million for working capital. Does the Minister know whether arrangements have been made to borrow that amount?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, I do not, and I would be extremely surprised if any arrangements had been made at this point since I understand that there was some discussion before the court on Thursday as to the adequacy of this amount for the task assigned to the receiver/manager. I therefore conclude from that that no previous arrangements had been made for such borrowing, and assuming that it could not have been concluded or had been concluded on Friday or, today, that it has not taken place yet.
Mr. Phelps: Is Yukon Development Corporation prepared to lend any of that money to the receiver/manager?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: No, at this point the Yukon Development Corporation has not contemplated lending this money, nor have we been asked to do so.
Mr. Phelps: Is it true, however, that any money that is borrowed will be a first claim on the assets of the sawmill, ahead of Yukon Development Corporations security and all other claims?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Should it be necessary to borrow the money, it is true that such borrowing would be a prime charge against the entire assets of the company.
Question re: Yukon Pacific Forest Products
Mr. Phelps: Can the Minister tell us what arrangements are being made to pay the trade creditors of the sawmill?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I understand that the receiver/manager, having been appointed and having been now in a position to be briefed on the operations or in charge of the operations, will be in a position through the sales of product and other returns to the company to discharge the obligations there. I am assuming that the borrowing power, which has been given the receiver/manager by the court, is sufficient to keep the operation going and to discharge the obligations of the company.
Mr. Phelps: I am not sure I understood the Ministers response. Is he saying that money will be borrowed to pay the trade creditors, or that money is simply being borrowed as working capital?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I believe the situation is that the cashflows of the company money come into the company from sales of the product and would be sufficient to discharge many of the claims. The $1 million line of credit, which has been authorized by the court, will be sufficient to keep the operation going and, with the operation going, to discharge the immediate obligations of the company.
Mr. Phelps: Many of us were quite surprised and concerned when we found out that $200,000 was owed to Revenue Canada, because Yukon Pacific had not made the employee income tax deductions from the payroll each payday. When does that money have to be paid?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am sorry. I will have to take that question as notice; likewise, we were concerned about that amount and monies that were also owing to the Workers Compensation Board. Both obligations, commitments, we take very seriously and the failure to meet them as being very serious matters.
Question re: Mammography unit
Mrs. Firth: We were told by the Minister of Health and Human Resources in the House that discussions with the B.C. health ministry with respect to the mobile mammography unit were finished, and it would be too long before Yukon women could benefit from that program. Therefore, the government was disregarding that option and we would be doing this endeavour on our own.
In an article in Thursdays Whitehorse Star, the Cabinets communication advisor, Catherine Holt, said the Minister spoke with B.C.s Health Minister last summer and is still interested in the B.C. pilot project that uses a mobile mammography unit.
Who is giving the correct information, the Minister or the spokesperson for government?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: We are naturally still interested in the B.C. option, but we do not believe it is one that will be available to us for some time, based on the latest information. Accordingly, we are actively pursuing a diagnostic unit that would be based at the Whitehorse General Hospital. A final decision about that awaits definite financial details and cost projections, something I am now awaiting.
Mrs. Firth: Just the day before that comment was made by the spokesperson for government, the Minister stood up in the House and said very clearly, and I am quoting from Hansard of February 7, It is fairly clear to us now that the option that was suggested by the B.C./Yukon Cancer Society is not going to be a realistic option for us. That service is not going to be available to us. We have had discussions with the B.C. government about that.
I ask again why the information is inconsistent with the information that was given to women of the Yukon by the spokesperson for the government.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The Member knows that, according to the rules, I cannot comment on press reports here. The comments made by the Member are the statements of the government. The ones she just quoted are accurate statements of the governments position.
Mrs. Firth: In light of the erroneous statements given by the communications advisor to Cabinet, what corrective action is the Minister prepared to take?
It is very serious when the public gets wrong information from a spokesperson of the government.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The public gets wrong information from Members opposite all the time, but I do not take any action on that. The statement of the governments position was made by me in the House. She has just quoted from Hansard on February 7. That is the position of the government. That position will be superseded in time by a more up-to-date statement by myself in this House.
Question re: Audiology assessments
Mr. Nordling: With respect to audiology assessments, in 1988-89, the government has approximately 290 people on the adult waiting list for audiology assessments. The estimate for 1989-90 was to have been approximately 100. Do we still have a waiting list for audiology assessments?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I cannot tell the Member how long the waiting list for audiology assessments is without taking notice of the question, but that I will do and return to the House.
Mr. Nordling: Can the Minister tell us if there is a waiting list at all? The updated statistics for the 1990-91 budget appear to indicate that the waiting list has completely disappeared.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do not want to stand here in the House and state without having been briefed on the situation at this point in time, in February 1990. I will establish what the waiting list is and I will report back to the House.
Mr. Nordling: This is of some concern to me as an Opposition Member. We have prepared a budget. The Opposition has written letters to the editor. I would like to ask him if he is aware at all that there is a problem with audiology assessments?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I am aware of the communication disorders problem, particularly as it affects children, and this government has taken some steps to improve our capacity in that area. At the time we were discussing the supplementary, we did discuss new equipment that is coming into place, and I believe, between the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Resources we have in our staffing and budgeting taken significant steps to improve the service and improve the diagnosis and ability to treat people with these kinds of problems. Of course, no reasonable person is going to ask me what a waiting list is, at a given moment, without my being able to in fact have notice or be briefed. I have indicated I will do that.
Question re: Audiology assessments
Mr. Lang: I cannot accept the last statement by the Minister of Health and Human Resources. I, for one, have corresponded with the Minister with respect to some very serious situations affecting long-time Yukoners here about their getting the necessary audiology examinations done. That was done in writing over six months ago - almost eight months ago - and I have just had contact with the patient again, and still there is no hearing. Would the Minister explain to this House why an individual - senior citizens, especially - can wait as long as two years to get a hearing aid?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I do recall the letter written to me by the hon. Member across the way. As to the charge that someone has to wait two years for the service, I cannot comment. Again, the Member is asking me about a specific case; I will take the question as notice and provide a report to the House.
Mr. Lang: This is not a specific case because I have also had another constituent of mine approach me here in the last month in respect to the same situation; he is predicting a wait of up to a year or as long as two years, once again, before getting a hearing aid. This is a senior citizen, once again. My concern is that, in the budget that is before us, I do not see any dollars allocated for another audiologist position and it would seem to me that in order to overcome this backlog we need the necessary expertise, either on staff or by contract. Does the Minister have any plans to add the necessary expertise to the staff there so that the job can be done?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I know that for a period of time in this service we had a vacancy. The last time I went to visit the unit, they were just preparing to have a new person come on staff. I am reasonably certain that with full staffing some of the backlog referred to earlier in Question Period will be able to be reduced. Again, I will take the precise question as notice and I will get an answer for the Member.
Mr. Lang: Once again, the Minister has not answered the question. Would the government consider hiring another audiologist in the department in order, not only to get through the backlog that is obviously there, but also to be able to keep up, on an ongoing basis, with the 300-odd assessments that we are predicting in 1990 - and probably more. It is very serious. We have constituents who are waiting for a year or two years. I had a constituent who had to go and borrow a hearing aid from another senior citizen so that he could take a course that he had signed up for. It was necessary for him to have a hearing aid.
Would the Minister seriously consider reclassifying one of the many, many positions in the government and perhaps go ahead with another audiologist position?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I will take the representation under advisement. I do not know whether the kind of backlog we have warrants the hiring of extra staff, nor do I know for a fact that a reclassification of other positions is indicated, but I will take the question under advisement.
Question re: Windy Craggy ore deposits
Mr. Phillips: I have a question for the Minister of Economic Development regarding the Windy Craggy deposit.
Recently an official from Windy Craggy announced that they would be spending in excess of $10 million on that project this summer, and the potential looks good for a future mine. The Yukon could experience a significant spinoff from the activities of this new mine if it goes ahead. I would like to know if the government has prepared a position with respect to the future of such a mine, and if we support that particular project.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: As the Member knows, I am well aware of the Windy Craggy project and the issues surrounding the crossing of the Tatshenshini River with road access. I am well aware of the benefits associated with such a project. Nothing has changed with the startup studies of the project since the last time I answered the question during the estimates debate a couple of weeks ago.
We are very encouraged by the faith that the company has put into this particular project. Subsequent to an environmental review anticipated to take place in British Columbia, we hope the mine passes the test and starts up.
Mr. Phillips: Has the Government of Yukon prepared a position for that environmental review, and does it plan to make a submission to that environmental review? If so, can the Minister tell us what that position will be?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: We cannot tell the House what the position will be because it is not yet developed. All the questions have not yet been put.
The responsibility for the review process in British Columbia lies with the proponent, and as I understand it, the proponent has submitted a stage 1 application for consideration by the B.C. government, and will likely go to a stage 2 application process, which means more detailed work will be required before the ultimate public consultation.
Mr. Phillips: One of the principles in the conservation strategy is to weigh the economic benefits with projects such as this.
Has the government initiated any studies on the economic spinoffs with respect to Windy Craggy as well as the environmental problems that could result from such a mine in that area? Has the government done any kind of evaluation with respect to Windy Craggy? If not, why? And when will they do one?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The project is in British Columbia, as is the road access. We have expressed an interest and have been dealing with mine proponents with respect to evaluating the project to acquire a better understanding of what the project entails and what the economic spinoffs would be. We have not contracted a consultant to deal with the project or benefits of the mine specifically. We have been discussing the potential benefits with the mine proponent and also the potential causes of concern with respect to its environmental impact. When the process gets to a stage of public consultation, the Government of Yukon, as I have indicated a number of times in the House, will be making a presentation.
Question re: Windy Craggy ore deposit
Mr. Phillips: The Minister may pass off the questions by saying that the mine is in B.C. For the information of the Speaker and all Yukoners, it is just in B.C.; it is just across the Yukon border. Most of the economic spinoffs, other than the geographical ones, of the mine will take place in the Yukon, not in B.C. Is the Government of the Yukon working with the people at Windy Craggy and looking at the economic benefits that might accrue to the Haines Junction area? That area is in need of such a project to help its economic stability in the future.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I do not know what the point of that question is, if there is a question there. We are aware of some of the potential economic impacts on the Yukon, including the potential employment of Yukoners in this project. It may be on a fly in-fly out basis although that has not yet been determined.
Even though the mining company will not be paying taxes in the Yukon, there will be sufficient impacts for the Yukon government to take an active interest as we have in the past. On the question of jurisdiction - whether it is one inch over the line or 200 miles over the line - is still relevant. The B.C. government is the government of record in that area. It is the responsible agent and would not look kindly upon the Yukon government interfering in its affairs.
However, we have been trying to deal with the situation as diplomatically as we can. We indicated that we would be publicly participating in any process that the B.C. government creates. We feel we do have an interest because of the economic spinoffs, and we will provide presentation when there is a public review.
Question re: Haines Road salting proposal
Mr. Brewster: Recently, the Haines Road has been very icy. Yet, a suggestion for salting was denied. Can the Minister for Community and Transportation Services explain why this happened?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am totally unaware of the issue that the Member is raising. I would like to know when the denial took place and any further information on the subject.
Mr. Brewster: Since the public safety on our roads is of paramount concern, can the Minister advise the House how long the road must remain unsalted to permit the Haines, Alaska skidoo race?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am struggling to determine precisely what denial occurred. I take the questions as representation. I take the issue seriously. I will investigate it. I would appreciate any information the Member can provide.
Mr. Brewster: Can the Minister advise the House how in future he is going to ensure the safety of the traveling public while meeting the needs of the Haines, Alaska skidoo race? The situation this year was not satisfactory.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is providing me with an opinion, which I value highly at all times. Nevertheless, I will undertake to investigate this particular situation. The Department of Highways takes the issue of safety on Yukon roads seriously. It does an outstanding job for winter conditions on those roads.
Question re: Granite Creek water hearing
Mr. Lang: One of the most important decision-making bodies in the Yukon is the Yukon Territory Water Board. There was a decision made by the Department of Renewable Resources to intervene on a placer application on Granite Creek. Who makes the final decision to intervene in a water board hearing? Is it the bureaucracy or the Minister?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Obviously, the department will bring it to the Ministers attention, whether or not, in the particular case the Member has cited, an intervention would be warranted. From that, the Minister would mention to the department that, yes, in this case, or no.
Mr. Lang: One of the most important water board hearings has been the past hearing that took place for the Curragh Resources water licence. I would ask the Minister this question: why did the department not appear before that particular hearing?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know, in that particular case, why not. I will ask the department myself why it did not take a position in that particular water board hearing.
Mr. Lang: I find this all kind of confusing. I guess my question is this: are we to understand that if the Government of Yukon does not appear it generally agrees with the application and that it only appears as an intervenor if it opposes the application?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not think there has been a general rule established, in this case, with regard to the Government of Yukon appearing as intervenor before the water board. The recent case on Granite Creek was one most appropriate for the fisheries branch to become involved with.
With respect to the Curragh hearing last week, in that particular case I think it would have been more appropriate for the environmental unit of the Department of Renewable Resources to make some enquiries about the nature of the work and the eventual mine reclamation plans. As to whether or not there is a set procedure, as I say, there has not been one in the past, but I think the department will be establishing one.
Question re: Alaska Highway capital projects
Mr. Devries: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services. From the Committee of the Whole discussions last week, I understand that we have approximately $6 million for capital projects on the Alaska Highway. Could the Minister tell me if he knows how much, if any, of this is dedicated to improvements in the Swift River to Rancheria section?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am only working from preliminary information from Public Works Canada. I do not believe they have necessarily finalized their plans or announced their final plans. The Member is correct in assuming that there is some upgrading of the highway intended in the Swift River area, as well as some bridge work. I have not been advised on additional work by Public Works Canada, but I am sure they will be making those announcements once the federal budget is formally tabled.
Mr. Devries: As the Minister is aware, Watson Lake is anticipating activity at Mount Hundere and plans are to haul ore as early as the spring of 1991. Would the Minister possibly confer with the feds and ask that priority be given to the four to six corners in the Swift River/Rancheria area that are of a major concern to the ore trucks, as well as some of the other specific sections they are very concerned about?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The issue of transportation for Mount Hundere is one that our officials are working on at this instant. As the Member knows, and as I have explained in the past, we are currently in discussions at an officials level with Curragh Resources regarding the transportation needs.
With respect to Public Works Canadas priorities for the Alaska Highway, they will of course be involved in those discussions as well. This is something that it is premature to speculate about, but I should point out for the Member that his colleague from Kluane emphasizes the Beaver Creek area; he is emphasizing the Watson Lake area; we are emphasizing the entire area.
Mr. Devries: I had a discussion with the Member for Kluane about this.
Will the Minister also ensure that adequate maintenance money is made available for the dust control where necessary, and specifically on the unpaved stretch south of the Smarch River? Apparently, Curragh feels dust control is one of the most important areas.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As the Member is aware, we provide the maintenance to the Alaska Highway under a services agreement with the federal government. Those funds are negotiated annually and are provided by the federal government following the tabling of its budget. The Member can rest assured that we provide the strongest of arguments for increasing those maintenance funds. We are often struggling to provide an adequate level of maintenance. I take the Members representation seriously and add the information that my department is currently doing a very thorough analysis of transportation needs as a result of the Mount Hundere development. I expect to be receiving a preliminary report on that shortly.
Question re: Alaska Highway capital projects
Mr. Phelps: With regard to the discussions between the Member for Kluane and the Member for Watson Lake and the issue of priorizing between Swift River, Rancheria and Beaver Creek, we, on this side, would be willing to see 50/50, $3 million spent on each section this year. Would the Minister go along with that recommendation?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I deeply share the difficult position the Leader of the Official Opposition is in right now, and I have to tell him I would certainly support any funding for the Alaska Highway from end to end. I would like to see more like six times $6 million being spent on that highway this year.
Mr. Phelps: I am glad he shares that with me. Will he be strongly recommending that the $3 million of the capital upgrading to be spent by Ottawa be spent on the Beaver Creek section?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As you are acutely aware regarding the sensitive nature of the Alaska Highway, I would like to discuss and consult with the Member for Teslin on this very important distribution of funds for the Alaska Highway. Many portions of the highway run through many peoples ridings. Given that Public Works has taken it upon themselves to determine priorities of where that money should be spent, we can rest assured they will do those consultations, and I will be encouraging them.
Mr. Phelps: So, the Minister is then going to be taking an active role in making recommendations with regard to the priorization of the spending of capital funds on the Alaska Highway this year, and we can look to his leadership and rest responsibility with him for what does occur?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As the Leader of the Official Opposition recognizes, somebody has to show leadership on the Alaska Highway, and I will be quite pleased to do so. We are in discussion with Public Works Canada. We are constantly lobbying for increased funding levels for the highway, both in maintenance and in capital. The Member can rest assured that we are vehemently lobbying for increased funding for the entire route and major sections where unsafe conditions do exist.
Mr. Phelps: I was very pleased with that response. He can pick up his report card in August.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am quite pleased to tell the Member that such an arrangement would be appreciated, and I will make it reciprocal.
Question re: Minimum wage
Mrs. Firth: I have a question for the Minister of Justice. Yukon presently has the highest minimum wage in Canada at $5.39 per hour. The Minister has accepted the Employment Standards Boards recommendation for an increase. Yukon businesses are awaiting this announcement. Can the Minister tell us when she is going to make the announcement, please?
Hon. Ms. Joe: I had indicated to this House, when she asked me a question previously, that that decision would not be my decision alone, that it would have to go to Cabinet. It has not gone to Cabinet yet.
Mrs. Firth: The Minister said this has not gone to Cabinet yet. Could the Minister tell us when it is going to go, because she has said in this House that she would be making the announcement in the very near future. I see the Government Leader prompting her to say soon; I would like to know more specifically. The Minister announced on the radio that she had accepted the Employment Standards Boards recommendation, and it seems to be a big secret to everybody it is going to affect. When is it going to go to Cabinet so that the businesses know what the minimum wage is going to be?
Hon. Ms. Joe: At the time the decision to review the minimum wage was made, there was a chance for all of those individuals involved to make some kind of a presentation to the board. The board heard from certain individuals and the recommendation was presented to me. I cannot give her an exact date as to when the submission will be going to Cabinet, but certainly it will be during the next little while. It will be while we are in session. I will make the announcement in the House. Rest assured that she will know prior to leaving the House for the session.
Mrs. Firth: We have heard now the very near future. We have heard the next little while. We know that the Minister has accepted the recommendation by the Employment Standards Board. We are waiting for her Cabinet colleagues to make that decision. I would like to ask the Minister what the holdup is getting it to Cabinet. If she has already accepted it, why is it taking so long to get onto the Cabinet agenda?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Cabinets agendas are, of course, confidential. We deal with a number of things each Thursday, and there is a long process for all of those submissions to go through and she knows that. The Cabinet submission has been signed by myself and it is going through the process. When it is through doing that, then it will be on the agenda.
Question re: Health act
Mr. Nordling: I have a question to the Minister of Health and Human Resources with respect to the proposed health act. Last November, in a ministerial statement, the Minister announced a process of consultation to establish this new health act. The first step was a letter to Yukoners. That letter, I believe, has gone out in the form of a booklet and questionnaire. I would like to hear what the response has been to that booklet or letter.
Hon. Mr. Penikett: The responses are still coming in, and there is not a final tabulation on them yet. As I have indicated, the responses will provide the basis for a policy paper, which we will be producing in the next little while. The policy paper will go out for further public discussion, prior to the drafting of an act.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to know when the final tabulation is going to take place. The second step was that there would be meetings with professionals in the field and health interest groups. Have any of those meetings taken place?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: There have been some discussions of a general nature with some of the health interest groups in the course of other business, but it is not contemplated that we will begin formal discussions with health interest groups until the completion of this round. We are still receiving replies to the questionnaire. Once they have been tabulated and summarized I would expect the round of formal consultations with interest groups to begin.
Mr. Nordling: It sounds like this may be a long, drawn out process. Back in November 1989, the Minister said he would be looking forward to putting out a position paper in the next few months. Can the Minister give us an idea of when that position paper will be put out?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: My objective is to have the position paper out in the spring.
Question re: Fishing licences
Mr. Phillips: I have a follow-up question for the Minister of Renewable Resources concerning the reciprocal fishing licence agreement with the State of Alaska.
Last November 23, the Minister told this House that he was communicating with the Alaskan officials and informing them of our new rates. I would like to know if he has had any further information or changes regarding the reciprocal fishing agreement that he can share with this House today?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can advise that we have not received any communication from the federal Department of Fisheries on that matter.
Mr. Phillips: We all know these things take a great deal of time. Does the Minister have any plans to follow up on what Alaska is doing? Is he pursuing the matter? It was a motion in this House we all accepted and we were all headed in that direction. Is the Minister planning any future endeavors to get a response from Alaska or to find out when the Alaskans may consider changing their fishing licence structure to accommodate the motion?
Hon. Mr. Webster: First of all, I would like to hear from our federal government on its position on our request to change the fishing fee schedule to accommodate a reciprocal licence fee arrangement with the Alaskans. Once I have that information I will follow up with an approach to Alaska.
Mr. Phillips: It is even closer to home than we thought. Will the Minister be making further endeavors to communicate with the federal department officials very soon to find out exactly what position the federal government will take on this issue?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can inform the Member we have already made, in addition to our initial request for a change to the fishing fee schedule, one follow up; the answer is still not forthcoming.
Speaker: Time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair and 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 the that House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order and declare a brief recess.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
Bill No. 19 - First Appropriation Act, 1990-91 - continued
Department of Community and Transportation Services - continued
Chair: We will continue with debate on Airports.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Before we enter the next line item, I would like to take advantage of the opportunity to circulate something that was prepared since we last debated this. This is a breakout of all the capital projects that are to be undertaken by all branches of Community and Transportation Services. It speaks to those land development projects that will be undertaken in all the communities. It speaks to all the highway construction jobs that will be undertaken. It also speaks to all communications, municipal services, recreation, et cetera.
I will pass those around for Members convenience. It will probably save a lot of questions. This is not related directly to the line item. It is related to the community and the projects. It is pulled out from all the line items. It should provide for a reduction in the number of questions regarding capital dollars in each community.
There was a question by the Member for Whitehorse Riverdale South regarding a couple of job descriptions in Community and Transportation Services. The Member asked for job descriptions for the two new positions in land claims that we created in Municipal and Community Services. One was the coordinators position and the other was a researcher. I will circulate those job descriptions. This also denotes the second part of the Members question, which asks for the salary range of those positions. That is also on there.
Another question was asked by a Member to which I will provide the information in the main estimates. It speaks to the specific contracts that were entered into with communities, the services and the amounts. That concludes the items that I want to put into circulation.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to thank the Minister for that. He has improved the budget quite considerably and I agree with him that there will be fewer questions asked. The only thing I might suggest to improve this a little further is that we get this at least 24 hours ahead of time. It is very hard to try to read all of it and stay in the budget. However, I realize this is the first time - I am not criticizing; I am just suggesting it might stop a lot of the arguments and questions if we had this ahead of time.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I appreciate the comments from the Member. The one document that is of some substantial detail is the one that summarizes by community all the capital projects; in fact, it has been produced over the weekend, so it only got produced in its final form this morning. Next year, I think we can provide it in advance.
Airports in the amount of $1,972,000 agreed to
On Transport Services
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $1,350,000 on the O&M side, in Transport Services, essentially provides the personnel costs related to all the garages and weigh scales throughout the Yukon. It also would cover the motor vehicles component.
Mr. Lang: I have a question, and there was a question raised by my colleague from Watson Lake, with respect to the possibility of a visitor reception centre there, at Junction 37 on the Cassiar Highway, where it joins the Alaska Highway. Has there been any thought of trying to work with the Department of Tourism to see whether or not you could amalgamate some sort of joint responsibility and see whether or not the weigh scale there could also serve, at least on an interim basis, as the tourism centre as well?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not have any personal recollection of having dealt with that prospect, so therefore I am talking off the top of my head about the potential for that to happen. I can see some problems in terms of the job descriptions for the highways personnel manning the weigh stations and the heavy truck traffic going through and for those personnel having to deal with the tourism component at the same time; but perhaps there is a method by which tourism personnel could be added in for the key seasonal times of the year. It is not an unreasonable suggestion. I will take it up with my colleague and see if it has merit. Perhaps the Member can share a little further whether or not that entry point to the Yukon would warrant additional tourism attention.
Mr. Lang: At the outset, obviously it must have some because we have a weigh scale there so, first of all, you are getting some trucking industry to start with. There was justification for the purpose of putting scales at that junction. I do not think there is any question of justification. I had the opportunity of driving that route last year and there is significant traffic. At the height of the tourist season I think it would be interesting to see what the difference in statistics are between the Alaska Highway and the Cassiar/Stewart Highway, just to compare volumes. It would seem to me that it is an entrance into the Yukon, similar to Watson Lake, and most of that traffic will be going north and probably, in many cases, bypassing Watson Lake unfortunately, and having very little knowledge as to what the Yukon has to offer. If we can use the student programs, or whatever, over the course of the summer months - to increase their employment as well as to spread the message about the Yukon - that would be the place to do it. I think it would be an investment, as opposed to strictly a make-work project, where it is hoped we would see some more dollars staying in the Yukon as opposed to just travelling through.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It seems to me that junction has a bit of commercial activity now. There is a gas station there. I do not know if there is any additional service. There may be an opportunity to work in cooperation with the private sector toward some tourism encouragement or promotion. I will take that up with my colleague, the Minister of Tourism. Whether or not we can amalgamate with Highways is more complex. I would be prepared to investigate that. It would be useful to Watson Lake if some of the traffic could be diverted if they knew what Watson Lake offered, given that it is only 15 miles from the junction. The suggestion makes sense and I will pursue it.
Mr. Devries: I believe that at certain times of the year approximately 30 percent of the tourists come up that highway and 70 percent on the Alaska Highway. I am not sure how accurate it is. Apparently, before the visitor information centre was in Watson Lake the weigh scales were sectioned off and the visitor booth was run from there. I have never been in the building at the Cassiar Junction, so I am not sure how big it is. Maybe the people at the corner will be willing to accommodate the brochures; we will see.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I had the opportunity this past summer to stop in at the junction and talk with the owners. They presented the case that there was an increased number of tourists coming up the Cassiar Highway as opposed to the Alaska Highway and asked for more materials from the Government of the Yukon, such as the free distribution material, the travel guide and maps of the Yukon, which we did provide them with. At that time they did ask if they could have something more permanent, something better advertised as a place where tourists could come in off the road to get more information.
Very few people go to Watson Lake once they hit that junction. Almost all of them go on through the territory and on to Alaska.
This fits well in the future plans for the development of a reception centre in the Whitehorse area. That would be the first opportunity for people coming up the Cassiar Highway and the Klondike Highway from Skagway to have access to tourism information.
Mr. Johnston: I would like to return to highway maintenance for a while.
Clerk: Is Committee agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
On Highway Maintenance
Mr. Johnston: After listening to Question Period today, when the highway from Watson Lake to Teslin was discussed, I am concerned about the priority that the Member for Kluane puts on upgrading the north Alaska Highway near Beaver Creek. We cannot forget the Watson Lake sections.
I would, therefore, like to know from the Minister of Community and Transportation Services if there are any plans to upgrade the section of the Alaska Highway from Watson Lake to Teslin.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: As the Member heard during Question Period, the Public Works capital budget has not been formally announced with respect to where the money is going to be spent. In our discussions, we have been able to determine that there is a reappropriation to the tune of $6 million for the Yukon section on the capital side. That has been discussed in previous debates here in the House.
My understanding of where the $6 million is to be spent is on a section around Swift River, between kilometres 1209 and 1218, which is earmarked for upgrading. That is not final; Public Works has not announced that that is the intention. That is the determination we have been able to get from staff level discussions. Public Works Canada makes the decision of where to appropriate the funds. We provide input, but it is not necessarily followed or adhered to.
The other understanding I have with respect to the expenditure is that a good portion of that $6 million is going to be used to upgrade a number of bridges along the route of the highway. Beyond that, I cannot advise Members of much more at this stage. Members know the federal budget is due for tabling soon, and we can expect the information to be made public at that point.
We have advised Public Works Canada of our knowledge of the severely eroded sections of the highway. The majority of those are in the Beaver Creek area. At this time, I cannot say whether any is going to be spent in that area. I am sure Members have made their representations quite well known today and in previous days, and I can only undertake to transmit that.
Mr. Johnston: I have heard that the Yukon government should pay to upgrade the Alaska Highway. This seems like a large expenditure. Is this a territorial or federal responsibility? Will this work be completed by the 1992 celebrations?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Unfortunately, I did not hear the precise question at the end. Is the Member asking about what upgrading will be done by 1992?
To answer bluntly, it would appear not very much. Members and I have gone around the mulberry bush on that. This preliminary indication of what is going to be spent this year for upgrading will only account for what looks like nine kilometres. That is not much of a construction project for the Alaska Highway for 1990.
I cannot say whether or not the $6 million will go much beyond nine kilometres of upgrading and repairing a number of bridges. As I have indicated to Members, this government is certainly not prepared to put in money for capital upgrading of the highway.
Further funds that may be generated in time for 1992 would only be generated between now and the next construction season after the one coming up. That would mean if a good portion of the $15 million is allocated to the Alaska Highway upgrading, we can maybe see another 15 or 20 miles of the highway properly reconstructed at best.
Without some mass infusion of funds, I do not see any major upgrading of that highway occurring in time for those celebrations. Members opposite have said in debates, and Members on this side have emphasized, that there is not going to be much to celebrate.
Highway Maintenance in the amount of $31,837,000 agreed to
On Transport Services
Mr. Brewster: I would like to elaborate on what my colleague from Watson Lake was saying about the idea of the tourist information bureau being beside the weigh scale being nothing new. The records say that Haines Junction had one for 10 or 12 years before they joined National Parks and became a part of that. That is nothing new, and it worked very well at catching them on the Haines Road.
If there were good sales people there, the tourists could be convinced to go the extra 15 miles back into Watson Lake.
Transport Services in the amount of $1,350,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance in the amount of $36,577,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This capital portion of the budget is probably the largest one of the entire Community and Transportation Services budget. It represents some $56.9 million. This is largely for equipment and road construction work. It includes the resource transportation access program. It also includes recoverable money under the agreements with the federal government for capital upgrading of some of our highways. It is listed in the budget book fairly well.
I have also provided that information in the sheets that I circulated earlier. That will cite where the money for the roads will be spent by section and community. Many of the highways do not lend themselves to a community assignment. In many cases, they are pulled out of the community allocations. I await Members questions on this portion of the budget.
Mr. Brewster: I have listened to the Minister before talking about the $6 million, and I will be very interested to see the $3,620,000 spent on the Klondike and Campbell Highways. I presume that four or five miles of highway are being built on each one. I will be interested to see what is on the statistics sheet next year.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am working from previous knowledge of the budgeting process and what a dollar can do in road construction. The Member made reference to the Campbell Highway. That reconstruction seems to be running on an average of $150,000 a kilometre. That seems to be the ball-park figure for in-territory roads. That is only a rule of thumb and a rough estimate. Because conditions vary on different sections of the roads, the costs will vary from kilometre to kilometre. That seems to be the ball-park figure.
The Member said that he will be watching for reconstruction on the south Klondike and the Campbell Highway. The reconstruction for the south Klondike Highway in 1990-91 will be between kilometre 61 and 65 and between 79 to 90.
We will also be placing 18 kilometres of BST on that road. Essentially, it is an upgrade of the highway for $1,400,000.
On the Campbell Highway, we are proposing to spend $2.2 in total. We are going to be reconstructing 10 kilometres on the Campbell Highway. There were plans to reconstruct nine kilometres last year but the job never got completed so that will be finished, but the money was voted forward to this year so it does not relate in budgetary dollars to this amount.
That appears to average out closer to $200,000 a kilometre. Road conditions there are more severe for reconstruction.
Mr. Brewster: I realize that. I realize certain areas of the road are harder to do than others. I am quite sure the surveyors have been able to break this down long before this budget, but that is not what I am getting at. The Minister made the statement about in-territory roads. I would like him to know that the Alaska Highway is in-territory. He is telling us it is costing way more to build a mile of the Alaska Highway than the other highways. That confuses me. Either one is not up to standard or the other is of too high a standard. I want the Minister to tell me which is which.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe the Member made the statement that the Alaska Highway cost more per kilometre to upgrade than the in-territory roads. I believe it is simply a matter of standard we are talking about. The Alaska Highway is of a higher standard: a wider road surface, a different subgrade preparation, different ditching, and so on. I am not an engineer or a technical person, so I cannot more adequately describe the difference in standard, but clearly the Alaska Highway is a higher standard then either the Campbell or Klondike Highways, or the highways in the rest of the territory. I think the Haines Road fits into a fairly high standard again, and would match the standard of the Alaska Highway. The Member knows that those standards are set by Public Works and maintained accordingly.
It is the old adage: if you want a Cadillac, you pay for it.
Mr. Brewster: That proves my point. Maybe we do not need a Cadillac. Maybe someone should jump on Public Works and tell them the highway into Dawson is a beautiful road, and most Yukon roads are beautiful roads, so why do we have to have one Cadillac and the rest little Fords? Let us stay with little Fords and not have corduroy, bumpy road all over because we cannot afford the Cadillac. Grow up and have Fords everywhere. We should go to the Department of Public Works and say smarten up, what is good enough for Yukon roads is good enough for the Alaska Highway. I think people in my area, and maybe all the way to Watson Lake, would be quite happy with that type of road instead of the type of road they have.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I hear what the Member is saying. I remember being involved in a standards discussion on highways at a ministerial level with counterparts in other jurisdictions. One of the points made respecting highways in the nation in general was the desire to see at least a single corridor highway that is of a superior standard, for any emergency need that may arise to the country. Given the Yukons Alaska Highway fits into the category of a single corridor, its standard is arguably necessary to be kept fairly high for any future national reasons. It is a single entry point from the rest of the country and is a transmission route between countries.
I am not arguing in defence of high standards. I am simply telling the Member what the arguments are of Public Works Canada: that they should maintain a high standard. Until we know just how much money is being budgeted, we cannot definitively say what standard they are going to be bringing the road to. I hear what the Member is saying. He would like more for less, or more for the dollar being spent, and that is not an unreasonable point. Those are discussions that I have had with Public Works officials.
Mr. Brewster: You cannot have it both ways. They turn around and say they want a beautiful corridor right through the Yukon, which is right. We have argued that for eight years in here. It is a corridor into Alaska, and our main highway should be kept, but you cannot turn around and say we are going to build it to a certain standard and then leave it as a damn wagon trail - because that is what you have, including some around Rancheria. I agree with Mr. Speaker that if they put these big trucks on some of that road, there will be a lot of people sitting in the Rancheria River, because they are going to have to get out of the way of these trucks. I do not care what the Minister or what Ottawa says. Let us face up to the facts. They are either going to have a good corridor, which I agree they should have but, if they do not have the money, then let us get the Ford, and at least get that through first.
Mr. Lang: What concerns me on the Alaska Highway is that we could have almost stood up and read Hansard from last year, the year before and the year before that. We would have had the same discussion, with some changes in adjectives to some degree, and maybe the subject and predicate. The essence of the debate is the same.
We do not seem to be going anywhere. Here we are talking about maybe splitting $6 million so the Teslin riding gets its fair share of the money versus Kluane getting its fair share of the money, or whatever the case may be. We are forgetting what we are supposed to be here for, which is to try to resolve some of these problems.
Getting down to the financing, we keep saying we are going to go back, cap in hand, and say it is a federal responsibility: you shall pay up, and that is the way it is. The reality of the situation is that that argument has not held any water. We are not getting the money that is necessary to upgrade this road.
When I take a look at this budget, I see the various agreements - the Engineering Services Agreement, the Alaska Highway Agreement - and we have our own territorial money that the Cabinet can allocate, i.e. the Resource Transportation Access Program, and that type of thing.
From the federal point of view, as well as the territorial point of view, have there been any moves by the territorial government to get Public Works Canada and the Department of Indian Affairs together and say, let us amalgamate into one program for financing highways? Then, we in Yukon can decide what the priorities are in respect to where these dollars are going.
It seems ironic when you take a look, for example, at highways such as the Dempster Highway. It is getting to be a pretty fair road, overall, for what we need. I would question whether or not it is necessary to do a lot of work up there when we know the abominable condition that the Beaver Creek section of the Alaska Highway is in. I speak from experience again. You have heard me before. I have driven that road, and it is bloody awful.
People are complaining about Rancheria. Rancheria is a song compared to that Beaver Creek section, believe me. Have they put forward any other ways for amalgamation of this financing, with a little bit more leeway, and have the territorial government manage it? If you have not, why not?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: We are currently involved in negotiating an agreement for the adequate funding levels, both on the capital and maintenance sides, for a number of in-territory roads now. At least five of the highways in the territory are currently in a devolution discussion stage, if you will. These include the Top of the World Highway, the Dempster Highway, the Nahanni Range Road, the South Klondike and the North Canol. Those five roads are currently being discussed with the federal government for devolution purposes whereby funding levels are established for adequate capital upgrading and subsequent maintenance to be carried through in future years.
The Member asks why we do not take all of the agreements we have - like the one I have just described, which is in negotiations - and the other agreements for the capital upgrading of the South Klondike and the Dempster, and wrap them up with the Alaska Highway agreement and the Haines Road agreement. At this point, the federal government is not prepared to discuss the devolution of the Alaska Highway, simply because the dollars are too big to put forward as part of the deal. At the last meeting I had with Mr. MacKay, the federal Public Works Minister, we flagged the potential or an opening interest of taking over the Alaska Highway - meaning that, If you guys cannot do the job, we are prepared to, but you have to give us the bucks to do it. It was not received, simply because the $300 million capital upgrading that is required for the Alaska Highway just is not going to flow in such an agreement, but in the meantime, Public Works is not prepared to step up their level of funding.
The Member is suggesting taking the arrangements we have for funding on various other roads in the territory, wrap them up with the agreement we have for maintenance on the Alaska Highway, and somehow spring money to do capital upgrading on the Alaska Highway. I can tell the Member quite bluntly I am not prepared to do that. I am not prepared to take money from other roads and fill the vacuum of the Alaska Highway funding that is not being provided by the feds. That would not be smart.
Clearly, it is a dilemma: on the one hand, you were not prepared to spring money from other roads to fill up the necessary funding for the Alaska Highway, and at the same time we are not getting the money to upgrade the highway. It does pose a difficult situation.
The Member said you could take the speeches that went on in this House for the last couple of years and just change a few verb tenses and a couple of phrases and you would have essentially the same argument. That is true to a point, but over the course of last winter and this spring, when we made a big hullabaloo in this House and sent Hansard to all the federal Ministers and to the Speaker of the House of Commons and we entered into discussions with B.C. and the Alaskans, I think we have seen some progress this year that has not been seen for a couple of years. Last year, the Alaska Highway upgrading was $3 million. I think there is considerable effort and constant pressure from department officials during ongoing meetings with federal officials.
So I think what can be said as a result of the efforts put forward is that we at least sprung an improved equity relationship in the funding between B.C. and Yukon, from the $3 million last year to $6 million for this year. Now, how much more we can spring for next year by the same lobby effort, I do not know. There are some improvements, but I am very blunt about it: we are not getting much cooperation from the feds to increase the level of funding that we have identified as necessary and critical to the maintenance of that highway. Through the combined efforts of our continuing discussions with the Alaskans to revive the Shakwak project, with our continuing discussions with federal Public Works to increase our funding levels, with our ongoing efforts to do the best job that we can with the dollars that we have, there is not much more that is going to happen, short of a major change in attitude by Public Works. I think I understand their problem too. Springing dollars for remote Yukon is not the highest of priorities for them.
Mr. Lang: I am just trying to search for ideas on how we can get a little more flexibility in our financing so that we can determine what our priorities in the Yukon are if we have a finite number of dollars. What the Minister is saying to us is that he is prepared to go with the established programs, the way they are, and not look at any new ideas to see how we can maybe work better with the dollars that we have. All I am recommending is that there be more flexibility as far as our financing is concerned; instead of maybe spending $6 million on the Alaska Highway, maybe we could spend $7 million and arrest some of the very, very critical problems that we are having. I think that the side opposite had better realize how important this is to our tourism industry - moreso than anything else. It does not really affect those of us who live here very much, quite frankly. We are here and you have a captive audience. My concern regards the tourism industry, and in turn, small business, which means jobs, which means people, mostly young people and whether or not they have employment. It all spins throughout the system.
To stand up and say no, that is not smart, I do not totally agree with that. What the Minister has done so far is not exactly smart either. We are really proud of ourselves. We got an extra $3 million over the $3 million we got last year for the Alaska Highway; that is no big deal, compared to - if I recall correctly it was not too many years ago that they were spending as much as $9-$10 million on the highway. Those dollars went a lot further then than they do now, probably one-third farther. In other words, maybe we got two kilometres of road for the price of one kilometre of road that we are getting today.
What concerns me is that our ability to negotiate with Ottawa is becoming less and less. I think we have to try some new and innovative ideas about how we are going to work within the political and economic realities we face and meet some of the real demands that are being put on us as MLAs and as government and as the Legislature, vis-a-vis the MLA for Kluane, and I go back to the Beaver Creek section again.
I guess my question to the Minister is this: in the view of what happened in Question Period today and in view of the questions raised by the Member for Campbell, I would like to get a commitment from the Minister that once they have finished negotiating with Public Works Canada, can he communicate to us in writing, as Members as the House, since this is a very important issue to all of us, just exactly how the Government of Yukon Territory is recommending these dollars be spent on the Alaska Highway, because we may well be out of session by that time.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have no problem communicating to the Member on ongoing discussions with Public Works Canada. They are currently in a tightfisted mode, simply because they are facing tabling a federal budget shortly and I can understand their lack of desire to reveal their specific financial intentions. I can certainly communicate with Members the results of discussions we may be having, both on the $6 million that we understand is going to be allocated for this year, as well as the future direction of funding priorities for the highway. I want to tell the Member for Porter Creek East that if he has some new and innovative ideas about how one might spring federal dollars for federal responsibility, I would be interested in hearing them. When I refer to the five roads that we are negotiating currently, it is because there exists an ESA agreement for the capital upgrading of those highways.
We provide the subsequent maintenance to those highways. That does not exist with the Alaska Highway. The Member is asking me to say where this government is recommending allocation of the Alaska Highway dollars. Public Works does not have to pay two cents worth of attention to us. They do not have to take our recommendations. It is useful in our relationship and in our discussions for that to happen. At a technical level, our officials and Public Works officials are very knowledgeable about the conditions of the highway, particularly where conditions are unsafe. They are aware of where spending priorities ought to be.
I have this haunting sense that the Member is suggesting that we reallocate existing dollars into the Alaska Highway. I am positive that is not right. That takes the heat off the federal government in their responsibility to provide the dollars. Essentially, we would be filling the vacuum of federal abrogation of responsibility.
I recognize the problem that in the meantime, the highway is not getting any better. We, as a maintenance contractor, are doing the best that we can on the maintenance side with the money that we have, and the highway is maintained the best that it can be. We all recognize that the highway needs upgrading.
Mr. Lang: I appreciate the commitment from the Minister to communicate in writing the priorities that the Yukon government will be allocating to the $6 million.
The Minister talked about putting the heat on the federal government. That is a little bit like the mouse roaring. The highway is steadily deteriorating in the Beaver Creek area. If we can get commitments from both Public Works and from DIAND through the engineering service agreement, the government could allocate the federal dollars accordingly. Right now our hands are locked.
The Minister says that he will have a lot more to say about the ESA. That can only be once the Government of Canada has allocated the money. That is the only difference. We are still dependent upon the Government of Canada through DIAND. I understand that the federal civil service works very hard to ensure that we get the money we need to run our highways. I know many of them myself, and I know how hard they work.
The way it is right now, if nothing happens, if there are no moves to try and change some of the financing with the Government of Canada, we will be talking about the Beaver Creek section of the highway in two or three years from now. The Minister can talk about the heat that he put on the federal government. It will be just like a Calgary chinook. They will not even bother taking their jackets off.
Some thought has to be given to the political realities, the economic realities and how we are going to work within them to try and meet some of our priorities in the territory. The Minister and his officials may have some other ideas. I am just trying to help by throwing out some ideas. Has there been any thought given to the idea of us borrowing the money and having the federal government pay us back later? Has that been brought up with them as a method of offseting some of the financing of the highway?
The Yukon Development Corporation can borrow $1 million here and $1 million there. It loses $8 million here and there, and we do not get any information about that in the House. It would have been a lot better to have had the $8 million put into the Alaska Highway. A lot of people would agree. Some Members on the other side could nod sagely at this time, hindsight being 20/20, and they would have to agree. We do have some financing tools at our disposal within the government.
These are all questions for negotiations with the federal government; I realize that. This is an emergency situation. It will be kind of funny in 1992 when the tours come through here. It will be funny to see the effect when they travel up the Alaska Highway. It will be a real plus for the tourism industry when they tell their neighbours how bad the Alaska Highway is and how they never want to come back up here again. That would be a real sign of goodwill. That would do our tourist industry a lot of good in 1992 and beyond. The magic will be their getting here, and the mystery will be why nobody came back.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have to take the statements in the spirit they were intended. He is suggesting there be innovative ways to upgrade the Alaska Highway. I am not sure what number of approaches can be sought. Regardless of whether the money is borrowed from other sources or roads, it boils down to what portion the feds are going to contribute. It is a federal responsibility and what commitment we get in the long term will determine the extent of any kind of funding for that road.
I am not sure what I can add beyond what I have already said. The lobbying efforts and meetings that have taken place will be continued. We are continuing, on the Alaskan side, with the revitalization of the Shakwak program, and we are continuing to work on the level of funding with the federal Department of Public Works. We are stating emphatically how the highway needs upgrading and how critically important the highway is to the Yukon, as all Members have stated. We can only hope some additional funding is procured, that some repriorization of public works dollars takes place.
I agree with the Member. Reallocating $3 million over last years level is not a big accomplishment in terms of the condition of the overall highway. I accept the suggestions to investigate some overall long-term funding plans, but as I have said before, those initial discussions have begun and the feds are not prepared to talk devolution of the highway with any related dollars over the long term. Those discussions will continue. Perhaps in light of the severe condition of the highway and the emphasis being placed on the need for upgrading by the Yukon people, we will have a more receptive public works budget in the next go around. That is where the effort will be applied, and any innovative ideas that can be reasonably worked out from existing funding levels and existing roads will be looked at, but I am not prepared to divert money to the Alaska Highway to pick up a federal responsibility.
Mr. Brewster: As usual I have a problem trying to understand the logic. It has been proven by the Haines Highway and the 15 miles to Jarvis Creek that once you do this, your maintenance is cut down by thousands of dollars per mile. You recover that.
If you put the people to work who are up here, the money going back to the federal government in income tax would be fantastic. They would recover some there.
It is admitted by both this government and the federal government that this is the main corridor, yet it is the worst piece of road we have in the Yukon. It is not the worst in the country; I could probably find some in the Northwest Territories where they have a little dog pack team that would be worse, but not much.
Princess Tours, one of the biggest tour companies we have, is now pulling all their buses off the Alaska Highway and taking them into Dawson. Alaska Highway Tours, which is a big one, has built another 45 rooms in Dawson and that means they will run another bus and a half a day for 30 days. Add that up. That is all coming out of this area. This is your tourist area. I have already been informed that Andersons have canceled one bus tour, and Lincolns have already notified people they will not be bringing any buses up this year. We are getting there. What we live on is tourism and mining and we are killing both of them. We spent all this money getting a 1992 centennial, the Mount Hundere mine is to come into production in 1991, and we will have a complete fiasco between Watson Lake and here for those poor tourists. They say they are coming by the thousands. I do not believe it yet, but they are telling us this. All those big trucks will be coming around those corners that Mr. Speaker and the Member for Watson Lake talk about, then we will be 15 years trying to recover the tourist traffic because of the panic.
We will be 15 years trying to recover the tourists who panic and stop coming. We have one year, as the Minister said, to do it but there is no way we can do it. We have put ourselves into this damn mess; we are spending millions advertising to get everybody up here for the centennial and they cannot even get here.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I could not agree with the Member more, in terms of what he talks about, in terms of the damage that is being created as a result of the poor state of the highway. It is not something that, from a maintenance point of view, we can do much better. I think the Member recognizes the efforts that we provide to try to keep the highway in the best possible condition. Given its deteriorating surface, its deteriorating roadbed, its lack of ditches and its general poor condition, we are in fairly good shape. I trust what the Member is describing in terms of the tourism loss and business loss is real and provable, due to the condition of the road. If that is the case, that is even a stronger argument for upgrading.
The Member talked about the bad state of the road and I suggested, off the record, that it was the worst one in the country. I want to back that up. In terms of the national standards for corridors from coast to coast, the Yukon is the only highway that fits the category of providing a national corridor for throughfare from one end of the country to the other; and, as the Alaska Highway goes, compared to the other roads to which the standards of corridors would apply, it is the worst road in the country of the national corridor standard. That was my reference point.
Added to that, it is one of the few access points to the Yukon. The Alaska Highway is more important to the Yukon than most other highways in any other jurisdiction. If we are looking at corridors of importance for economic purposes, whether it be tourism, mining, transportation in any form, usually other jurisdictions have several access points or they have railroads or they have a number of means by which to transport goods. For the Yukon, we have air transport, the Alaska Highway, the Haines Road and the port of Skagway, or interior through Alaska. So the Alaska Highway forms a critical component of that access. The Member is perfectly correct about the importance of the highway and I think we all have to make an extreme effort to do what we can and provide our contribution to the persuasion that we need some bucks to start upgrading and we need them soon. Let us get on with that job.
Mr. Brewster: I have just a couple of things to say and then I will be finished. First, the highway is probably 50 percent of why those buses are not coming; the other 50 percent is because the Yukon Government decided not to back us to get access into the park so that they could stop these buses overnight and let people get into the park.
On the Beaver Creek section, every year, three or four people get killed because of hitting rocks that did not roll onto the road, they come up from below because there is no dirt left. I do not think anybody on this side or anybody in this Legislature would ever blame the road crews. I do not know how you expect anyone to run a grader down a road where, when he turns around, he is pulling up the old corduroy the Americans put in in 1943. This is a fact. It is not to make you a laugh; it is a fact. I can show you part of the mountains that you literally climb over that come through the dirt because there is no more dirt there - absolutely none. The ditches are not dug so the water is laying on the road. The ditches are not cleaned out because there is no money to clean them. This is not the fault of the maintenance people.
It is the fault of administration and of these people here. Incidentally, the ditches being cleared out is operation and maintenance and should be looked after by your people, and it is not being done. Therefore, they seep onto the road and the whole road is a mess. People are running graders down the road, pulling up old logs that were put there in 1943 and running over parts of the mountain that has now come back up through the road surface, because there is nothing there. There is a bit of maintenance not being done here; it is not the fault of the crews, it is the fault of someone who is not giving them the money to do it. The crews out there are sick and tired of people always climbing all over their frame and bawling them out - the tourists stop them on the road and bawl them out. It is not their fault. They are out there every day trying to do a job. You cannot do a job if you do not have the tools and equipment. If you do not have the material, you cannot put the road back in shape. It is a crime.
Before I close, I have one example of how rough it is. Last fall, one of the trucks going north with a load of chemical lost two axles; they went out one way and the truck went the other way and dragged down the road. The axles both bounced out. If that had tipped over, we would have had a disaster with the chemical. It would have been a small one, but it would have been a start. We talk about looking after our ecology and everything else. There is an example right there where the whole set of wheels went out from under the truck and dropped him right on the ground.
Mr. Lang: I wanted to raise one other question in the area of trucking on the highways. I raised questions the other day in the House during Question Period on deregulation. My understanding of the deregulation agreement was that all the provinces, in conjunction with the Government of Canada, had agreed that the principle of public use and necessity would no longer apply.
Can the Minister tell us whether or not any of the provinces, or the Northwest Territories, are still using that and, if so, why?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I should explain something on the question the Member raised the other day in the House. Since that time, I have had a conversation with the executive director of the trucking association. He indicated the association felt there was reason to believe there were more permits being issued in the Yukon, effectively causing the public interest to be eroded - as it is perceived by truckers. I have asked the department to provide me with statistics on the issuance of permits and authorities in the last couple of years. When I was in discussion with the trucking industry shortly after taking office, we looked over the literature and statistics. At that time, there was no evidence that the number of permits or authorities being granted had increased in any way over the years before deregulation.
For whatever reason, and I will be finding out shortly, local truckers feel that they have a case, and want to speak to me on the subject so I will deal with it.
The Member raised the question of other jurisdictions. I believe I indicated to him in Question Period that B.C. did not adopt the deregulation of in-jurisdiction trucking. They are still following the public need and necessity principle versus the reverse onus principle, which we follow. The interesting thing is, and I believe I pointed this out in Question Period, it is just as difficult for a trucker in B.C. to gain an authority in his own jurisdiction as it is for a Yukon person to gain an authority in B.C. They are as strict with their own as they are to outsiders.
Jurisdictions across the country are all moving toward deregulation. I believe that if Alberta has not already introduced legislation, it will soon. I believe Saskatchewan has moved to deregulation, and so has Manitoba. I am not sure about further east but B.C. is the only holdout at the moment. I believe NWT has plans to move to the legislation that we have. I guess to answer the Members question very specifically: B.C. seems to be the only holdout and I plan to meet with the new Minister of Transportation in B.C. next month to speak further on the issue. I flagged it with the previous Minister. As I indicated in Question Period, I spoke to the Attorney General about it and I met with two members of the trucking Motor Transport Board last fall. There seemed to be some uncertainty as to whether B.C. would even be contemplating a move toward deregulation. I have corresponded further on it and I am hoping to speak directly to them within a month, in preparation for the complaint from the truckers here.
Mr. Lang: I will just make a point here. First of all, the political realities in B.C. are pretty evident. We are going to be looking at an election there within the next 12 months - 18 months at the most, I would think. Subsequently, I cannot see any substantial changes in any of their legislation during this period. My concern is that we in Yukon seem to be working under different rules than B.C., yet, at the same time, our trucking industry is so much smaller that the one in British Columbia that we can effectively get swallowed up if it continues, to where we do not have a trucking industry in the territory. I am basically talking about the point-to-point eligibility regarding licensing. I should point out that the reverse onus principle makes it up to the established truckers and trucking companies to appear before the hearing. It costs them thousands of dollars to try to justify that there is not enough of a marketplace for somebody else to get involved. We are primarily dealing with people from outside of the territory who are trying to get their licensing authoirity.
I think there is some legitimacy to this but on the same hand, B.C., which is so close to us, is not playing by the same rules. It is fine to talk about Saskatchewan or Manitoba, or even Alberta, but quite frankly, most of our trucking here does not have a lot to do with Alberta, even. There is some but I am talking about a good portion of it. It is either totally within the Yukon or Yukon and British Columbia, with some spinoffs to Edmonton and Calgary. I am talking about the logistics of what we are dealing with.
Is the Minister prepared to consider legislative changes to correspond to those of British Columbia, if B.C. is not prepared to move from the public cause and public necessity principle that they are presently under? Or are we going to continue with the present system where our industry is really at the mercy of, basically, British Columbia?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I cannot tell the Member that I am prepared to do that now, I guess largely because I have to more clearly understand the position of the truckers. I did spend considerable time with the industry last spring and into the summer, I believe, and my staff also spent extensive time with the industry and the executive of the industry. I guess part of the problem was that there was not a full understanding of just what the rules were. The Member talks about the reverse onus, about the established trucking industry being required to object to a new authority being granted. What the established industry has to prove is that there is some erosion of the public industry by the granting of that authority. My dealings with the industry last spring were very favourable, in that we all got to understand the legislation better - and the rules - and it became apparent that there was an appeal process and a means to object whereby you could state your case, in terms of the new rules.
The statistics did not bear out that there were any number of new authorities being granted, even on the point-to-point ones within the Yukon. There may have been some change, and that is what I am waiting for. Since the Member raised the question, I have been approached by the executive director, and the matter has been flagged as something that they want to talk about. It is entirely premature to suggest that I am prepared to change the legislation. I would not want to raise expectations. I want to understand just what the truckers problems are.
If we are suddenly granting a massive number of new authorities, and if those authorities are jeopardizing the local industry, I am prepared to do something. We did not have that evidence last spring. I do not know what items have changed.
Mr. Lang: We do not need a lot of successful applicants to have an effect on our market. The Minister talks about massive numbers of applicants for licences. Two or three can affect the competitive edge and the ability to make a living in our limited market. That is the concern of the trucking industry. There does not seem to be any concern for those who are established and have their headquarters here.
I would like to be feel confident that we are going to keep some sort of headquarters here for the trucking companies. We can get into a situation where we are serviced as kind of a milk run by outside companies. That would not be favourable. I recognize the difficult situations that the Minister faces. I do not understand why we have gone so far when B.C. has not moved, even though B.C. indicated that it was going to move. Why did we move ahead of them?
I do not have any problem with the principle of reverse onus if we are both on it. The trouble is that we are not.
The Northwest Territories, contrary to what the Minister just said, which agreed to deregulation, are now asking for proof for public necessity from any applicant. The one I have here was passed about one month ago. We are squeezed between two jurisdictions that have tighter rules than we have. We have to start playing by the same rules.
The Minister said how successful the meetings were last spring. I recall talking to the truckers last spring. They made it clear to me that the Minister had listened carefully to them and heard them. He was supposed to be doing certain things on their behalf. I do not see him doing those things. The Minister said that he spoke to the Minister responsible for transportation in B.C. That is a big deal, but we do not have any results. Now we have a new Minister in B.C. to whom our Minister has to introduce himself. That is the success we have had.
The concerns that I am raising here are no different than the concerns that the Minister heard last spring. He promised the trucking industry that he would help resolve those concerns. That has not happened. The Minister will have to agree with me on that. B.C. has maintained its steadfast position on public necessity, and now the Northwest Territories is advocating that. We are going further backwards.
It is fine to say to our trucking industry that they have to appear before the hearings to impress upon the board how this will affect the marketplace. It costs them a great deal of money do that.
It costs thousands of dollars to appear before these hearings if you are going to do it in a manner that is professional, satisfactory and will get your point across. That is their complaint. They are having to appear in our jurisdiction, which uses reverse onus, if they see it adversely affecting the industry. Yet, if they go to British Columbia to apply they have to take the same lawyers to prove their case. They have a reverse onus both ways. It does not make sense, especially with British Columbia being such a large jurisdiction compared to ours.
If we wanted all our truckers to live in Vancouver and Dawson Creek, we can just carry on. That is not the purpose of deregulation. I leave that with the Minister to take up with the trucking industry.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I hear what the Member is saying. I have to see some evidence that there is some jeopardy to the trucking industry from what is happening. The Member alleges that there are an unusually high number of point-to-point authorities being granted. I do not have that evidence yet. I am researching it and expect to be meeting with the industry shortly.
The one point that should be made with respect to the NWT is that earlier they were going to be moving to deregulation. If they are changing their mind, that is a new twist. I take the Members representations seriously and expect to be meeting with the truckers soon. We will see what potential damage may happen, if any, and what rectification may be needed.
Chair: If that is the end of general debate we will proceed with line-by-line.
On Highway Construction
On Planning & Engineering
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Would the Members like to know how the $600,000 is being spent? Of that, $160,000 is allocated for engineering work, territory wide; $240,000 is identified for capital development; $120,000 is identified for gravel pit identification; and $80,000 for land analysis.
The capital development of $240,000 covers the salaries and expenses directly related to infrastructure planning, because capital development does not come with an open-ended budget, so this covers similar cost items. It is on the capital side. It looks after a director, capital planning engineer, transportation analyst, capital projects officer, and an auxiliary assistant.
Mr. Brewster: I do not know whether the Minister would like to talk about this now or under Airports. On the $120,000 for gravel, we fought for a number of years to get an emergency airport at White River and they put it on the other side of the road from where the people wanted it - but that is usual. Last year, the people discovered them drilling holes all through it to see what gravel is there and have now apparently made a gravel pit out of it. Would the Minister rather talk about this under Airports or right now? Which would get the most information?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member knows that I am not afraid at any time to talk about anything, but the problem I have with this issue is that I am not familiar with it. I do not have information on an airport that was planned that we took over when it was a gravel pit, if I am correctly reading what the Member is saying. He says it is White River; I will ask my highways people to provide me with a briefing so that I can provide the Member some background on this. I take it that the identification of an airport was legitimately done by Transport Canada in the past. If he has any airport information on this, I will take it now.
Mr. Brewster: I am not sure whether Transport Canada did it or whether it was the Yukon government. I believe they talked to Yukon government people. They asked if the government would put it on the other side because of the wind and a few things; of course, the people doing the survey refused and put it on that side. Then, a year ago, the Yukon government surveyors came out and drilled a few holes in it, claiming that they had to get them all in because of land claims and they did not want to lose that gravel pit. I am just wondering what is going to happen to the emergency airport, which is very very important because every year one or two airplanes come down on the highway there because of the clouds that seem to come down the White River, and they cannot get into Beaver Creek. In fact, I can recall two trips I made, when we ended up way over in Northway, Alaska, because there was no way we could get through and we had to go around. I believe there are letters and correspondence, if I am recalling correctly, in the last two years - I believe I have them on file - where it was agreed to put the airport in and now it has been destroyed and a gravel pit has been madec out of it.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will undertake to get back to the Member with some further detail on this. He talks about the emergency strip effectively being ruined as a result of the gravel pit exercise, and he implies that the emergency strip is necessary and should be maintained. That concerns me and I will certainly investigate. The Member should be aware that a number of strips recently have been abandoned and are no longer maintained in certain locations around the territory. I hope this is not a case of where a strip was abandoned deliberately by a program to regularize and maintain a set number of strips. I will check on that aspect, too.
Mr. Brewster: I would hope it was not abandoned because it took us five years to get it; in fact, I do not think it was even completed to where an airplane could land on it. They were still landing on the highway. I hope we did not go that far and, all of a sudden, lose it because it was abandoned in between somewhere.
Planning and Engineering in the amount of $600,000 agreed to
On Klondike #2
Klondike #2 in the amount of $1,420,000 agreed to
On Campbell #4
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I gave some information relating to both the Klondike and the Campbell highways on the sheets I circulated. I believe we talked a bit about them in general debate. I have nothing further to add.
Mr. Brewster: I got on my hurry-up horse and went through this quickly. It is only about 10 pages. I did this while listening to the Minister. I understand what they are doing on those two highways.
Campbell #4 in the amount of $2,200,000 agreed to
On Silver Trail #11
Silver Trail #11 in the amount of $300,000 agreed to
On Tagish #8
Mr. Phelps: This is a surprising figure, given the recent controversy that has been raging about the Mount Hundere ore trucks.
I have a couple of questions. There was some concern about the rerouting of the first 12 miles of the Tagish Road so it would not leave the Alaska Highway at Jakes Corner, but would leave it at a point much closer to Judas Creek. Has any decision been made about a major rerouting of the Tagish Road to the bridge from the Alaska Highway? There was that possibility. I had correspondence with the previous Minister about whether or not they were going to have the road come out toward Judas Creek, thus cutting off a significant mileage in terms of the distance from Tagish to Whitehorse.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not familiar with the rerouting issue. I will have to take notice and get back to the Member. As indicated in the budget, there is no intention to do any capital upgrading this year. Should that occur, I am sure the rerouting question would arise.
Mr. Phelps: A couple of years ago, it was thought that in the five-year plan, the balance of the Tagish Road was going to be completed. As you know, it was upgraded from the bridge to Carcross, so we are talking about the Alaska Highway to the bridge. That seems to have been put on the back burner, as has the upgrading of the Atlin Road.
When can we expect those two roads to be tackled in terms of capital upgrading? Both of them have very dangerous corners on them. In particular, the first eight miles of the Atlin Road require a lot of work.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: At this point, I cannot speak knowledgeably of the capital plan. The issue of the Atlin Road will have to be dealt with pending certain criteria for need. The same thing would happen on the Tagish Road. As the Member knows, the Tagish Road is quickly surfacing as an issue of some economic importance relating to the Hundere property. As I indicated to the Members colleague in Question Period, I am waiting for analysis of the transportation configuration intended by Mount Hundere, with or without the Tagish Road usage.
To give the Member the short answer, I am not aware of any current plan to provide upgrading funds on the Atlin Road but, certainly, the Tagish Road is taking on a new significance.
Mr. Phelps: Without getting into the ore truck issue and going just going from the point of view of the safety of the current users, even, both the first 12 miles of the Tagish Road and the first eight or 10 miles of the Atlin Road along Little Atlin Lake are fairly dangerous. They are main arteries and have been considered main arteries for some time. I just want to make representation that the department could give some priority to gradually straightening out both of those sections, with a view to making them safer to the travelling public. I accept the Members representation. Capital budgets keep coming around each year and the issues surface on priorities for spending and it is not cheap to build roads. I think there was some work done on the Tagish Road last year; it was an issue, I recall. There was some spot work and BST work done. I trust the Member is not saying that it is still an unsafe road, in general terms.
Mr. Phelps: Well they both could use some upgrading, straightening, and they are, in my view, substandard from the point of view of safety. I would also add that the Atlin Road may see some further development. There is talk of some kind of a road into Juneau from Atlin and there is a fair amount of activity taking place in the Atlin area, as the Minister is well aware, so the traffic is going to increase. There is a lot of tourist traffic and residents use the road an awful lot, so I just think it is something that should be looked at from the point of view of safety; it is a really treacherous road with blind hills and dips and corners.
Tagish #8 in the amount of nil dollars agreed to
On Bridges - Numbered Highways
Mr. Phelps: I just bring to the Ministers attention once again that there are a lot of rumours that surround the Tagish bridge, and it is something that ought to be looked at from the point of view of heavy traffic. I have been told that the pilings never did hit any kind of bedrock when they drove them and that some of the materials used are actually marked substandard.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Madam Chair, since the Member raised it in Question Period, I have asked for information relating to the status of the Tagish bridge. I am advised that it is structurally sound, that it is not destined for any upgrading, simply because it does not need it. I do not know if I would go so far as to say that it could handle the ore-haul route. The preliminary analysis is that it might be able to it is so structurally sound, but I cannot confirm that latter point.
Mr. Brewster: I noticed on that one bridge was upgraded for $750,000 and one bridge assessment was done for $50,000. Could you tell me which bridge got the upgrading and which one got the assessment?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: At the time of budget preparations, and based on the bridge study that was done between Curragh Resources and the government on the ore-haul route, it was thought that the Pelly River bridge would be requiring upgrading. I guess, to be perfectly blunt, that still may well be the case. We are reassessing that bridge work on the Pelly, because it may not have to be done this current year. We could do it in a future year, in which case we are required to upgrade the bridge at Carmacks, which would take up the majority of those funds.
In the budget process, and on the basis of the engineering work, we had earmarked it for the Pelly bridge. We are reconsidering reappropriating that to the Carmacks bridge on the Yukon River. The $50,000 is for assessment work on a number of bridges.
Mr. Brewster: Is the Minister telling me that the Takhini River bridge on the way to Dawson does not need to be finished? We had a long debate in the House about that last spring. Is that complete? Are the footings complete? Is everything okay? Did the bridge not have to be lifted up?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It does not show up in this budget; it is revoted funds of last years appropriation. Some work needs to be done. I should have anticipated the question and brought my notes. The Member is correct. Some additional work of approximately $40,000 needs to be done. It was from last years budget and was revoted. It is not in this particular vote. The bridge needs some pier work, some chipping and relaying of cement.
Mr. Brewster: Maybe my memory is slipping. I thought that the bridge had to be jacked up, and it was not done at that time. The contractor offered to do it for $110,000. Now, the Minister tells me that there is a vote of $40,000 to do that work. I have to take the Ministers word because I do not recall it exactly; it seems to be an awful drop in cost.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would almost prefer to leave this subject until I have all my notes together. Had the work been added on to the contract of last year, it would have cost more than our anticipated $40,000 this year on a fresh contract. The Member may not believe that, but that is what the engineers are advising me about the additional work that is left on that bridge. If it had been added to the other contract, it would have exceeded what it will cost under a new contract.
Mr. Brewster: I will take the Ministers word for that. It will show up later if this does not happen. Did this show up in a supplement? Where is the $40,000 voted?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will provide an answer to that after the next break. We have to check some numbers.
Chair: We will take a break.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Before the break, the Member raised the question of outstanding work on the Takhini bridge. I am advised that the estimated cost to complete the pier work on that bridge, expected to be done this summer, is in the $30-50,000 range. What I said earlier is correct: the job was deemed to be cheaper by retendering in a subsequent year than to attach it to the previous tender. During the course of the work last year, three locations on the piers needed repair; one of those locations was repaired and attached to the contract. The remaining two were not, largely because of the size of the quote on it. Therefore, they are going to be tendered and done this year. The money for that will be coming out of the $750,000 allocation here. There was no revote; there was no money left over from the job last year.
Mr. Brewster: You are telling me, then, that you will only be spending $700,000 on either the Carmacks or the Pelly River bridge - is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes.
Bridges - Numbered Highways, in the amount of $800,000 agreed to
On Mitchell #97
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $175,000 for the Mitchell Road is for some BST work for that eight or nine kilometre section from the town to the Campbell Highway.
Mitchell #97 in the amount of $175,000 agreed to
On Other Roads
Mr. Brewster: Other roads: conditional survey and miscellaneous designs, $75,000, miscellaneous reconstruction $100,000. A hundred thousand dollars is a little bit of money. What other roads are being reconstructed?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $100,000 is identified for the improvements that are necessary to the roads that are listed under what we call policy 4/9. Policy 4-9 identifies which roads get winter maintenance and summer maintenance, which ones get summer maintenance only. There are some 50 roads listed on this policy maintenance schedule. That $100,000 is identified for spot upgrading on any of these roads.
Mr. Brewster: Is the Mendenhall Road on there?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The maintenance schedule of roads I referred to is for roads throughout the territory outside subdivisions. The Mendenhall would not be on that roads list.
Has the Member seen a copy of that roads policy? I can certainly provide it to him. The short answer is that the Mendenhall is not on it.
Other Roads in the amount of $175,000 agreed to
On Resource Transportation Access Program
On Management & Control
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The resource transportation access program is fairly popular. We have identified substantial funds for it. This is expected to be the last year of the program. If the Member recalls, it was a five-year program introduced in 1986. This will be the last year of its planned life.
It is a program that is very popular with the mining community for road construction to resources. It has been used by tourism interests. It has been used fairly extensively throughout the industrial sector. The forestry people have used it, as have the agricultural people.
I do not know if the Members have any particular questions on it.
Mr. Brewster: A year ago when the government went in and built the first I-do-not-know-how-many miles, which cost us millions of dollars, the Yukon Chamber of Mines objected and said they would not have anything more to do with such a road. Last year, was the Yukon Chamber of Mines consulted, and was there a better bang for your dollar than the year before? Instead of making a Cadillac, they got down to a Ford for running in there.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am not sure I caught the precise query of the Member, but he is referring to the Casino Trail. I think he was asking me a general question on whether or not we are doing it to less of a standard and cheaper. In general terms, the chambers point of view was listened to. The standard of the road has been reduced from a very early study that was done by the federal government for original upgrading of that road. Once we introduced RTAP, that quelled that high expectation of a major road.
In 1989, the work on that road consisted of a clean-up from kilometre zero to kilometre 39.6. It completed bridge and deck work on Big Creek and Seymour Creek bridges. Currently for 1989, we have spent a total of $88,000 on that work.
Mr. Brewster: The Minister stated the federal government was in charge of the first part. That was not my understanding. It was a training program this government bragged about for putting people to work that went plumb out of this world. The Yukon Chamber of Mines protested violently. I understood it was territorial. I realize the funds were federal but you administered it.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Just to clarify that, I had thought an original study for the Casino Trail route was done by the feds. I was wrong. The Casino Trail study originated with the Chamber of Mines request for access into the mineral deposits of that area. The response of this government was to begin construction in 1986. It was all territorial budget dollars; I was not accurate in the reference to the feds.
Mr. Brewster: The Casino Road was held up because they were doing a caribou study. Has this proceeded? Can the road proceed? Where do we stand?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is correct about the study taking place on the caribou herd winter range. The project is currently under deferral. The study is in its concluding stages as they are examining certain winter components of the study. I am told that it should be concluded by May. That would be well in time for any decisions that may affect a construction season.
Mr. Brewster: It puzzles me why it would be held up because the caribou are there in the winter. Most exploration work is done in the summer. The Chamber asked for a four-wheel road through there to be used during the summer when the caribou are not there. I wonder why two departments, and a few other people, cannot get together so this is a year-round process, instead of tying everything up.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is my understanding that an established local resource group, which includes the two departments, two bands and land claims interests, recommended deferral for a year so this study could be done. The RTAP management group agreed with the deferral. The evaluation is now reaching a conclusion. I am not expert enough to be able to tell the Member why winter studies should affect summer activities. That evaluation will be complete by spring and we should have the results of it, and decisions should flow from that as to what further improvements to the road can take place.
Mr. Brewster: The Minister gave us a list of the people on the committee. People from the Yukon Chamber of Mines have a great interest in that area, but its people are not on that board. Why is that?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will have to get back to the Member. The Yukon Chamber of Mines may not be on the resource group, but we are not sure.
Management and Control in the amount of $70,000 agreed to
On Evaluation and Inspection
Mr. Brewster: The Minister is not going to get away that easily. The road was closed down for a year, so there is actually no road to evaluate for last year. Yet, the amount allotted has gone up by 200 percent. Why?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member should recognize that Casino Trail is only $88,000 of the $2.5 million program. The evaluation and inspection is the expected cost related to the many projects that are going on. The transportation group running this program has to review the projects. It has to make sure that when payments are made that the job is done. It has to make sure that funds are withheld if the job is not done adequately. A considerable amount of inspection work has to be done.
A lot of these projects are now adding up in the final year of the program. If the program will be closing down, we have to slow it down and make sure that everything is in place.
Mr. Brewster: How many other projects are there besides the Casino Trail?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: About 130 projects have been funded under this program since it began in 1986. That is an estimate, because we do not have a total here. Many of these would be concluded. However, now that we are into the tail end of it, the ones in the last year or two are wrapping up. This years projects have to be addressed. We have to make sure that all the projects from the last couple of years are properly concluded. We have to make sure that the roads funded under the program have met their criteria, the funding is properly appropriated and that any commitments under the applications have been met.
Mr. Brewster: That is from 1986. In 1989-90, there was only $50,000 was allotted for evaluation. Now it is up by 200 percent. We know that the Casino Road had nothing to do with it. Undoubtedly, a lot of those other programs would have been finished before this 200 percent increase. What is the big increase for?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The big increase is to wrap the program up. We had 130 applications over the four-year period to date. We expect another 30 or more applications this coming year for that $2.5 million. We have between 45 and 50 active applications right now that have not been concluded. Of the 130 applications, 90 are dead.
There are about 45 or so still active. We are managing those 45 to make sure that they wrap up. We will be looking after the new 45. We will be looking after close to 80 or 90 projects with this years funding. This is the wrap-up year. We have to make sure all the projects that are active today and the ones that become active in the next year are wrapped up properly. That is the reason for the increased evaluation. We want to make sure that the program wraps up properly.
Mr. Brewster: With respect to these roads being built, do they not get progressive payments? If so, would they not be inspected before they got them?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My recollection of the program is there are not progress payments as such. The project has to be completed before money is issued under the program. What can happen, though, is that if the project is substantially complete - that is, 95 percent of the job is done and there is some ditch work that did not get done - there would be a holdback for that work. There could be a payment made at the closing stage of the project, where the proponent figures the job is done but our evaluation says it is not. So, there are no progress payments as such; it is payment upon conclusion, with a bit of flexibility.
Mr. Devries: My understanding is the Rancheria logging road for Yukon Pacific was under this program. Is the Minister saying that, if they do not get their bridges built this year, there would be no more funding for it if they are closing off the program? If there is money committed to it, will that still be available?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes. If funding has been granted under the program for a project, and the proponent proceeds with the construction of the road and there is a bridge involved, and they do most of the road but do not get the bridge done, they are not entitled to any payment, but they still have program funding. This means that if they finish the job next year and meet all the criteria of evaluation, assessment, et cetera, they will get their funding. Money that is committed by application will be honoured. It is just not expected that new money will be allocated for this program next year.
Mr. Devries: I was not listening earlier. Is some of this money committed for the Mount Hundere road to the mine site from the Campbell Highway or not?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I understand that application to the fund has been sought by Curragh Resources. There is $500,000 committed this year, but it is subject to considerable assessment work and environmental study work. It would be subject to those conditions and would not flow until those studies are done and the job is complete.
I believe there is an additional $500,000 committed to next year, meaning this budget we are currently looking at, and that is the program maximum of $1 million. Pardon me, the program maximum is $500,000 in any one year. To answer the Members question, yes, there has been application, and it has been approved conditional for this year.
Mr. Devries: I would like to go back to the Rancheria situation. As the Minister is well aware, the mill is in receivership. If the mill happened to be sold to another party, would it carry over to that other party?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The way the program rules work is it is not an automatic transfer or continuation. There has to be proof the project is substantially the same and that the new owner wishes to carry the program as originally applied. If that is met, there would be a little more checking, as well, and then the program funding would flow to the new owner.
It is not immediate nor automatic, but it is permitted.
Mr. Brewster: As I understand it, some of the project funding from that $2,280,000 is already committed. Is that not correct? There are people who have not finished their programs.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am advised it is not very common to commit into years forward unless there is a phased project application, in other words, where a proponent comes in and proposes to do work phased over a couple of years. That is what happened on the Curragh application. Their proposal was a two-year effort and, therefore, there was a commitment for this budget year and the one coming up. Remember that this application is conditional upon some assessment and environmental study work being done before anything would flow.
Mr. Brewster: As I understand that, there is $500,000 this year and $500,000 next year, closing the program off next year. That leaves $1 million to be spent for others. Before that, you said you were still evaluating programs that were not finished. Is that not carried into the $1 million that is left?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let me clarify this. In the current fiscal year we are in now, 1989-90, the budget forecast is $1.4 million, as indicated by the line item. Of that, $500,000 is conditionally committed to Curragh. In the amount of the $2.2 million, only $500,000 more is committed in the next fiscal year. That changes the numbers the Member proposed.
Mr. Brewster: There is no more of that money committed, except to Curragh?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am advised the Member is correct. Only Curragh has what amounts to a commitment for next year, subject to all these studies and the funds being voted.
Mr. Devries: When we were going through the supplementaries, I understood there was $350,000 committed to Yukon Pacific Forest Products. I believe there was $624,000 left over. Was this going to be a revote? I have revote written behind this. I would have to look in the Hansard to see exactly what the Minister said.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member can just nod if I am on the right track. Is he talking about Yukon Pacific Forest Products phase 3 access? Yes, there was just under $350,000 allocated for road work, which did include a log bridge over George Creek.
If the money does not get spent this year it will get revoted. I am not particularly certain of the status of the project now, but if the work is not completed this year allowing payments to flow, it simply goes into a revote for the next year so it can properly be provided in the correct budget year.
Evaluation and Inspection in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Project Funding Assistance
Project Funding Assistance in the amount of $2,280,000 agreed to
On Facilities and Equipment
On Engineering and Design
Engineering & Design in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
On Sundry Equipment
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I did not think the Member would let $270,000 go by.
If I recall, we dealt with a similar item in the spring. It is the allocation for the annual purchase of a lot of little things to support the activity that goes on at all the maintenance camps and garages in general. This is the funding that allows for the purchase of equipment on an ongoing basis that is usually purchased when equipment becomes worn out or damaged, or is no longer economical to repair. It can include power plants, water pumps, chain saws, brush saws, power tools and similar kinds of things. It also includes some engineering equipment for transportation engineering, particularly things like traffic counters. I believe we budgeted slightly higher in the year previous so we are trying to be efficient about this.
Mr. Brewster: The only thing I disagree on is that the Minister said little things. There are an awful lot of little things. I am rather glad to see there are some power plants because when you spend $270,000 on little things it makes my head shake. I am glad to see there are some power plants and engineering things to bring the total up.
Sundry Equipment in the amount of $270,000 agreed to
On Weigh Scales
Weigh Scales in the amount of $60,000 agreed to
On Maintenance Camp Facilities
Mr. Brewster: I see the Klondike Maintenance Camp gets $400,000 and the Ogilvie Maintenance Camp $450,000. This brings up the subject of Beaver Creek. When are they going to get some proper homes to live in instead of shacks or old trailers? They have one of the worst and coldest places on the highway to live and they live in complete disarray. We build a very fancy lodge but have done nothing for these people. That is probably one of the reasons why we have a whole new crew every six months scattered all over the place.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is talking about the facilities at Eagle Plains and Ogilvie.
Mr. Brewster: I asked when Beaver Creek is going to be brought up to standard.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I did not realize that the Member was inquiring about Beaver Creek. We used Yukon Housing Corporation as the principal agent for supplying adequate accommodation in the highways camps in communities. I will put on my other hat and take up the Members concern. I will inquire why there is inadequate housing there, if it is as the Member describes. There should not be. I take the Members representation seriously.
Mr. Brewster: I remember a number of years ago when YHC did control the housing, but the Burwash Band and the Beaver Creek Band got all those houses. These people are living in trailers or whatever they can find. Most of them have no homes at all. It is very unfair when they see all these nice new houses for customs employees and the RCMP. Our road maintenance crews are practically living in shacks.
They were very dissatisfied with Yukon Housing, and maybe Yukon Housing sold the buildings. Incidently, those buildings were built there when the Alaska Highway went through in 1943.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am quite unfamiliar with the situation that the Member describes. I will undertake to research it and raise it for discussion when we get into the housing budget.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us exactly how he will spend this money? Where will the $700,000 that has been allocated going to be spent?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $700,000 is identified for the construction of a new maintenance garage in Old Crow. The facility that is there is severely eroded. It has been on the capital plan for this year.
Mr. Lang: Did we not just spend a fairly significant amount of money on a garage up there a couple of years ago?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: A three-bay garage to house the fire truck and the sewage truck was built. This is a highway maintenance garage out of which the maintenance of the roads, the airport, et cetera would be taking place.
I viewed the existing facility last summer. It has been there for some time. A good part of it has a dirt floor. It was damaged severely in the flood because it is close to where the water level rose. The water level was up to chest height. It is a pretty ramshackle building. I think it was originally a quonset hut. This is the upgrading of what amounts to the poorest maintenance garage in the territory.
Mr. Lang: I just want to make an observation here: $700,000 for a maintenance building is quite a bit of money. Are they the cost estimates given by the department for the purposes of the shop?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am told that it is not unreasonable. They are estimates provided by Government Services, and certainly are the expected cost for us to build that facility in Old Crow.
Mr. Brewster: The budget says $700,000. My colleague from Porter Creek has brought up the $700,000 for Old Crow; where does the money for the Klondike and the Ogilvie camp, which is $950,000, show up in the budget?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Ogilvie and Klondike are funded under the Engineering Services Agreement with the federal government, so they show up in the budget just a few lines lower where we have South Klondike #2 and Other. That is where it will show, funded under the ESA.
Mr. Lang: I would like to go back to the maintenance camp we were talking about. We are talking about a shop, I gather?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us what the size of the building is going to be?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not have the square footage as such. I can certainly provide it, I am sure, after break; I would not even hazard a guess because I am working from memory in trying to recall the equipment that is there in terms of graders, water truck, et cetera. I am not sure what the square footage is. I could advise him later.
Mr. Lang: It is coming on to 5:30 p.m., so perhaps the Minister could provide me with the square footage detail at 7:30 p.m.?
Chair: We will recess until 7:30 p.m..
Chair: I will now call the Committee to order.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Just to provide the Member with the information left over prior to the break: the square footage of the garage at Old Crow is 6,000 square feet. A quick calculation shows that to be about $110 per square foot. Perhaps that is a little on the low side, but the department is quite confident they can achieve that. A good part of that cost is for transportation of materials.
Mr. Lang: I would like to point out that 6,000 square feet is a lot. A normal shop is 60 X 60, and that is a very large shop. Can the Minister elaborate exactly what they are building there? We are probably dealing with 60 X 100. Can the Minister tell us what is going to be in this shop to warrant that size? It is awfully big.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is a fairly good size shop. It is 60 X 100. Principally, it is for equipment storage. The necessity in Old Crow is to keep equipment running all winter during extremely cold temperatures. Often the conditions are worse than in other communities. That is the short and long of it. It is a maintenance workshop typical of any maintenance workshop around the territory with a large component for the storage of equipment necessary to maintain the services of Old Crow, including the airport.
Mr. Lang: What do we have for equipment? We already have a shop housing three pieces of equipment over the winter months. Over and above the loader, and perhaps a grader, what other reason would there be to store something in such a large building?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I suppose I could have anticipated that detail and brought it with me. We are working strictly from our current knowledge. The Member is correct, it would house the grader and loader. There are five dump trucks in Old Crow. There would be other pieces of equipment I cannot enumerate at this time, but I will be happy to provide the Member with that later.
Mr. Lang: It seems like an awfully big building for the amount of work that has to be done. I do not think we are arguing the need for the new facility, but $700,000 is a lot of money. For the work that has to be done, primarily the airport, I find it hard to believe we have to build a shop to house five dump trucks. My understanding is that you may keep one or more inside the shop, but most of them are outside and plugged when necessary. I do not think this has been looked at too hard, and I find it mind boggling to see this amount of money going into a project of this kind.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My understanding is that the design work is nearly completed so it is not a difficult task to providing more detailed information; it is just not available at this time. I do not think it is inaccurate to suggest that there has not been a lot of thought given to it. It has been contemplated for some time, given the condition of that building. It just never was able to be found in the budget before now, so this year it is being treated on a priority basis largely because of the flood last year. I will undertake to provide Members with more detail pertaining to the design and use of the building.
Mr. Lang: When the Minister does that, could he also provide us with exactly how much the facility in Ross River cost, because we replaced that particular shop not too long ago. Perhaps the Minister could also provide me with the square footage of that shop, to give us a comparison. They were comparing, in some cases I think, facilities that have some similarity.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes. We are struggling to recall the maintenance garage that was put up in Ross River. I believe there was a fire hall there, but I am not sure about a maintenance garage. Nevertheless, the question is not unreasonable. We will provide a couple of comparisons of other facilities.
Mr. Lang: We did vote money for a shop because a very similar debate took place at that time in respect of the cost. I am trying to recall the debate, but I believe it was projected to cost somewhere between $250,000 and $300,000 - I do not know the final outcome of that particular project. There were several people around here who had some knowledge of equipment and everyone felt maybe they were in the wrong business - they should be in the business of building shops. The same thing applies to this, I think. If there was a shop built there, I am sure the information is on file.
Maintenance Camp Facilities in the amount of $700,000 agreed to
On Miscellaneous Branch Facilities
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This, again, is for the purposes of providing various upgrading to maintenance camps around the territory; that would include the central workshop in Whitehorse as well as the weigh stations. The $150,000 is essentially to allow for the purchase or replacement of items that are necessary for the ongoing operation of those camps, and would include things like garage overhead door replacements, furnace replacements, fuel pumps, ventilation systems, yard lighting improvements and various other items.
Mr. Brewster: I am glad the Minister did not say another power saw.
In other words, it is $420,000 now that has gone into miscellaneous power saws and such small things as chairs and so on?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: It is not quite like that. What this provides for is the maintenance of the facilities. The other line item was for equipment pertaining to the operation of the highway maintenance system. The other one replaced things like chainsaws and equipment for use by personnel in Highways. This repairs and maintains the buildings. That is the difference.
Mr. Brewster: He mentioned buying chairs and a few things like that. You usually do not fix them up; you turn around and buy new ones, which is much the same thing - a chair or a powersaw - if they are broken, you buy a new one, you do not fix it?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am such a congenial sort but I would not want the Member to think that chairs are replaced because I did not say chairs. I referred to doors; I referred to ventilation systems; I referred to lighting systems. It is the maintenance of the standing facilities.
Miscellaneous Branch Facilities in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On VHF Systems
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I thought Members would be curious why it appears as if we are not spending any VHF money. It is because it is found in another vote, under Communications. It is the replacement of the VHF system, which has some substantial funds in it.
Mr. Brewster: I was just hoping that it was all finished and that it was one thing that we would not have to keep spending money on but I guess that I am wrong again. Could I find out just where it is? Could you tell me that?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let me put it this way: we have already discussed the funds being allocated for the replacement of the VHF system. It was the NDMRS system, where we place microwaves along highway corridors and we are, I believe, in year 3 of a five-year program. It is done in phases. We did the Alaska Highway and the Haines Road first, I believe, then we did the Klondike Highways and I believe that in the next year we are moving to the Campbell Highway, so it is being done on a phased basis. I believe that the total cost of that program is some $9 million. It was begun a couple of years ago. We are in year 3 of it. It is going to replace the system.
If the Member recalls, one of the questions posed by someone opposite was in relation to whether that would accommodate newer high tech that comes along during the 15 year anticipated life of the system. To answer the Members question, that is where the money for the VHF replacement system is located; it is not replacement of the VHF that we have seen every year - of a few hundred thousand dollars for the last 15 years. It is a new system and I believe that in this year we spent some $1.4 million for it.
VHF Systems in the amount of nil agreed to
Hon. Mr. Penikett: Madam Presidente, jai un message tres important. The nouveau democrat Monsieur Philip Edmonston est le champion de Chambly ce soir.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Would the Premier tell us the result of the vote, in English?
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I just wanted to announce, in the appropriate language, that Philip Edmonston, the New Democratic candidate, is the victor in the Chambly by-election this evening.
On Engineering Services Agreement:
On South Klondike #2
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Engineering Services Agreement has received some general debate. The south Klondike Highway is where $6.5 million is going to be spent. Again, in an earlier statement, I commented on some of the work that was being done. I will detail that more specifically now.
That $1.7 million will be spent on reconstruction of kilometres 61 to 65. The $3.7 is being spent on kilometres 79 to 90. BST is to be applied from kilometres 57 to 61 for $60,000. BST is also to be applied between kilometres 65 to 79 for $200,000. Hydroseeding will cost $40,000. The balance of $450,000 is for engineering supervision administration. This is indicated under the Engineering Services Agreement, so it is recoverable.
Members are familiar with some of the work on that highway. We had an extensive discussion in the spring debate about the supervision of the construction zones, not just on that highway but on others as well. Members opposite brought to my attention, both in the House and privately, the complaints that they received regarding the poor condition of the road throughout the construction zone. They also brought to my attention the lack of adequate flag persons, adequate instruction and totally inadequate maintenance of the driving portions of the construction zones.
I am pleased to tell Members that matter has been investigated. A suggestion was made that we ought to tighten up the contract regulations under which we issued the tenders. Upon examination, my department has determined that that is not necessary. There is enough authority in there for us to come down heavier and tighter on supervision and administration within the framework of the existing rules. We will be improving it from that avenue.
Mr. Brewster: I would like to suggest that when a contract is tendered for 20 or 30 kilometres, five or 10 should be done at once. I worked with contractors for many years. They used to put some workers on one end and some on the other, and the entire 20 miles were ripped up at once. That makes it very very hard. If it was done in five or 10 miles stretches, it would be easier.
There is $40,000 allotted for hydroseeding. I hope the right grass is put in so the buffalo and the elk can come down to the road in the winter. They enjoy the new grass that this outfit probably spent $200,000 to develop. It is real good, and the buffalo really enjoy it. They lie along the road, chew and look at people and smile. They even wink now. Now the elk have moved in. Maybe if the grass was put on the road into Skagway, the sheep may come down.
This is not so funny. I remember when Mount Allen was built for the Olympics, the dogooders were yelling and screaming that the sheep were going to be driven off. Bales of hay were put up to stop the skiers from getting hurt. Then they had to put a patrol out to keep the sheep away because they were eating all the hay. This is what will happen with the hydroseed. If we put something there that the wild animals like, they are going to eat it. With all the experimentation going on, something should be developed that they will not eat. I think the government should try and find something like that.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would be interested in any further thoughts the Members opposite may have. The Member has described what is a consequence of an attempt to not just make the highway corridors look better, but principally for erosion protection. Roots of grass are one of the best protections against water erosion on freshly cut soil. The hydroseeding effort, which has been ongoing for some time, is inviting the problems that the Member describes.
It is not funny. They are pretty horrendous and scary experiences if a person drives through this kind of wildlife traffic. I do not know what an alternate solution would be. I do not know if we have a variety of grass seed available to us that will take in those conditions. Those conditions are severe in terms of the kind of soil that the grass seed is being placed into.
I do not know if we have a grass seed variety that animals will not eat. It raises an interesting prospect.
Mr. Brewster: I will point out that when you put this grass in and the animals move on to there, it is not only what they eat. They are all split-hooved animals and, therefore, they are walking and creating trails, which creates a ditch for it to run into, so erosion is twice as bad because the water is gathering in these trails. You are defeating your own purpose. If you cannot find something the animals are going to stay away from, you had better leave it alone. All these animals are doing is walking up and down and creating trails. If they create them coming off the angled slope down on to the road, they are creating a stream. Once the water gets into the stream, it goes twice as fast and washes out twice as fast. You are not really creating anything to keep the erosion stopped, as long as these animals are going to come on the road. They are going to come on. I do not care where it is. All these animals will eventually figure out that is the best place to spend the winter, and they are going to spend it there.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member will have to agree the initial planting of grass is what stops the erosion from happening you ordinarily see on a freshly cut slope of a roadside. It is an interesting problem we have, as we try to hydroseed and control this erosion where we have animals that are attracted to that as a feeding area.
I recall my youth in rural Saskatchewan where the issue was similar. Because of the presence of a lot of farm animals, not wild animals, it was mandatory that all roads were fenced along the right-of-ways. Those hydroseeded areas adjacent to the driving portion of the road became excellent pastures for harvesting. Farmers would take advantage of that and bale up the hay along the road, and every farmer who lived next to it was entitled to take that for free. That does not occur here, partly because we do not have the fencing precedent, and partly because we have many more wild animals.
It is an interesting problem we are facing and, at this time, I do not know the answer.
Mr. Brewster: I was certainly not suggesting fencing. I do not want to go through that experience. I do disagree that the first time grass is planted, erosion stops. If the animals are there, you do not, because they chew those roots up. It is like any animal you put in a pasture. If the pasture is too small, it is not what they eat, it is what they kill. They are killing that grass. When they kill that grass and continue to walk in the same trail, since they are all creatures of habit, they create a trail. Once you have created a trail, for example, through muskeg and you use one area twice, you cannot use it anymore, because you have now formed a creek. The water naturally goes into a low place, and it creates big holes along the road and slopes.
You are really not gaining anything by doing this, unless you can get something they are going to stay away from, except in areas where they are not. That is usually a big rock pile where the grass would not grow anyway.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: One of the things I should point out is that, in efficient hydroseeding of roadsides, you place the seed on the steep slopes because that is where you want to control the erosion. Chances are unlikely that animals will crawl up those steep slopes to get at the grass. If they do, I can see what the Member is talking about. They churn up the soil and kill the root structure of the hydroseeded landscape.
The other interesting phenomena we are looking at and attempting to do something about during highway construction is to try and salvage the topsoil in the clearing for the road. We would salvage it in the process of preparing the roadbed and clearing for the road surface and, then return that dirt back to the ditch area. This provides a natural growth base for grasses so that we would not be required to hydroseed.
That will also attract animals, particularly because it is the indigenous plants that will grow on that kind of a soil base.
South Klondike #2 in the amount of $6,150,000 agreed to
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There are a fair number of projects involved in that $2,450,000. Perhaps I can take a minute and go through some of them. They are provided in the summary of projects I provided earlier today.
Nevertheless, $950,000 is provided for erosion protection on various portions on the Dempster Highway, specifically at Blackstone River, Ogilvie River and Engineer Creek. That amounts to a lot of riprap work: materials and a bit of engineering work.
An additional $400,000 of that amount is intended for a three-bay addition to the Klondike Maintenance Camp. The Klondike Camp, at approximately Mile 50 of the Dempster Highway, is not very large and requires a lot of the road maintenance equipment to be housed outside. This will allow for some of the equipment to be put inside.
Another $450,000 is for the construction of an addition, as well as a retrofit of the existing garage, at the Ogilvie Camp at Kilometre 195 of the Dempster. Again, the existing garage is less than adequate for operational requirements. Similarly, much of the equipment has to be housed outside so this will allow for containment of at least some of the machinery inside, particularly during the winter months. Some insulation work is being done on the existing camp, and so on. The addition is going to be a three-bay garage as well.
That should total close to $2,450,000.
Other in the amount of $2,450,000 agreed to
On Emergency Airstrips
Mr. Brewster: I am presuming that this nil amount means that they are not fixing the White River emergency strip this year. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I was preoccupied reviewing my notes and I honestly missed the Members question, but part of that preoccupation was to try to add up whether I had covered all the projects in the previous line item. I should have said that there was an additional project for $250,000 aimed at reconstruction of the Top of the World Highway, just past the Clinton Creek cutoff - for some road realignment and surface reconditioning that will be done.
Perhaps the Member could tell me what he was asking?
Mr. Brewster: I am simply making an observation that there is no budget for emergency strips, so I presume the White River emergency airstrip that got started and then turned into a gravel pit is a long-gone project.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member recognizes that we are on the capital side of the budget, meaning that this is for major upgrading of an emergency strip. That does not mean that we do not maintain the strips we have. The existing strips that are maintained come under a maintenance budget. I undertook previously to investigate the issue he raised, relative to the White River strip, and I will be providing that to him.
Emergency Airstrips in the amount of nil agreed to
On MOT Airstrips
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe, when we closed off debate on Thursday, we were talking about what amounts to this particular item. This identifies the money that is intended for the Haines Junction and Carmacks strips. I believe the Member has previously asked me questions about it; if he is interested, I can give him some detail of the planned projects as they now stand, should the agreement proceed and we expect it to.
The two projects at Haines Junction and Carmacks in total would amount to $3.6 million, overall. In 1990-91, that is the coming year, $640,000 is expected to be spent on the Haines Junction project and $1 million on the Carmacks project. In future years, an additional $1.2 million will be spent on the Haines Junction project, with $650,000 on completing the Carmacks project. So, they are phased over a couple of years. That would bring both Haines Junction and Carmacks airports to the certification standards that are used to grade them in the B and C program category.
If the devolution occurs as we discussed last Thursday, that money flows with the deal. If the deal does not get signed, then the projects would be required to be approved individually by the federal government.
At the same time, there is an intention to spend $665,000 at Teslin and $10,000 on upgrading at Old Crow and Ross River. Both the Old Crow and Ross River projects would happen in this current year, as would the $665,000 in Teslin, with an additional $282,000 intended for Teslin in the subsequent year. The Teslin project would include the upgrading of the surface of the runway, as well as a lighting system. In Old Crow and Ross River, the $10,000 being spent there is essentially for handicapped access.
Mr. Lang: I just want to pin this down a little closer about this agreement. Have any monies for that agreement been approved by federal Treasury Board?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Yes, I believe there has.
Mr. Lang: Then what is the final hurdle, as far as the agreement is concerned?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Minister of Finance, on Thursday, outlined that, I think. What is being sought now is confirmation that we are not going to have our base eroded by virtue of this agreement in our Formula Financing Agreement. Let me put it this way: if signing off this agreement means that next year we are going to get less money because we got this money this year, then we are going to have to draw from other funds to maintain the level of service that we agreed we would get and maintain. So that is being checked out currently and I would expect that we would have some answers shortly. I see no major hurdle from what appear to be progressive discussions at a staff level on that score. I expect to see the agreement signed off soon - signed off soon with an assurance that the funding level will be maintained in subsequent years, with no penalty to the Yukon for having made this deal now.
Mr. Brewster: I question whether if this money comes through the work will be done. If you turn around and read the objectives in Arctic B and C airports, actually Haines Junction and Carmacks in no way qualify; why are they under C? They have none of those facilities at all - nothing, absolutely nothing - and yet they are qualified with the others that have air terminal buildings, fuel facilities, navigation aids and observer/communicator, and flight services. Those two have got absolutely nothing and they are qualified as Cs. Why? They probably should be Zs.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe the Member is referring to page 83 of the stats. The Member is perfectly correct when he describes both Haines Junction and Carmacks as not having extensive services for air navigation; he is perfectly correct, and that is part of why, in the devolution agreement, it was insisted tha capital funding be allocated to upgrade those two airports. The short answer to the Members question is that those airports, if you will, are totally inadequate for a B and C standard and these dollars identified in this vote are what is going to bring them up to that standard.
Mr. Brewster: I understand that fully. In other words, this information is not correct. Those two have absolutely nothing but an airstrip. They should at least be a D because they do not come under those qualifications for a B and C airport.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is saying that they do not come close to qualifying for the C category, so why should they be listed as a C. They are categorized as C to allow us to negotiate funding for them in the transfer of the program. The Transport Ministry would not even consider discussion of Haines Junction or Carmacks unless they were rated as C, and therefore a case could be made that they should be brought up to standards. Otherwise, if they were not even categorized, they would not be discussed for funding.
That is the bureaucratic answer. It is largely because the civil servants did the legwork on negotiations for the deal. Those are the rules that had to be put into place to play by to establish funding levels on the capital side.
Mr. Brewster: I am from Missouri. I do not believe anything that he said, quite frankly.
MOT Airstrips in the amount of $2,358,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $20,358,000 agreed to
On Allotments and Person Year Establishment
Chair: Are there any questions on Allotments or Person Year Establishment?
Mr. Brewster: We have O&M Other again. This Other is a real handy word.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: This is just a reallocation of the same dollars under allotments in different methods. We have already spoken to the $56 million just above on this page and on the preceding pages. That is now a reallocation of how it is broken up into salaries and all other costs. The $12 million would be spent on wages, and $24 million would be the related costs of construction, equipment and all the other items that we talked about in the various other votes.
Allotments and Person Year Establishment agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on the additional information on the yellow pages? There are a whole bunch of them.
Mr. Brewster: Has Person Year Establishment been cleared?
Mr. Brewster: I would like to go to page 80 on Statistics. The third item down that reads: Reconstructed areas on the Haines Road, presently gravel, dust treated, Km 162-182.9 .... .The same is repeated on the bottom except that the mileage is different. I hope someone can explain what is going on there.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am having difficulty understanding the contradiction about which the Member is talking.
Mr. Brewster: It is all right. I see there is another line in there that I missed.
Mr. Phillips: Can the Minister tell us about safety in construction zones. Did I miss that? I am sorry, I will read Hansard tomorrow.
Transportation in the amount of $56,935,000 agreed to
On Operation and Maintenance
Chair: We will proceed with page 86. Is there any general debate on Lands?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There has been no major shift in policy over the year. Our objective is still to provide as much land as possible for communities in various categories: industrial, residential or rural residential. The efforts to provide those lands for communities have been largely successful. We have a fairly reasonable inventory of different categories of land in most communities. We work very closely with municipal councils, bands or community organizations in identifying community needs for lands to be developed. We provide a helping hand to bring that onstream. Lands are developed, placed on our inventory, usually on a first opportunity to be placed up for sale. After the initial lottery, they go to over-the-counter sales.
I will take questions if Members have any and then we can go to line-by-line.
Mr. Brewster: I am glad to see we are moving some of the land around for people. How many agricultural lots have been released for title, not just put out?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Since 1982 there have been 57 titles issued. Of those, 30 were titles issued on federal transferred agricultural leases, 27 titles are the result of completed agreements for sale. That is how the 57 break out. There have been 101 agreements for sale issued in total since 1982. As I have just pointed out, 27 of these have resulted in title and 30 were transfers.
That leaves us with 74 agreements for sale that are currently active and ought to result in title.
Mr. Brewster: How many country-residential lots were issued in 1989?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I may have difficulty confirming that. I can tell the Member which communities and how many country-residential lots are currently available.
If the Member is talking about country-residential, it goes to title at the time one takes possession. You are buying a lot. Whether it is in the Granger subdivision or a country-residential lot in Destruction Bay, you are entering into an agreement for sale when you first make application.
Mr. Brewster: You do not have title. You usually have two to five years, or three years or something, to build. There are a number I know of who have given up and walked out. I want to know how many actually got title. You do not get it the day you make the agreement. You have to build so much on that property; you have two to three to five years on some of them. I want to know how many got title, not how many applied for them.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Perhaps what is confusing us is the Member is talking country-residential, and I am assuming that is land within a community, which is a small acreage and is under an agreement for sale. Certain requirements are expected of the purchaser, as described by the Member, being that over a certain period of time they have to have a house clad to weather, et cetera. The Member may also be talking about rural-residential, such as Mendenhall and Robinson, where you can gain an equity breakdown of a portion of the cost.
I think the Member is inquiring as to how many rural-residential or country-residential went to title in 1989. I would have to research that.
Mr. Brewster: How many cottage lots are available as of 1989, surveyed and ready to go for sale?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There are five at Little Teslin Lake, 20 at Tagish Beach and two at Teslin Lake. That is the current recreation lot availability. As the Member knows, Pine Lake will be coming onstream very soon. I believe they will be going to public sale within the next month. In the case of Pine Lake, there are nine lots, and we are putting five out for sale within the next month.
Mr. Brewster: Why would you put them out in the middle of winter when anybody from around the Yukon who went out to look at them would have to plow through that snow? He would not even be able to get in there to look at what he was buying.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Pine Lake lots are going on sale now largely because this is the time when they have become available; it is at the request of the municipality, with whom I consulted, and I did not consider anything to be extraordinary in that they were coming onstream now. Perhaps the Member has some different thoughts?
Mr. Brewster: If someone from Whitehorse wanted to look at one of those lots to see what he was buying - and you usually look; if you buy a horse, you look to see he is not dead before you buy him - how are these people going to get in there? It is quite a walk; the road is not cleaned out. The lots are outside the municipality and there are other people who are interested in those lots besides people within the municipality. I think it is rather unfair to throw it out in the middle of winter, especially when it is 48-50 degrees below every day, when they probably could have come out last fall probably, if anybody decided to move a little bit. Now, I see no reason why they should not be waiting until spring, so people can see what they are buying.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I take it that the Member is making a representation to delay sales? I think the Member and I have discussed this in the past. Haines Junction made quite a case with me last fall about those lots. He wanted them restricted to the Haines Junction area. I am not sure what the position of the Members opposite is - I am getting some mixed signals here. The municipality requested that the government give consideration to a restriction of those lots to the Haines Junction area. That, to me, creates quite a problem, because those lots are made available to the Yukon public and the government is charged with a fair and equitable procedure to all Yukon people. But I should point out that it is something we are facing on an increasing basis. We have had indications from Carcross that they would like restricted sales. I can anticipate that other communities are going to be thinking the same way. These are not necessarily within municipal or community boundaries, but adjacent to; and the Member is quite correct - that is not the jurisdiction of municipalities as such, but in any consultation process, you must take some stock of what people think and say in the neighbouring area.
It is a problem I am going to be facing in months and years to come: the whole issue of lot restrictions to communities where they are located. In the case of Pine Lake, I can assure the Member that we brought the lots on at the earliest opportunity. This is when the lots became available; this is where the first opportunity arose for them to pass through the procedures under the Lands Act for sale, and I understand that they will be on sale in approximately a month. That will take us into March. If the Member thinks they ought to be delayed a little longer, that is fine; I may consider that.
Mr. Brewster: It is very funny. First, I guess I could ask: was anybody at Canyon Creek consulted about these lots? No. Was anybody at Destruction Bay consulted? No. Was anybody in Whitehorse? No. You have got a setup here, a complete setup and I guess the government is taking an easy way out. They are going to sell them in the middle of winter when the only people who know anything about them or have been around the lots are people in the municipality of Haines Junction, which these lots do not belong in.
Fairness is fairness and I have a real problem with what is going on here. What about the people in Marshall Creek who tried and tried to get lots? Supposing someone in Whitehorse wanted to get a lot? He is a Yukoner. How do you define a Haines Junction resident? Is it someone who has been there six months and stumbles onto one of these, yet someone born and raised in Whitehorse cannot have one? I have a real problem when government will not stand up and say, fair is fair and let us be fair.
The real problem is when a municipality is dictating out there. None of those people out at Canyon or Marshall Creek, Destruction Bay or Whitehorse can vote on that council and yet they are taking property that is outside of their jurisdiction. The government is apparently going along with this; it is easier than standing up and saying no, that belongs to all Yukoners
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let me make it perfectly clear for the Member. He is articulating the very arguments that I presented with his council in his riding when the request was made. I clearly took the position on behalf of the government that we could not restrict sales without a major legislative change, a major policy change to the distribution of land for Yukon people. In the Haines Junction case, there was clearly representation by letter, by meeting, by resolution, that the government ought to restrict those sales to the Haines Junction area.
Exactly what the Member points out is part of the rationale that permitted me to hold firm to the principle that the lots will be made available to the Yukon at large, because that is our responsibility. Where do you draw the line as to who ought to be eligible for Pine Lake lots? Do you go all the way to Beaver Creek? Do you cut it off at Destruction Bay? Do you go to Canyon? Just what constitutes a geographic boundary, if you will, of an area for land distribution? It is a difficult question.
The position the government took is: look, you have nine lots there. We do not have indications that they are all going to be scooped up so why do we not put some of them up and see how the lottery goes and then revisit the issue. So we are putting five lots on sale, and I did not think there was anything particularly unusual about it happening in March. I was just allowing the system to help itself and if that is when they became available, that is when the legal work was prepared and done, the advertising is proceeding and they will be available next month. I did not think the timing was anything unusual. The Member does make a point that it is an unseasonable time, and will certainly restrict viewing the lots, unless you have a familiarization already.
I take the Members points respectfully. I assure him that this government held firm to its current policy and position that land is available to all Yukon people and that is how that sale for five lots is proceeding.
Chair: Committee will take a break here.
Mr. Brewster: I am very concerned about lots out this way. I had a little lecture from some of my crew. They think that I am committing hari-kari, but I have always been very truthful in my life. Fairness is fairness. That is not fair. The situation will occur where this will happen in another community. If one has it, it is fair for all the rest. It is very unfair for individuals who never had a chance to vote for those councillors. Yet, those councillors are deciding their lives. That is not the way democracy is. I hope that the government will see that this is a public sale for everybody. I see the Minister smiling. Maybe I have helped him in some way. It would be too bad if the bids have already come out. If they have, I guess whoever gets there first will get a look at them.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I understand what the Member is saying. He is espousing the principles of democratic decision making and applying them to land sales in areas of the Yukon that are not within specific communities. The Member could not say that if he were talking about lots going up for sale, recreation or otherwise, within the municipality of Haines Junction.
Under the authorities that we have established, the respect that we give to principles of decision making and devolving that to communities within the municipality, the councils decision would be paramount. The Member has to respect that a council does have a right to voice an opinion about matters adjacent to and outside its boundaries. I respect that too. I have taken the position that, where reasonably possible, I will respect that opinion, but the prevailing rules of fairness to all Yukon people must prevail in the matter of land sales outside communities.
Mr. Brewster: It is quite correct that councillors are elected by the municipalities. I have a policy that I do not interfere with what they do inside the town. They are elected by the same people who have elected me, and I am not any smarter than they are. What they do in the town is fine. It bothers me that no one consulted with Champagne or with Canyon Creek. No one at MacIntosh Lodge was consulted. They are telling me that people from Whitehorse could start making decisions about the Mayo Road. I would not want to be the Minister who agreed to that one. These people were elected by the municipality. People outside that municipality did not vote for them, and they should not make decisions for those people.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Maybe this will be the concluding point on that. The fact remains that there are growing signals from communities that they would like to see sales of land around their communities restricted. That does not necessarily mean within those communities, but adjacent to them. It is an issue that this government will have to face and that I will have to face. It is a growing tendency in the rural communities.
It does pose problems, because any compromise of that position, while respectable from the point of view that communities ought to have a say about matters in their area, certainly does cast a shift in policy should there be a change. The gross exaggeration of it or the gross extension of it is that all land sales in Whitehorse could be restricted to Whitehorse residents only. That would not be fair either, and it is something we are going to have to deal with in more depth because I sense the pressure coming.
Mr. Brewster: In the first place, I would like to know how you can define a Haines Junction resident. Is that somebody who moved in there six months ago? There are so many facets that go into it that it is not fair. On top of it, this will go further than that. When we were on the select committee, there were places that told us they did not want anyone hunting in their area; it belonged just to them. Are we dividing the Yukon into little pieces, where if you happen to live there you can go there but any other Yukoner cannot? This goes way past just these buildings. I heard that on the select committee in many places: We do not want those people around; they should stay in their area. What are we doing? Isolating people by saying, You are not a Yukoner; you belong to Whitehorse. You are not a Yukoner; you belong to Haines Junction. Do not come out here. I do not understand the peoples attitude. Quite frankly, I agree it is absurd. It is selfishness. Anybody who lives in the Yukon should have a right to go anywhere in the Yukon they want to go. In fact, I would go further than that: anybody who lives in Canada has every right to go anywhere they want in the Yukon. I firmly believe that. I was taught that when I was 17 years old, that you have the right to go anywhere you want in Canada. I believe that, and I do not think you have any right to restrict anyone.
Mr. Phelps: I have a few questions, if it is appropriate, to try to get all the Carcross information in one spot. Before I do that, I want to briefly thank the Minister for his letters with regard to the new agricultural applications that I raised earlier in debate on the budget.
With regard to one, I think it is sufficiently clarified that the next step will be simply clarifying the boundaries - that is the Hotsprings Road one. With regard to the other one, agricultural application 213, again that clarifies a lot of it; there seems to be, with that one, a bit of a controversy over the size of the road that would be saved and accepted from the plot. The applicant on the telephone today when I read her the letter said that she will be bringing in a letter from the association that has the road leading across this land to its premises and I think it will be resolved. The only really outstanding issue there is the size of the right-of-way. With regard to those, I thank the Minister for his prompt reply and hope these things will be cleared up, like I thought they were a year ago.
I would like to go on and just ask some questions here about the plans for land development in Carcross. My first question has to do with the information sheet that was handed out to us. It deals with country residentials, Chooutla stage 2 to Carcross. I am rather surprised that Chooutla stage 2 would be going ahead; Chooutla stage 1 never has been resolved. The subdivision was built, as the Minister knows, and the land was never transferred from the federal government to the territorial government, so the land could not be released. There are still ongoing negotiations with the band, so I am wondering why money is being spent now on stage 2 when stage 1 has never been transferred?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I, too, thought the cases were more a result of misunderstanding than a serious problem. I am hopeful, too, that with some clarification of boundaries and road access, we should not be seeing any further major problem on those two cases. Then they can proceed on the agreement-for-sale process.
I believe I previously indicated to the Member that we are in final discussion-consultation stages regarding the Watson River subdivision. That should potentially result in 15 homestead lots to be made available for sale sometime in 1990. We originally thought this would be available this past year, but we were unable to reach agreement with all parties affected and, therefore, chose to slow down and conclude discussions. According to my information at the moment there are seven residential lots available in Carcross.
My understanding on the $10,000 identified for handout for Chooutla stage 2 is that it does not apply to the current 31 lots. It is lands beyond that area that have been identified as potential residential lots. The $10,000 is simply to do some preliminary planning work. We are a long way away from bringing those onstream in terms of discussions necessary and identification of need for the 30 lots.
On the handout sheet, the other land development initiatives speak for themselves.
Mr. Phelps: I hope we will not develop the second phase of the Chooutla subdivision until the first subdivision is transferred and the land for the second stage is transferred as well, so we will not get into the bind we are in now where the money was spent in 1982 and 1983 and the lots are still in limbo.
Under Carcross residential, the government has $200,000 identified and the Minister has said we currently have seven unsold residential lots right in town. Why are more being developed? If they are being developed, what is the approximate location of these additional Carcross residential lots for $200,000?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I should make the point with the Member on Chooutla stage 2 that it is certainly not our intention to proceed in any way that would jeopardize the interest of the band on Chooutla stage 1.
The Member is aware of the complexity of that land development. Until the bands housing and land interests are dealt with through Chooutla stage 1, that would signal any Chooutla stage 2 development, if necessary. That is to clarify the earlier comments.
Relative to the $200,000 identified for Carcross residential, this is principally an intention to develop a residential land base in the community. Land is in short supply. The $200,000 is to provide for development of between 15 and 20 residential lots immediately west of the Carcross school. They would be standard-sized lots, serviced with road, hydro and telephone. Given the current state of water and sewer development, these lots would require holding tanks. The development requires considerable planning and community consultation, which is expected to be done in the concluding months of this winter season. That should confirm the demand and the suitability of the development.
The information the department has been able to gain is that the seven lots that are available now are expected to be picked up this year. I am not sure why that is the general feeling. Once those seven lots go, aside from the Watson River subdivision, there would essentially not be any other lots available in Carcross.
Mr. Phelps: Does the Ministers answer mean the Chooutla stage 1 is now being negotiated so it all goes to the band? The original deal was 50 percent of the lots to the band and 50 percent of the lots to the public. Has there been some change to the original arrangements?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am afraid I am not going to be able to provide any definitive answer to the Members question. Our understanding is, as was originally, a 50/50 split on the lots. The Chooutla subdivision is currently at the table. It is in discussion. The band has indicated a desire for all the lots, so the matter of distribution of the lots is up in the air right now.
Mr. Phelps: Could I have a brief explanation of Carcross industrial lots? Where are they? I see they are going to cost $100,000.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: At the moment, we do not have any lots available of an industrial category. The money simply provides for the construction of an access road and installation of utilities to service an anticipated five lots. The final determination of those lots would be made in the consultation process with the community.
Mr. Phelps: I take from that the location has not been finalized. Can we have a brief description of how many lots in stage 1, Carcross commercial, and what that will entail?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Carcross commercial for $200,000 is expected to provide for the development of approximately 10 commercial lots. That requires a community planning and consultation process. In all cases when we spoke about industrial, residential and commercial land, the community indicated there is a desire for some lots to be available in these categories. We need to do more work with the community to identify precise needs, location, and planned and orderly development.
The commercial for $200,000 would anticipate the development of 10 lots. Location is not determined. From the study that was done in 1988, we are engaging in an active planning and consultation exercise for land availability in Carcross.
Mr. Phelps: My final question is with respect to community planning information sheet in Carcross for $22,000. The Carcross/Tagish Indian Band is situated in Carcross, but there is no other form of local government such as a hamlet. How will the community plan be developed? Will there be formalized local input to that plan?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member can be assured that there will be a formalized process to the planning exercise. With respect to the Carcross situation, we are in a community planning exercise right now. A community plan has not been completed. Part of what I described earlier in all the residential land and industrial land is part of the exercise.
Local residents will be involved in setting up the long-term plans for the community. With the technical expertise provided by the department, a community plan can be developed. We expect funding will be required for the necessary research, for the land use mapping and for the whole exercise of public consultation. Consultation will require some funds. That exercise should proceed in earnest later this spring.
Mr. Lang: I would like to raise a question on recreational lots if I could - a question of policy. Over the years, there have been various individuals, because of where they are located, who have requested changes in configurations to their recreational lots - maybe enlargements - and I would like to ask the Minister: what is the policy of the government on the enlargement of recreational lots?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: If I understand the Members question, he is enquiring about the policy relating to lot expansion in recreation lands?
Mr. Lang: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My understanding of the policy is that, as a matter of policy, we do not encourage or allow lot expansion by title. Where there is an identified need for a lot expansion, such as for providing an adequate sewage disposal system, we will permit lot expansion by lease of that portion beyond the lot. That, of course, would be subject to an assurance that we have adjacent lands available for that purpose. I recall specifically, I believe it is in the Judas Creek area, where we have allowed that. I believe that in the Little Salmon area we have allowed it. So, as a matter of policy, we do not allow expansions per se; but by lease for sewage disposal systems we do permit 15 year leases, as I recall.
Mr. Lang: I do not understand this. By policy, we do not allow it. Can the Minister tell us why he does not allow it? Why does he not think, if there is land adjacent to my recreational lot, I should not have it - if nobody else is interested in it, if it is seen by the department to be land that is basically greenbelt and of no value to them - say another 50 x 100 portion to my titled piece of property so that I can expand and do other things as far as my property is concerned? My question to the Minister is why you do not allow enlargement of a recreational lot, but at the same time you allow enlargement for country residential? I do not understand the difference.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I guess the difference is simply that one land use is for permanent, year-round residential occupancy and the other is a recreational occupancy. The whole purpose behind recreational lots was to provide for a recreational purpose. They tend to be smaller. They tend to have more buffer zones surrounding them. They tend to provide for recreational purposes. I guess the short answer to the Members question is that lot enlargement on recreation property would, by the very nature of the exercise, encourage the permanent year-round use of same as a residence. Our policy on recreation land is to preserve it for its recreational purpose. As for lot expansions, we encourage lot expansion where there is an identified need for additional land. We have done it. Whitehorse West is an example.
Mr. Lang: I still do not understand the reasoning. First of all, I guess it is the philosophy. I think the reasoning the Minister just outlined regarding residential lots is flawed. We are in the day and age when you can refer to them as cottage residential. The reality of the situation is that, in many of these cases, people are living there permanently, whether it be in Judas Creek or Marsh Lake. Following the reasons the Minister just outlined, there should be no school going out toward the Marsh Lake area. There are obviously people living there permanently. We know for a fact that, as time goes on, people are retiring out in the Marsh Lake area. That is one example, and the Little Salmon area is another example. There are other areas in the territory where people look to going to retire after they have met their obligations of raising a family. They live in these areas almost on a 12 month basis.
From the point of view of the residents, a lot of them see themselves as having permanent homes, whether we like it or not. Those are realities. If you accept that premise, I do not understand this reasoning. If I have a titled piece of property and want to expand by another 50 x 100, where I will pay the survey costs and pay you for the land, and I want to develop a larger garden or whatever, I do not understand why serious consideration would not be given to allocate those lands, as long as it does not impinge on anyone else in the area. If it is impinging on other lots or accesses, I can understand it. If it is land that is of no consequence and value to anyone in the neighbourhood or the government, I do not understand why the Minister would not say, in this particular case, by policy, we will consider situations such as these as they arise.
Could the Minister explain further why he will not go for those lot enlargements and why he believes people should not have them? I do not understand why people should not own land.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have had lengthy discussions with some of the residents in the Marsh Lake area on that very subject. It is a little more complex than what would appear to be the situation on the first blush. Part of the problem is that there are some things that have yet to be dealt with before a policy change could take place to allow the lot expansion on the recreation properties.
The first rationale is that the properties were originally purchased for recreation. Given that they were purchased for a purpose, you have to be very careful when you change that purpose after it titled. The other problem that surfaces is that not everybody would be able to get a lot expansion. You then have a problem of inequity and unfairness. It is not every person, but just a handful of people with some adjacent property that is open and Crown land who would be able to get a lot expansion. You may have 20 or 30 people in a recreation property, and only a handful who would have lands adjacent to that recreation property available for lot expansion. That is a complexity.
Another problem that surfaces relates to one that the Leader of the Official Opposition is clearly familiar with, and that is the sewage disposal concentration that may affect the waterway on which the properties are located. There is considerable work that has yet to be done before a lot expansion program for recreation properties could be undertaken.
Given the lateness of the hour, I move that you report progress on Bill No. 19.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that Mr. 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 a report from the Chair of Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 19, First Appropriation Act, 1990-91, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report of the Chair of Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the 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 9:29 p.m.
The following Legislative Return was tabled February 12, 1990:
Ministerial travel expenditures, April 1, 1989 - November 30, 1990 (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 680