Monday, December 17, 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 now proceed with the Order Paper.
Introduction of Visitors.
INTRODUCTION OF VISITORS
Mr. Phillips: I would like to take this opportunity to do something a little different today, and that is to introduce all the guests in the gallery. Today we have Wendy Devries, Johns daughter, who has come from Watson Lake to watch her father in action. I would like to ask all Members to welcome her to this House.
Speaker: Are there any Returns or Documents for tabling?
TABLING RETURNS AND DOCUMENTS
Hon. Mr. Penikett: I have a return for tabling.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I have two returns for tabling.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I have for tabling a document entitled, Alaska Highway Corridor Study - Condensed Report and also, a couple of legislative returns.
Speaker: Are there any Reports of Committees?
Introduction of Bills?
Are there any Notices of Motion for the Production of Papers?
Notices of Motion?
NOTICES OF MOTION
Ms. Hayden: I give notice of the following motion:
THAT this House supports a concept of conservation measures that protect the integrity of the natural resources in the Yukon;
I give notice of the following motion:
THAT this House rejects entirely the Conservative agenda, which is undermining the foundations of Canadian society and
THAT it is the opinion of this House that the elements of that agenda - the free trade agreement, high interest rates, shifting the tax burden to low and middle income Canadians through the GST and corporate tax breaks, the destruction of VIA Rail, cutbacks to the CBC, privatization and meddling with medicare - are systematically destroying our distinctively Canadian culture;
I give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that what constitutes the unique identity of Canada and the Yukon is the presence of diverse cultures living side by side;
THAT these diverse cultures contribute to the rich mosaic that is our nation; and
THAT this House fully supports the principles of multiculturism for our territory and nation.
Ms. Kassi: I give notice of motion of the following motion:
THAT this House supports the right of self government for Yukon First Nations as a means of ensuring economic, social and cultural independence and well-being.
I give notice of this motion:
THAT this House endorses the Yukon conservation strategy and supports its implementation.
Further, I give notice of this motion:
THAT this House fully endorses the establishment of the 40 new teaching positions, 19 extended care givers, as outlined in the 1991-92 main estimates.
Mr. Joe: I wish to give notice of the following motion:
THAT this House supports the expenses of native language training curriculum in Yukon schools.
I also give notice of the following motion:
THAT it is the opinion of this House that trapping is an important part of life in the Yukon for both its economic and cultural values;
THAT trappers are monitors of the health of our environment and wildlife habitat; and
THAT this House commends Yukon trappers for their dedication to humane trapping and wise use of wildlife resources.
My next motion is
THAT this House urges the Government of Canada to apologize and give a fair compensationu to the 17 Inuit families who were uprooted from their homes in the early 1950s in an effort to establish Canadian sovereignty in the high Arctic.
Speaker: Are there any Statements by Ministers?
Agreement Reached with the Recycling Centre re funding
Hon. Mr. Webster: I rise today to inform Members of this governments policy of recycling wherever feasible, and of working cooperatively with community groups toward common goals.
Specifically, I am pleased to advise Members that an agreement has been reached between the Yukon Liquor Corporation and the Whitehorse Recycling Centre to extend its glass recycling capabilities.
The new agreement developed from an earlier arrangement under which the Liquor Corporation paid a recycling surcharge to the centre in return for its handling of corporation glass.
Under the new agreement, the Recycling Centre will not only continue to receive the recycling surcharge, but will also receive contributions from the corporation of $5,000 per month for a period of two years. By that time, the container deposit provisions of the new Yukon environment act are expected to be in force, and will provide funding for the centre.
Over its two-year term, this agreement will provide the Recycling Centre with approximately $220,000 to aid its glass recycling efforts.
These contributions to the Recycling Centre are recognized by the federal Environmental Partners Fund. That means they should qualify for an additional $200,000 in matching federal funding for the centre. The centres funding application is now being considered by the Environmental Partners Fund.
These revenues will help the centre to collect glass from the public in the new year. The centre will be able to do more public education and to develop stronger ties with Yukon communities to assist them in their recycling efforts.
In closing, I would like to commend the Recycling Centre board and staff for their untiring efforts to encourage reduction, reuse and recycling. As Minister responsible for the Yukon Liquor Corporation, I am pleased to be able to help. As Minister of Renewable Resources, I appreciate their assistance in helping us to achieve the goals of the Yukon Conservation Strategy.
Mr. Phillips: I am pleased to see the Minister has brought this statement into the House today, since we raised this issue on November 14 and asked the very question about how the recycling centre could operate. The Government of Yukon had provided it with bottles for recycling, but not adequate funds to recycle all those bottles. it was starting to run into a deficit situation. It would have been very unfortunate. I am pleased to see the Yukon Liquor Corporation has now seen fit to properly fund the centre.
There is an area I would like some clarification on from the Minister. I understand that, before, they received about $4,200 a month. The Minister says they are going to receive that in the future. It now looks like they will be receiving about $9,000 to $10,000 a month. Would the Minister confirm that?
In closing, there are some comments I would like to make. Recycling is a very expensive process. If these programs are going to work, they have to have government support. The Recycling Centre in Whitehorse is doing a great job in reducing the amount of material that ends up in Yukon landfill sites. They are a group of dedicated volunteers and employees, who are not just talking about environmental problems; they are doing something about it.
The announcement today is a great Christmas present for the Yukon Recycling Centre and the people of the Yukon. Recycling is the way of the future and I hope that this government and future governments continue to support these very worthwhile programs.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member opposite for his complimentary remarks. I just want to confirm that yes, indeed, the Recycling Centre will be receiving in the neighborhood of $9,200 a month. That would be made up of the monthly contribution announced today of $5,000 plus the surcharge from the 10 cents per bottle, which is approximately $4,200 a month. I agree with the Members comments that recycling in the territory will require government financial help, considering the distances from the rural communities to Whitehorse as a collection centre and then, of course, the distance from Whitehorse to major centres where the material is actually recycled. I am pleased to see that the federal government has a fund available to assist in this regard. I am also pleased that recently the City of Whitehorse made a contribution over the next two years to assist the centre with its recycling efforts.
Alaska Highway corridor study results
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I rise today also to present information to Members, in particular the results of the Alaska Highway Corridor Study that I was able to table moments ago.
In 1989, a traffic engineering study of the Alaska Highway was conducted within the Whitehorse city limits by the Yukon government, the City of Whitehorse and Public Works Canada. The area in question, Members will recall, covered the region from the Carcross Cutoff to the Mayo Road. It included Two-Mile Hill from the Alaska Highway to the 2nd Avenue extension.
The corridor in question is one of the major connecting links in the Yukon, particularly on the highway network through which the majority of the Yukons trade and tourism traffic flows.
The study responded to a number of public concerns about street lighting, traffic control, intersections and, in general, the need to plan for future requirements.
In the fall of 1989, a questionnaire was sent to residents of the corridor, trucking companies and other commercial users of the corridor. Over the winter, three public presentations were held and public comments were received about improvements that could be made. Later in the summer, there were presentations to Members of this House and, I believe, almost all Members attended at some point.
The corridor improvement proposals were divided into a short-term improvement of three to five years, which addressed immediate concerns, as well as a medium-term improvement suggestion for the period of five to 10 years, and long-term improvement suggestions for after the year 2000.
The extent to which the proposals may be implemented will depend upon the availability of funding. Later phases will be dependent both on the funding availability, as well as on population growth forecasts. At all times, implementation priority will address traffic volumes in relation to safety concerns.
The traffic projections are based on Whitehorses population growing to a maximum of 23,500 by 1995, to about 37,000 by the year 2000, and to about 45,000 by the year 2010. Plans are well underway for implementing recommendations, both in work already completed and in future plans. Street lighting has been installed at the north and south accesses of the Wolf Creek subdivision, at the Mary Lake subdivision access, and near the South Access.
The 1991-92 budget that we are reviewing now provides for the commencement of work on the Two-Mile Hill. This was one of the major recommendations of the corridor study. Immediate plans are to install an illuminated pedestrian crossing at 17th Avenue in Porter Creek, and implement speed limit changes on the highway, including reductions in the 12th Avenue and 17th Avenue areas down to 70 kilometres an hour.
In 1991, street lighting is planned for installation as recommended in the study, with the MacRae area tentatively considered as the next priority area.
While it was not directly included in the terms of reference for the study, upgrading the South Access road will support a smooth traffic flow serving downtown Whitehorse. As Members know, pre-engineering funds have been earmarked for the South Access in the 1991-92 budget year.
This report has involved a tremendous amount of work on the part of all three of the groups involved - that is, the City of Whitehorse, Public Works Canada and my branch of the department. I would sincerely like to thank all the participants for their involvement in this important study.
Mr. Lang: From this side, we are very pleased to see the developments as they are proceeding on this particular area of the Alaska Highway. As the Member for Porter Creek East, I want to add my concern for safety in respect to the Crestview area, as well as where Yukon Alaska Transport is situated along the highway. There is a concern among the travelling public on the question of safety there, and it is one that has to be addressed very soon.
Further to that, I hope that the work being done on this particular area will be complementary to the work done on the rest of the Alaska Highway. I hope it is not taking away from dollars that may be available for upgrading such areas as Beaver Creek, as far as the Alaska Highway is concerned. I recognize the limitation of funds, but the major concern is the upgrading of the highway itself, and that is something that has to be taken into consideration in discussions between the Government of Yukon and the Government of Canada, as we proceed with the development of the Alaska Highway.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I thank the Member for his complimentary remarks in respect to the study. Indeed there has been a lot of work involved in it and it is intended to complement the plans for the entire highway. With respect to the intersections at Crestview and at the Yukon Alaska terminal, the report does address those and they will be treated with the priority I outlined in my remarks with respect to safety.
With respect to the rest of the highway, Members are aware that we have begun the negotiations for the devolution of the highway. The federal Minister and I are developing our respective mandates. Certainly, we intend, in the negotiations, to ensure that adequate funding in provided, not only for the entire length of the highway upgrading but for the urgent, necessary and particularly hazardous areas needing improvement around Whitehorse.
Speaker: This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Tagish Kwan Corporation/bankruptcy
Mr. Phelps: I have some questions for the Minister of Community and Transportation Services regarding the Tagish Kwan Corporation. Last summer this government entered into negotiations with the Kwanlin Dun and Tagish Kwan about purchasing a large number of residential lots at Mt. McIntyre for $2 million, which would be used to bail out Tagish Kwan. That deal fell through.
I asked earlier in the session whether YTG paid any of the expenses incurred by Kwanlin Dun or Tagish Kwan relating to this deal. We now have a legislative return filed that states that the Yukon government incurred a total direct cost of $44,260.48 as a result of land negotiations with the Kwanlin Dun First Nation on this matter. I would like to know if the $44,260.48 was money paid to Kwanlin Dun or Tagish Kwan to cover their expenses.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $44,000 was money that represented 50 percent of the preparatory costs associated with preparing the very complicated land deal. The $44,000 was paid directly to Kwanlin Dun First Nation, as reflective of those costs that were incurred to assemble the land deal, do the required research, the analysis and the legal work.
Mr. Phelps: Was that money paid to Kwanlin Dun and Tagish Kwan pursuant to government policy? If so, could the Minister tell us what that policy is and where it might be found?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The authority for the administrative costs being paid would have flowed from the Lands Act and from current land policy and regulation. Ordinarily, the costs that would have been incurred in this particular deal would have been assigned to the land costs themselves, and therefore fully recoverable. Given that the work involved was called for by Treasury Board, as well as being work that we required in order to ensure the integrity of the deal, the costs were legitimate and were paid.
Mr. Phelps: I do not understand. Could the Minister enlighten me as to why YTG would cover even one-half of the expenses of the Kwanlin Dun for negotiating a deal that fell through, when it will not provide money to other third parties when they incur similar expenses in trying to negotiate a deal with governments, particularly this one?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Perhaps the Member could invite me to understand what similar costs with similar third parties he is referring to. The land transaction that was under contemplation through last summer, in respect to Kwanlin Dun, was involving a very complicated land relationship that existed between the federal government and the Kwanlin Dun Band. We were talking about year 3 lands of a 1986 relocation agreement. Those year 3 lands were held in trust by the federal government. At some point in the future, those lands would normally flow to the band but, because we were looking at expediting this through a sale of the lands from the band by the Yukon government, once the federal government transferred them, we were involved in a very complicated land transaction.
Question re: Tagish Kwan Corporation/bankruptcy
Mr. Phelps: Often contracting companies are involved in very detailed transactions that require a lot of preparatory work, for example, when they bid for a large contract from this government. Those firms that lose out get nothing paid toward their cost for preparing a bid on a tender.
How does this differ? Under what policy have we suddenly started to pay these kinds of costs for one situation and not for all others?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: We are talking about two completely different things. The Member is talking about a bidding process for contract purposes with the government where the rules are clearly laid out for the steps and process by which bidders prepare and submit their bids. What we are talking about with this land transaction is transferring land held in trust by the federal government to the band and then the Yukon government buying that land. The Yukon government is, in effect, dealing with the equivalent of two other governments because one of the conditions under which the land would ordinarily flow from the federal government to the band was if a land claims settlement had been reached or if an agreement on self-government had been signed. Under either of those two conditions, the land would normally and naturally have flowed to the band.
We are talking about a special land relationship between the federal government and the band into which the Yukon government was entering as a third party or an innocent purchaser of the land. We are talking about three different forms of government.
Mr. Phelps: There is no precedent for this kind of payment to be made. It is pretty well covered up. It does not show up in any of the grants or loans we get information about in this House as a matter of course with this government.
I would like to know what this payment qualifies as. Is it a grant, a contribution or a loan? What is the nature of the beast?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $44,000 simply represents the incurred costs on assembling the land transaction. We are talking about a 1986 relocation agreement that was signed by the federal government, the Yukon government, the City of Whitehorse and the Kwanlin Dun Band. It involved an amending agreement that was for considerable research and documentation to be prepared. We are talking about 108 lots to be purchased for $2 million out of a year 3 land allocation of some 270 lots. We are talking about converting 30 acres of land into a purchase.
We have the precedent of the 1986 relocation agreement that addressed who carries the costs related to any transaction involving the land. The authority not only flowed from the existing lands act regulations and policy, but flowed from the provisions in the 1986 agreement.
Mr. Phelps: Any way you cut it, there was $44,000 paid to the Kwanlin Dun by this government, and I ask again: exactly what kind of a contribution was it? Was it a loan? Was it a grant? Under just exactly what guise was that money paid?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $44,000 was 50 percent of the cost incurred in assembling the land deal. Now, it was not just the simple desire to pay for those costs on a 50 percent basis. The federal Treasury Board required that an independent financial analysis be done. It required that the factors that lead to the financial difficulties of the band and the corporation be examined. The federal Treasury Board required that there be an outline of the proposed restructuring of the corporation and how the band would deal with that. We required those things, as well, on which to handle the integrity of this particular transaction.
The fact is, those were legitimate costs involved with assembling the land transaction, a very complicated one, with many historical facets to it and flowing from a 1986 relocation agreement signed by four parties.
Question re: Tagish Kwan Corporation/bankruptcy
Mr. Phelps: All of those things were problems of the Tagish Kwan Corporation. They were problems that the First Nation was concerned about. I want to know why YTG is paying any of the costs. Was there some kind of a contract entered into when this deal was first talked about between the parties? If so, when was that contract signed, and by whom?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The work was required in order for the land transaction to pass through Treasury Board. Treasury Board would not consider moving the lands to the band, or even to the Yukon government, without all of the prepatory work being done. You do not get Treasury Board to even consider something without extensive documentation detail having been done. Those were the costs involved in assembling that particular package to ensure the integrity of the deal for our interests as well. The Yukon government was contemplating the purchase of some 108 lots, which would incur a particular burden on behalf of the Yukon public in the process. It was necessary for us, too, to have the assurance that this deal would be adequate, would be safe, would be legally binding, and could be carried out. It was an agreement between the band and us to share those costs 50/50 and that is what happened.
Mr. Phelps: We are talking about a lot of money here. He says there was an agreement. When the Minister states that there was an agreement to pay 50 percent, I again ask if he can provide us with a copy of the agreement that states that? I would assume it would be on the document. If not, tell us exactly when the agreement was signed that obligated this government to pay this $44,000 to Kwanlin Dun.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There were documents in various stages of preparation and completion through the course of the approximate two-and-a-half months of negotiations that took place last summer. I indicated to the Member last week that many of the details were handled administratively. Those details are provided in summary form in the legislative return that I tabled today. With respect to a specific agreement, there was a memorandum of understanding signed early in the negotiations. I do not see why that is not available. I would want to receive the concurrence from the band that it is available to be reviewed publicly. I certainly see no problem with it. There were other documents prepared that were not signed by the federal government because they would not...
Speaker: Order please. Would the Minister please conclude his answer.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The final documents, which required the signature of the federal government, are not fully signed.
Mr. Phelps: So the Minister is saying that it is not a loan, it is not a grant, it is not a contribution; it is because of a contract that was signed early on? Is he saying that he will table the contract that obligates this government to pay $44,000 to the Kwanlin Dun for their costs in negotiating a bail-out that fell through?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Let us be clear on the record about the costs. The costs of $44,000 reflect our legitimate costs in preparing the detailed documentation, research, analyses and work to achieve the integrity of a deal that would be signed by the federal government, which, in the end, was not, because the federal government was not prepared to sign the deal without us assuming its fiduciary responsibility in the transaction.
As I pointed out to Members previously in debate, the federal government has a trust relationship with the band and by giving up full title to these lands to the band, it wanted to pass on to the purchaser - the Yukon government - its fiduciary responsibility and that was not legally and morally possible.
Question re: Tagish Kwan Corporation/bankruptcy
Mr. Phelps: All this stuff about the fiduciary responsibility and so on and so forth is very interesting but not pertinent to the issue. We are talking about a situation where this government agreed to enter into a bail-out, to pay $2 million for 108 lots owned by the Kwanlin Dun. The money was to be used to bail out Tagish Kwan and we were to agree to allow them to purchase them back within, I think it was, 10 years, for the same price. There is no question that Kwanlin Dun and Tagish Kwan incurred some costs in preparing their side of the deal, but this government is saying that we spent money on getting our legal act together and I would like to know, if that is the case, why are we paying $44,000 to the Kwanlin Dun for their costs? Why can we not just look after our own side of it, ourselves, in-House, as is normally the practice?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I want to correct the Member on one of his opening comments. The land is not owned by Kwanlin Dun. It is held in trust by the federal government. What had to take place was that the land had to be transferred in fee simple title to Kwanlin Dun before we could engage in the purchase. That point must be clarified. We incurred costs related to the preparation of the necessary documentation, analyses and research to ensure that the package was adequately prepared as Treasury Board required it to be.
The costs that were incurred related to legal work, financial analyses, research of documentation and documentation that had to be prepared in conjunction with work that was done by Kwanlin Dun. It was done in cooperation with our legal people in the Yukon government, through the Department of Justice, and those were the net total preparatory costs, of which we accepted 50 percent. We would probably have incurred further costs had we done a separate, independent preparation along with what Kwanlin Dun and the Yukon government did together.
Mr. Phelps: Let me get this straight. Was the $44,000 paid to Kwanlin Dun because of bills received by the First Nation from independent third parties, such as lawyers and so on? If so, could we have copies of all bills that would add up to $88,000 that were paid by Kwanlin Dun?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I believe the Member is generally correct. The $44,000 represents specific invoiced costs related to the preparatory work I generally outlined that were received by the First Nation, and for which we picked up 50 percent of the costs as our fair share of the work that had to be done. This was not work done just for Treasury Board, but also to satisfy us that the deal was secure, proper, legally binding and could be carried out.
The Member concluded by asking if these invoices could be made available. I am sure they could be.
Mr. Phelps: Well, can the Minister give me any other examples of a situation where a prospective purchaser pays the vendors lawyers and accountants and so on, in order to protect itself in a transaction between vendor and purchaser? Can he give us any other examples of this because it is most curious.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: From the top of my head I cannot give him a specific example, but we do it with the municipalities all the time. We are constantly, with municipalities, paying bills related to land transactions, assigning those costs as a general rule and policy to the costs of that land development, for recovery purposes. We do it with the junior governments on an ongoing basis. The fact is that one of the conditions under which the land would ordinarily have flowed from the federal government out of this trust relationship, to the band, was if the band signed a self-government agreement. So, they, in effect, are a junior government; so in terms of where this is being done on a regular basis, it is constantly being done with the municipalities, with communities, with villages.
Question re: Tagish Kwan Corporation/bankruptcy
Mr. Phelps: Then, I would just like to summarize the undertakings of the Minister and make sure he agrees that he is going to provide us with these things: one, the contract that was entered into that obligated the government to pay one-half of the expenses; two, all of the invoices that make up the expenses that we were told totalled $88,000, including any invoices from Kwanlin Dun for any work that they may have done in addition to third parties doing work. He will provide us with that information, is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I indicated the relevant conditions to making those available. I would want to receive the approval of the First Nation to release the contract. I see no problem why the invoices cannot be made available. I do not believe there are any additional invoices - other than for legitimate preparatory work involved, either legal, financial, land appraisal or otherwise - but if there are, I do not see any reason why those cannot be provided.
Mr. Phelps: With regard to the contract, all I want is the date and the clauses that lead to the obligation of this government to pay one-half of the expenses. If other portions of the contract need to be deleted from the material provided to us, I will understand. I want the date and the clauses pertinent to this unheard-of kind of expenditure by YTG.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would give the Member the undertaking to provide what I can. In addition to what he has just sought, with respect to relevant clauses of agreement, I will also provide the specific administrative authority that allows this to be paid from within the Lands Act and regulations.
Question re: Teachers contract
Mr. Devries: As I am sure most of us know, the contract for the Yukon teachers was ratified last Thursday. I have a few questions for the Minister of Education regarding the particulars surrounding that contract.
What is the projected cost of the contract for the existing 1990-91 budget year? How much will we be asking for in the 1991-92 supplementary?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member did provide some notice of the question, but all I can provide the Member with at the current time is the total financial cost of the collective agreement, which amounts to 16.3 percent over three years, based on a wage load of $23 million. That varies of course with the addition or the deletion of teachers. As of September 1, the total cost would be approximately $4 million, over three years.
Mr. Devries: In a news release, prep time for classes is mentioned. I would like to know if the department has done an assessment of how many person years this may add to the 1991-92 estimates.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: That is very difficult to ascertain at the present time because so much depends on how the classes break out in September. We do not expect there to be necessarily any increase in personnel as a result of additional prep time, depending on how the classes break out - essentially what students are in what classroom and in what school in the territory. We feel that through proper scheduling we can accommodate the desire and the demand for prep time. We feel that under existing circumstances we may very well not have to add person years.
Mr. Devries: In the agreement, there is a special incentive mentioned for rural employees. I realize that this is a very important attempt to keep some continuity in the system in the rural communities. What are the incentives planned by this government?
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The one significant incentive that was addressed in the collective agreement was the community allowance, and that is a traditional incentive provided to rural teachers. It would be on a graded basis under the new collective agreement.
There is also a desire between the Yukon Teachers Association and the Department of Education to improve professional development for rural teachers. In the allocation of professional development funding, rural teachers will receive adequate funding, based on their obvious needs and the fact that they generally have less peer support than teachers in Whitehorse. Consequently, that will also be seen and viewed as an added benefit by rural teachers.
Question re: Curragh Resources, safety
Mr. Nordling: I have a question for the Minister of Justice with respect to safety at the Curragh Resources mine. I would like to follow up on a question that was asked by the Member for Riverdale South on November 8, and a legislation return tabled by the Minister of Justice on November 19, dealing with the Phil Rosen report.
On November 8, the Minister of Justice acknowledged the importance of the question of safety for Yukon employees. The concern that has been expressed to me has been with respect to dust, also known as airborne contaminants, in the mill. In the legislative return, the Minister said the assistant deputy minister and the chief of field services from occupational health and safety were scheduled to visit the mine site on November 21, 1990, and another inspection was planned for December.
Did the inspection and visit take place, and what were the results?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The visit by the acting deputy minister to Curragh did take place and the meeting itself was to deal with a lot of issues to do with the mine, but specifically with the health and safety problems there. It was just a follow up to the report and all the other things that occurred as a result of it.
I cannot tell the House whether or not the inspection that was to take place this month has occurred. I do not have that information but I can find that out, and its results.
Mr. Nordling: I would like to address my supplementary question to the Member for Faro.
I understand the Member toured the mine as early as March 1989, and was aware of the dust and fire problems in the mill. I would like to know if he has toured the mine recently and if he is satisfied that the problem has cleared up, and that his constituents are no longer at risk.
Hon. Ms. Joe: The Member for Faro has not done a tour of the mine since March. All of the things that were done at that time have been included in the Phil Rosen report. As I said, there is a lot of work that has happened as a result of that, including a letter to the mine manager to discuss all the recommendations. There was some follow-up on that and a response from the mine manager in regard to the manner in which they were proceeding with trying to deal with the health and safety problems at Curragh.
Mr. Nordling: This lead dust may have far-reaching consequences. We are well aware of the problem of asbestos at the Clinton Creek mine. In view of the fact that the government, in its own words, played a large role in the reopening of the mine, will the Minister table the Phil Rosen report, so we in this House can monitor the response to the concerns outlined in that report for the protection of the constituents of the Member for Faro, as well as all Yukoners?
Hon. Ms. Joe: The report that was done by Phil Rosen remains an internal working document, although it has been made public through the Whitehorse Star. We are following through on the report to make sure that we can deal with the safety problems at the mine. As a matter of fact, we felt it was our responsibility to deal with a number of the situations that were relayed to us by people who work there, as well as by the mine and by other people who had dealings with the mine.
That was the reason we had the safety inspection in the first place. It identified a lot of problems. I am concerned about the same thing the Member for Porter Creek West is concerned about, and we are dealing with the problem. There will always be problems in mines. They do not stop once the problems have been identified, but we are doing our best.
Question re: Takhini Elementary School trailers/investigation
Mrs. Firth: At the beginning of December, I submitted a request to the archives branch for access to information with respect to the Takhini School contract files. I requested some very important memos that the Minister of Government Services kept from us when he tabled other information with respect to the contracting of that school. Will the Minister be providing me with this information, as requested through access to information?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I understand that the Member has sought information relating to the Atco trailer purchase through the Access to Information Act. I am not at all familiar with where the request is in the system. I do not believe access to information is a responsibility that falls in my purview, and I do not believe that I will even be party to any information surrounding that request.
Mrs. Firth: That is not quite correct, because the request is presently within the Ministers department. I think the Minister will be asked to make the final decision with respect to those memos and whether we get them or not. Will the Minister be giving us those memos?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: If it is going to my decision whether the Member will be getting the information, it seems to me that there is a motion of this House that has not approved the production of those particular memorandums. I do not wish to take issue and argue the point again. The fact of the matter is if the information that the Member is seeking surfaces on my desk, I am sure, as usual, I will be most cooperative and helpful to the Member and provide and accede to every request for information that she insists upon.
Mrs. Firth: Although that answer was somewhat patronizing, I will take it as a yes; the memos will be provided to us through the proper route of the access to information request. There are no exceptions under which those memos fall, so I just perhaps should get the Minister to clarify whether we have interpreted that correctly. In that case, if the answer is yes, then I see no reason why we should wait for another formal delay of two weeks for the process to complete itself before I have access to that information; therefore, the Minister should provide those memos to us forthwith.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am at a disadvantage because I do not know where the Members request is. She suggests it is in my department and that may be so. It has not surfaced on my desk and I am sure that it eventually will. At such a point, I will deal with it. I have been most cooperative, particularly with this Member, in providing information. My staff spend hours and hours preparing legislative returns on minutiae of information for the Member: how many trips maintenance people take to go visit a school; how many hours were spent in repairing a lightbulb. I have been most cooperative with the Member in providing information and I am sure I will be again.
Question re: Carcross banking services
Mr. Phelps: I have a question for the Minister of Finance regarding the banking services for Carcross. I have recently been approached by a number of constituents about the urgent need for banking services for that community. I would like to know if it would be possible to initiate banking services over the course of the next few months.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: The Member may already be aware that the Department of Finance, collaborating with our contracting bank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, has already made preliminary contacts in Carcross to determine the feasibility of providing an agency system there. I would say that over the course of the next year we certainly have every intention of trying to provide an agency in Carcross, either through a post office agent or through a retail outlet in Carcross.
These agencies have proven to be quite effective banks in communities in which they are situated. We have, over the course of the last year, been focussing our attention on those very isolated communities and still have some distance to go to ensure that some of those communities get banking agency services, so we have been concentrating our efforts there. But certainly, in Carcross, we will be moving this coming year to see if we can provide an agency.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now lapsed. We will now proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the 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 House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call the Committee of the Whole to order.
We will have a short recess.
Chair: I will call Committee of the Whole to order.
Yukon Housing Corporation
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I would like to express my appreciation to Members for permitting the corporation budget to be dealt with at this time. It does help with some internal issues relating to schedules of people. I do express thanks.
With respect to the budget for the Yukon Housing Corporation, Members can see from the budget book that we have a total operation and maintenance expenditure of $11,550,000. More than 60 percent of this will be recovered through operating revenues and cost sharing with CMHC, and that will reflect an O&M net expenditure of $4,558,000. The increase to the gross expenditure for next year reflects a 36-percent increase that is to $11,500,000 from $8,400,000.
With the exception of $16,000, all of the $3,050,000 in the O&M increase is due to additional units. There were 54 units completed in 1989-90, constructed in 1990-91 and they are now showing the full impact of O&M costs. As Members are aware, we construct the units under social housing. When construction is completed, we secure a mortgage on them and pay out annually, through O&M, the capital costs related to the construction.
There were 30 units committed and constructed in 1991 that will also be reflected in that 36 percent increase shown in the budget.
Of that $3 million increase in our gross expenditure on the O&M side, 71 percent will be recovered through cost sharing and through operating revenues of the units. Of the $3 million increase, $2.185 million is recoverable.
On the capital side, our gross expenditure is $16.3 million. We will be able to recover 93 percent of these dollars. Our net capital expenditure will be $1.087 million.
As the budget indicates, we have had to reduce our expenditures somewhat in the area of renovation and rehabilitation. The level of expenditure for these activities has been reduced by $524,000, from $1.8 million to $1.3 million.
One of the things that is occurring in our corporation is that we have been working for some time to amalgamate all the home repair programs under one program. This budget reflects $900,000 from the federal government residential rehabilitation assistance program. That amount is offset by an equivalent $900,000 recovery from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
In the course of the coming year, we are going to be continuing in the direction of devolving more authority to local housing associations, something that we have begun. Just last month, there was a meeting of all the board members of all the housing associations around the territory, at which they discussed a number of issues pertaining to the devolution of authority and decision making to communities. Out of that meeting last month, a general plan was established that will see development, over the course of the next couple of months, arrived at jointly between the housing association and the corporation, during which time details of the plan will be put in place. I expect that by the end of next year, each community will have its own devolution plan and implementation of those plans will actually have begun.
This budget does reflect a small increase in the cost of maintaining community associations, particularly since we see that the devolution activity is going to involve more work and time and, legitimately, more cost.
The decentralization initiative of the government will have an impact on staff housing requirements in the communities. However, the corporation will not be able to identify the specific housing requirements until each department has dealt with its staff devolution. In other words, until there is actual knowledge and information as to who is moving into which community, and what the particular housing availability is in that community, we are not going to know our specific plans with respect to construction.
We are going to work with the departments involved, and with the local housing associations in the communities, to ensure that there is appropriate housing to support our decentralization initiatives. In fact, part of our plan is to review all the staff housing policies, in order to maximize the use of the programs and policies by staff in decentralization.
In examining our policies, we are addressing the issue of encouraging the private sector to respond to the staff housing needs. Whether that is through renting existing units, or constructing new units for sale or for rent, we are going to be encouraging private sector involvement.
At the same time, we will want to encourage staff, themselves, to establish roots in the communities by constructing or purchasing a house. So, in the review of our policies we want to be able to make sure that staff have the best opportunity to establish roots and use our policies in the process. As a last resort, we will construct and rent housing to meet the needs as may be determined by decentralization, but what we would rather see is our policies flexible enough for employees to make use of them and own their own stock.
The corporation has also been asked to review the employee buy-back program to, again, facilitate and encourage employees in the communities to purchase their own home. I expect that, in the course of the next year, I will be introducing a bill to amend the governments Employee Housing Plan Act. In the budget, we provide for the construction of four additional staff units. In the current budget year, the one we are presently in, we have enough lapsing dollars to revote money for six additional units, if we see the need to construct more than four units through the communities for staff purposes.
If the need is there and we are closer to finalizing the recruitment and complete decentralization plans, we could revote the money in next years supplementary estimates.
There are a couple of outstanding issues from previous debate. I would like to speak to several of them now. The first one is specifically to do with the particulars surrounding the director of finance and administration branch. As Members recall during supplementary debate, we talked about the Yukon Housing Corporation having hired a financial firm to do the financial work of the corporation. Rather than go into extensive detail, I have prepared a page and one-half summary of background information about why that occurred and its current status.
What we talked about before is still accurate. The position was vacant last November. There was an acting position following that. Recruitment has been impossible for the position largely because of the salary level. We have now made three offers of employment. The first two have been rejected. We are waiting for a response on the third and most recent one. The costs involved to retain the firm are pricey. It was a decision by the board last summer to proceed in this fashion because of the demands of the work and the need to have adequate financial records.
I hope we can have the position filled with a full-time employee, but at the moment that is not the case. In the meantime, because of the problems related to recruiting, we are trying to address the reclassification issue. I met with the Public Service Commissioner last week, and with the chair of the Housing Corporation board and the president of the corporation, to try to resolve the reclassification issue. The long and the short of it is summarized in the document I have circulated to Members now and that is the current status.
There was also an issue raised by Members regarding Swift River and the units that were disposed of in that location. A review of the files indicates that the five units in question were extremely old - 28 years old - and not worth retrofitting. A decision was made by Community and Transportation Services to construct a new staff five-plex to replace the trailers. The five trailers were appraised at $12,000 by Mr. Yamada in 1988. We sold them through public tender for a total of $26,000 in 1989. Part of the reason behind the disposal was because the units had not been repaired for some time. Simply because they were so old and were falling apart, it was not economic to retrofit them.
That goes back to 1983 when a decision was made not to retrofit, but to allow them to be disposed of. Finally, in 1989, they were disposed of.
I suppose that summarizes the issue on that topic. There was also an issue raised in previous debate respecting Beaver Creek. As I recall the debate, it related to the rent of some Yukon Housing units in that community. I believe the Member from Haines Junction challenged me to check the payroll records to find out precisely what was paid in those communities. I did ask the department to do a random check in payroll and there is no evidence that $600 was charged for rent on the two units that they followed through on; they did intermittent checks on what rent was being paid.
What I had asked the branch to do is to go to the period prior to 1985, because that seemed to be where the Member was making his point that $600 was the rent charge and because it was so much, people were not renting it. In any event, in 1981, one of the units, No. 107 to be exact, was rented for a period of three years at a monthly rental of $254. In 1984, the same unit was rented to a new tenant for $450 per month, and again in 1984, another new tenant occupied the place for a monthly rental of $450. The same pattern held true on a second unit, where they went through the payroll records, to uncover what payroll deductions existed and there was no evidence of a $600 rental charge.
The only evidence we were able to uncover was that, at some point after 1985, one of the units was being sold to a local resident. His financing did not come through at the expected time. Because the person was living in it, we had to extend his occupation of the unit for one additional month. The tenant offered to pay $600 for that one month as that was going to be the cost of his mortgage. The best we could find was a one-month situation where $600 was charged, but only due to an offer from the person who was buying the unit. Payroll records do not indicate an excess of $450.
I believe Members opposite also requested that I provide contracts related to Yukon Housing operations. I will put into circulation those contracts that are completed for the fiscal year we are currently in. In other words, they are from April 1 of this year to November 15. I will circulate to Members the current years contract listing for Yukon Housing Corporation of completed projects.
This concludes my opening remarks.
Mr. Devries: First, I would like to go over the director of finance material for a moment. I find it slightly ironic that the firm Ernst & Young is also the one that is supplying the person who was seconded into this position, as well as the firm that was hired to look for someone to fill the position. It looks to me like we are paying this person in excess of $20,000 a month.
If I had someone who was working for me and bringing in that kind of money for the position, I would not be too anxious to find someone else to replace them. This is the way I read it, and I am not certain I understand it correctly. From what I read, this is what it says. Am I off track on this? Does the Minister have any comments he would like to make?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member is quite accurate in what he is saying. Ernst & Young is the firm that has been retained to provide the financial management services to the corporation. At the same time, they are engaged in a recruitment exercise. In other words, they are involved with trying to locate a suitable person to fill the job.
The Member raises a valid point, and it is one I raised with the president: is it not in the interest of the firm to not fill the position, if there is a pricey contract to provide the service? The president assured me that the firm was aggressively canvassing for a replacement. We have had several recruitment exercises. We have now had three rounds of recruitment, where offers were made. The short listed people who were offered the job, turned it down. As I indicated during the supplementary debate, that tells me that something else is wrong.
The answer appears to be in the classification of the person. As described in this handout, the complexities of the job are extensive, the responsibility is high, the knowledge needed is vast, and the expertise is very necessary. A person in the industry is not attracted to do this work for the Yukon Housing Corporation because he would be paid more in the private sector. That is part of what the reclassification exercise is about. As I indicated, we had meetings last week to try to address that and get the job classified higher, to be paid better, to attract someone to fill it.
Mr. Devries: Another interesting thing I observed in here was the fact that the Minister, or whoever wrote this, is trying to justify the current situation by saying that $3.3 million in interest cost over 25 years has been saved. I do not think I would buy that. That is not saying that somebody else could not come up with the same deal or possibly a better deal.
I feel that that paragraph is irrelevant. The Member for Riverdale first brought this up and I wonder if he wanted to pursue it further. I will just let him pursue it a little further if he wishes. No.
That is fine. I would like to move on to the Auditor Generals report on Other Matters to the Legislative Assembly. On page 35, it talks about Faro. I believe we talked about this at some length last year. The Minister is quite aware of the situation with the real estate firm in Faro, I am certain. There was $103,000 worth of interest that had accrued on this mortgage, I believe. It surrounds that issue if I am correct. According to this, the available funds had not been collected by the government at the end of October. Originally, there was a dispute over whether it was the responsibility of the Department of Finance or Yukon Housing to monitor what was happening to this interest. I am wondering if the Department of Finance has initiated action to collect the money. Does the Minister know if the money has been collected from this real estate firm?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will have to take a bit of notice to get the full details for the Member. I am advised, with respect to the Faro situation, that the money is still outstanding. Part of the requirements to get the money is the need for an audited financial statement. I also understand that the Department of Finance is working in conjunction with Yukon Housing Corporation and Faro Real Estate Limited to arrive at how to procure that audited statement. Beyond that, I would have to take notice and undertake to get back to the Member, in due course, as to the status of collection. I do know that an audited statement is part of the problem and is being worked on by the corporation and Finance.
Mr. Devries: So, the Member will supply that in the form of a legislative return, or something of that nature.
In relation to the Jomini complex in Faro, my understanding is that there is a proposal that has been put forward by Curragh Hillsborough in an attempt to work along with Yukon Housing on leasing and upgrading this complex, or perhaps even purchasing it outright. What is the present status of that?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: There is quite an extensive background to the whole Jomini situation, as the Member knows. The Yukon government picked it up in the original reopening exercise. Since that time, it has been some use, first at the opening and more recently by Renewable Resources and Government Services occupying the unit. Nevertheless, what has occurred in the community is a severe shortage of housing. Approximately a year ago, the Yukon government offered the entire complex to the town for one dollar to bring it back on stream in any configuration it saw fit. That was turned down eight months later and the Yukon government essentially had the asset, with which to do whatever it chose.
Because of the housing situation, which is at a critical stage in the community, what we are examining is bringing the facility back onstream to provide for public housing as well as for the needs of the mine and some very necessary office space. Fortunately or unfortunately, Faro faces the opposite problem of most communities at the moment. It is bursting at the seams. There is no commercial or office space. There is no housing and there is a severe shortage of space.
The mine has approached us to lease a couple of the wings of the complex. We have been in discussion with them and I understand we are reaching an agreement. At the same time, we have a need for office space. Currently, the Yukon College in the community is working out of a trailer and desperately needs some expansion space. Some other government offices have a severe space shortage so we are looking at another wing for office space. What we will do with an additional wing that is available to us is uncertain as yet, but we are proceeding with discussions with Curragh Resources about leasing two of the wings and we are involved in plans together to convert one of the wings to office space for the community. That is the current status. The board of directors for the corporation has approved the plans. What is yet required is a submission for Management Board to approve this step.
Mr. Devries: I have a few questions regarding the Centennial Street project. Last year, the Minister gave us a good rundown of how they arrived at which construction company the turn-key project was awarded to. On what date was this turn-key proposal awarded? I guess it was Bald Eagle at the time.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: We are not sure of the precise date, but it was approximately June 1989.
Mr. Devries: At that time, was the Yukon Housing Corporation aware that Tagish Kwan was experiencing some serious financial difficulties? Did they look into that at all when they awarded this contract to Bald Eagle?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: At that time, neither the corporation nor anyone else was aware of any financial problems the corporation may have been experiencing, or eventually did experience. As I have explained in previous material submitted, the tendering process was open; they bid; they were successful, along with another firm, for some of the turn-key units. As a rule, we do not go into financial analyses on all the winning bids. Usually, there are several checks that are normally done, as part of the tendering process. They are very simple and cursory, and these are done to check the credibility and financial standing of the companies with the bank and within the contracting community. The award is then made.
They were treated just like any other contractor bidding on the job.
Mr. Devries: I have some questions regarding rent. Does the corporation keep track of how much rent it has had to write off in a given fiscal year as uncollectable or due to bad debts?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I am advised that indeed we do keep track of every uncollectable charge, rent or otherwise. Lists are kept. We do not have them here today, and I could not even provide magnitudes today. If the Member wants further information on that, perhaps he could be more specific and I will try to procure it.
Mr. Devries: Basically, it does not have to be very detailed - just a return in the form of how many dollars of bad debts have been written off in the last fiscal year. It is all the same. It is all money.
Have many of these individuals backed out of these five-year lease purchases once they have been awarded a home? Does the Minister have a figure of how many people have backed out of the five-year lease purchase once this was made?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I do not have the statistics but I can provide the Member with some general magnitudes of what is taking place. This is currently the second year of the lease-purchase program. In each of the two years, we have entered into 30 lease-purchase units per year. Clearly, the units that are under a lease-purchase arrangement, or entering into a lease-purchase arrangement for this year, would not have yet all been concluded so they are at some various stage of house selection, financing, analyses. I am told that to date we have had a total of four people who have withdrawn from the lease-purchase arrangement. That would be from an approximate 60 lease-purchase opportunities or arrangements, recognizing that the ones for this year are still at some stage of activity.
Mr. Devries: Another program I have been watching carefully is the build-your-own program. Has Yukon Housing had any problems making the financial payments on some of these where the person never finishes the house? Does the person get all the money or is there a completion payment? How do they monitor that?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Similar to the lease-purchase, the program began last year and continued this year. In each year, we had five in the owner-build program. Because it is a two-year program, the ones that began last year are just reaching completion now. We have no evidence, I am told, that anyone is bailing out or trying to get out. All of the units are progressing satisfactorily.
On the payment side, the program calls for a progress payment schedule. In other words, a certain portion of the house must be complete before the next payment will proceed. Regular inspections are done. It is treated in much the same way as any bank would in a similar mortgage arrangement and is similar to what we do with contract work. It is done on the basis of progress payments for levels or percentages of work done. On that particular program, I am advised that there are no apparent problems of clients trying to withdraw or bail out. It is a most successful program at the moment.
Mr. Devries: I would like refer once more to the report on Other Matters. In this, I believe, there was something along the line where there seemed to be some discrepancies between the amount of rent that was registered in the local community that a person had to pay versus the amount of rent that was in the computer in Whitehorse. This is in the Auditor Generals report. They were concerned about this. Has anything been done to rectify this matter?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Member raises a valid point. There were discrepancies between what was assigned under community records versus corporation records for rent. That, apparently, I am told, was discovered a couple of years ago at a time when the Housing Corporation was implementing a new computer system. I am told that a complete audit has been done on these discrepancies and that the rent identified in the communities was in all cases was the accurate one. The corporation computer records were the incorrect ones. That was an anomaly that developed in the transition period of accounting, during conversion to a computer.
While I am on my feet, I can provide some further information to the Member with respect to the Auditor Generals other comments respecting Faro Real Estate Limited. I am advised by efficient finance personnel that the audit of Faro Real Estate was done for us by a private firm. It shows that there is indeed an amount of $103,556 outstanding from Faro Real Estate. I am also advised that the money has not been collected, yet, because there is a dispute with respect to the interpretation of terms in the mortgage.
I am advised that the Finance department is in discussion with Faro Real Estate at this time, with respect to the collection of that money. The audit is now done.
Mr. Devries: It sounds like we could be in court again. At this time, I would be prepared to go on to line-by-line discussion, unless other Members have more questions in general debate.
Mr. Phelps: I have a couple of questions that specifically relate to Carcross. The first one has to do with a decision that has been on again and off again; I gather it is on again. It is a decision by the housing authority in Carcross to tear down two perfectly good single-family, low-cost housing homes in Carcross. They want to replace each of them with duplexes.
My concern with regard to that issue is that the two buildings that somebody desperately wants to tear down are in pretty good shape, and could easily be fixed for very little money. I understand that at least one individual in the community has offered to swap the lot and house for two lots, so that a duplex could be built on two lots, side by side.
I am also told that several people have mentioned they would like to purchase the houses in question, because they are good housing stock. As is usually the case now with low-cost housing in communities, they are probably much better than any individual private home in the town.
It reminds me of the Centennial Street apartments, which are costing more than the most expensive private apartment blocks that ever traded hands in Whitehorse. The most expensive sale of private apartments in Whitehorse took place recently at the cost of $38,000 per apartment. The low-cost housing being built by the Yukon Housing Corporation is double that.
Something is extraordinarily wrong in my view, but that is an aside. My concern is that we will have two good units being torn down and then replaced by two duplexes. I would like the Minister to consider asking the corporation to make those units available to the private sector by bid or whatever so that they can be preserved, because they are perfectly fine houses that were built in the 1974 or 1975 era and have been upgraded in terms of being enveloped in the past five or six years and now they are to be torn down.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: My specific knowledge of the case in point is rather limited, but I will try to provide what I can. The two units that the Member refers to are two log houses. I understand that the corporation staff are in discussion with the local housing authority about what to do with those two units. I am told also that we have inspected the units, as has CMHC. We have identified, collectively, that a substantial amount of upgrading is required to bring them to any kind of a reasonable standard. I am told that it could cost up to $30,000 per unit to upgrade. I believe the Member suggested that the units are worth about $35,000 or $37,000 each. I misquoted the Member.
I guess what is being contemplated in the decision of whether to upgrade or build new is the total cost involved to bring the units onstream. If one must pay $30,000 on a unit to upgrade it, it may be wiser to put in separate units, which overall would cost less in the long term. One could argue the life cycle costs of such a facility, and you have to assess the housing needs in the community.
In any case, we would not destroy the units. Should we want to dispose of them, we would put them up for public sale. I would like to give the Member assurance that we would not destroy the units. Our discussions with the local authorities are about the costs to upgrade. We are advised these costs are fairly substantial.
Mr. Phelps: This is of particular interest to me. I would like to know where the corporation gets its advice about upgrading and spending money on existing housing stock. The person that I spoke to was one of the best, if not the best, person on renovating log housing in the entire area. I have used his services myself. In his view, the problems can be corrected for very little money. Those homes should be sold to someone else who could be fix them up for very little money.
While I am on that topic, I am pleased with the assurances that these two units would be put up for public tender. At least they may still be available in an area that has some housing problems.
The other thing is that some of the older units, which are not nearly as good as these two that were to be torn down - according to local information - have had all kinds of money spent on them for upgrading, but never where it was really needed.
The older housing units on no-name street in Carcross have had all kinds of work done on them because they are so expensive to heat. I know of one where a porch was put on; the furnace has been rebuilt and upgraded from an 80.5 percent efficiency up to, I guess, 90 percent efficient with the new unit; it has been completely enveloped and all the walls and so on have been fixed. The problem is that the heat, pure and simple, has always been escaping through the roof, which only has three inches of insulation.
So we have all of this money being spent on some of these houses and none of the money seems to address the problems. Again, I just do not understand where the Housing Corporation is getting its advice. Money is wasted and spent in this way, but the real problem is not addressed and the heating problem still remains. That pertains to a couple of houses, as well, in Carcross.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: Just on the latter point first, with respect to the alleged inadequate retrofit that appears to be going on - I am quite concerned about it because when we identify retrofit money, it is for a specific job, under specific direction and standards. It receives inspection and it gets approved and paid for only if it meets requirements, so I am very concerned if the Member is suggesting that some of our retrofit money is not being efficiently spent, particularly in this day and age, when retrofitting is becoming more efficient than new construction. I would want to be doubly sure that our retrofit and upgrading is meeting requirements to prolong the life of the unit. So I would want the Member to be more specific about the unit in question.
I guess the other point is - and this goes back to the Members first point about the two units in question - that we do not do anything in terms of disposing of units, constructing units, retrofitting units, without full consultation with the local association. In other words, if the local association says not to retrofit a particular unit, that is virtually a decision. I spoke in my opening remarks of how we value the devolution of authority to communities, because they know best about local decisions that have to be made.
We may have some expertise at the corporation level, but at the community level, they have the best interests of the community at heart and know the specific needs of the community. So, the Member gives me reason for concern in several areas: firstly, about his understanding that a decision had been made to demolish a building, because that is not our policy and should never take place, particularly in a community like Carcross, where there are some historic type buildings; and he gives me concern about a retrofit allegedly being done incompetently or inadequately. So, I want to follow this up and I will. In fact, during my next trip to Carcross, I want to see this unit that has been poorly retrofitted that he mentions.
Mr. Phelps: If the two houses go up for sale, I am sure somebody would be quite happy to purchase them and fix them up. It would not cost them very much and they will end up with better housing stock than most of the private homes in the community.
With respect to the second point, I do not want to give the impression that work that was supposed to be done was not done and done properly. It is just that the retrofit and the fixing of the furnace did not address the problem. Somebody can do a retrofit on the walls of a building and do a fine job, but if that was not the problem in the first place, it is money really not spent wisely. If fixing the furnace, at considerable cost, did not address the problem, if the furnace was burning in excess of 80 percent efficiency, it is generally pretty good; then again, that is money that is not being spent wisely. I guess my concern is, I do not know where the housing authority in general gets the expertise upon which these decisions are based, because it seems to me that whoever is operating out of Whitehorse and going out to these communities and giving the advice is not, in many cases, giving very good advice to the local housing authorities.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I will not prolong this. I have to find out more, in precise terms, of what Yukon Housing Corporation actually did on the unit. Our information at the table here indicates that there was just an entryway that got retrofitted in what I suspect to be the particular unit the Member draws reference to. The Member may also be talking about some work in previous years. I do not have the information handy but I do want to research the matter; I do want to find out more about what he suggests. The simple fact that the heat is going through the roof without insulation is a pretty strong allegation to make, and I would want to have that double-checked before stating that on any record.
With respect to expertise, clearly there is a level of expertise that rests with the community and the association within the community.
The Member comes from a small community. He knows the type of expertise people procure, just by familiarity with situations, buildings and trades people; they have a working knowledge of housing stock. At the corporation level, we use CMHC people on inspections. We have our own people and, yes, there is a level of expert advice that is given to the local associations in the decision-making process. Combined with the knowledge of the local people, a decision is eventually made.
Mr. Phelps: I have given two examples. I also get concerned when I look at the Ryder apartment block in town. We have a place fairly close to it and, all of a sudden, I see that they are putting on a new roof, and the whole ball of wax, and it is a fairly new building. I am becoming rather concerned about the amount of money that has been spent on retrofitting, and whether or not we are getting value for our money.
Hon. Mr. Byblow: I generally take the Members point as notice. I would like to think that we get very good value for our money in retrofitting stock, largely because that has been a shift of direction for the corporation in the last couple of years. It is a shift in direction across the country. As housing construction costs have skyrocketed, people are taking greater heed of existing stock and prolonging the length of that stock.
Retrofitting is becoming a popular approach to housing renovations. The industry is also tooling up for it. If you go back to five or 10 years ago, you could not find too many people totally familiar and competent in housing retrofits. That expertise in the industry has skyrocketed in the last few years, as people have recognized that that is where a large part of the construction activity is going to be taking place.
The long and the short of it is, I take the Members point as notice to investigate, but I would be very concerned if we were not getting value for our money.
On Non-Profit Housing
Mr. Devries: I would just like to know if there are any projects similar to the Centennial Street project, apartments or anything, or is it all on the smaller housing end?
Where is the Centennial Street project turn-key operation going to show up? Is that in last years budget or is it going to be in this one?
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The Centennial Street monies showed up in the supplementary that we just did a few weeks ago. It was the money we revoted from last year into this year to meet what was an obvious delay in construction completion.
With respect to the Members second question, the unit construction for the coming year is identified in several areas. The short answer to the Members question as to whether or not we will have another Centennial is no. We are looking at the possibility, and I say possibility because the final decision would rest with the final consultation with the communities, of four to six units that would be constructed to meet the Canadian Mental Health Associations request.
We have the possibility of 10 to 14 units in Dawson City for seniors. There may be 25 units for the Whitehorse housing authority and 10 to 14 units in Old Crow for senior citizens, better known as home of the wise ones.
Construction/Acquisition in the amount of $7,864,000 agreed to
On Renovation & Rehabilitation Existing Stock
Renovation & Rehabilitation in the amount of $1,180,000 agreed to
On Proposed Development Funding
Hon. Mr. Byblow: The $45,000 is essentially intended to meet proposal feasibility costs for private, non-profit groups to put plans in place for the construction of a unit. What comes to mind immediately is Kaushees Place. They utilized money from this particular fund in the past to put their plans together.
It is simply feasibility money for private, non-profit societies or groups to develop proposals for housing needs.
Proposed Development Funding in the amount of $45,000 agreed to
Non-Profit Housing in the amount $9,089,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on the following pages, allotments and explanations or changes?
On Home Improvement
On Home Improvement
Home Improvement in the amount of $1,630,000 agreed to
On Home Ownership
On Lease Purchase
Lease Purchase in the amount of $3,400,000 agreed to
Owner/Build in the amount of $541,000 agreed to
Home Ownership in the amount of $3,941,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on allotments?
On Staff Housing
Construction/Acquisition in the amount of $495,000 agreed to
On Renovation & Rehabilitation Existing Stock
Renovation & Rehabilitation Existing Stock in the amount of $160,000 agreed to
Staff Housing in the amount of $655,000 agreed to
On Joint Venture
On Joint Venture
Joint Venture in the amount of $1,000,000 agreed to
Chair: We will go back to page 410. O&M expenditures to be voted: $11,550,000.
On Operation & Maintenance
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $11,550,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $16,315,000 agreed to
Yukon Housing Corporation agreed to
Renewable Resources - continued
Chair: We are still on general debate. Is there any further general debate?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have no further general debate.
Mr. Lang: I want to discuss another area. We left the debate when we were discussing the question of campgrounds and access to them.
I want to go on to the issue of outfitting. What is the Ministers position on outfitting, in view of the land claims and the $500,000 for compensation? What is going to happen to the outfitting business in the long term? From his perspective, within the land allocated to the land claims, will some of that land be made available for outfitting by native outfitters, if they so wish, if outfitters are excluded from utilizing that land, once land claims have been settled?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is a three-part question, and I will try to take it in order.
I see no change in our policy or procedure to encourage the outfitting business to continue in the territory. Some concession holders will lose part of their land through some lands being claimed as settlement A lands by the Yukon First Nations, through their land claims agreement. They will receive compensation for that under policies and procedures yet to be developed.
As for the question of the potential for new outfitting businesses to start up on settlement A lands, that is quite possible. The First Nation will own settlement A lands, and they will be entitled to manage the wildlife on those lands, possibly through issuing an outfitting concession.
I want to remind the Member that there are very few places in the Yukon where such large tracts of land, in the form of settlement A land, will exist. I do not think it would really warrant establishing a new outfitting concession. I can only think of a couple of areas right now. For example the Vuntat Gwichin Nation has 3,000 square miles - certainly that would be a possibility but the 10,000 square miles for settlement A land distributed among the other 12 First Nations would not give a large enough land base, I think, to warrant full outfitting operations as we know them today.
Mr. Lang: That leads me to my next question. I am just curious and a little concerned about how the general laws of application apply in this particular case here. The Minister appeared to say that the First Nation would be the one that issued the concession for the purposes of outfitting. Is hunting and that type of commercial pursuit not the responsibility of the Government of Yukon Territory? Would that not come under the Wildlife Act?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Not with respect to settlement A lands. It would be the privilege of the First Nation to deal with outfitting concessions. I think it might be a reasonable proposal that the First Nation would continue to permit an outfitter, for example, to have concessions in their area and make some kind of arrangement with the outfitter for employing some members of the First Nation, for example.
Mr. Lang: I am just a little confused here because I am concerned about the ultimate end to this and where we are going with the wildlife in the territory and who is responsible for this. Up to now, it has always been the responsibility of the YTG to issue concessions for the purposes of outfitting. The message that I am getting from the Minister is that that is no longer going to be the case. It will be the First Nations responsibility. Is he saying to the House that they will dictate how many animals can be taken off those particular lands and this type of thing? Then, my next question is how is it going to affect the overall harvest throughout the territory as far as game management is concerned?
Hon. Mr. Webster: It has been my understanding that this would only apply to settlement A lands where the First Nation would have some determination of the management of the wildlife. Certainly, those principles are consistent with those that are incorporated by the fish and wildlife branch of the Government of the Yukon and that of course is conservation of the species. Also, as a result of the land claims agreement, we are establishing some working relationships with the First Nations. As a consequence, of course, on the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board we have equal representation on that board of Yukon First Nations and non-native people from the Yukon to assist the Government of Yukon in making management decisions about allocations of wildlife for all users.
Mr. Lang: I just want to make an observation here. I am not going to belabour it today because I am sure it is an issue that is going to come up in days hence, months hence and maybe years hence, but the purpose of the management board ensuring that there is representation from the native people of the territory, and rightfully so there should be, and from non-native people of the territory who have a vested interest in wildlife and how it is being harvested was that all the general laws of application would apply. The rules would apply to everyone. Now I am getting the message from the Minister that that is no longer the case, in that with certain lands the laws of general application are not going to apply. Obviously, you can talk about all the special relationships in the world but if the final determining decisions are not made through the Wildlife Act and through the responsibility vested in every Member of this House, who have the ultimate responsibility, then what we are basically going to have is balkanization.
I want to conclude by saying that I think there are organizations such as the Fish and Game Association and the outfitters who are going to be very concerned if they see that the responsibility for wildlife management is going to be fragmented to the point where there are all different kinds of authorities with authority for managing wildlife. I just do not think it bodes very well ultimately for the real responsibility we have and that is conservation of our wildlife.
I think you are going to find that people are going to ask a lot of straight questions about how this is going to affect them. The first principle that has to be applied is the conservation of our wildlife. If the Minister is knowingly doing this and the ultimate end is that we are taking the outfitting business away from someone because of the land claims process and then allowing others to commercially outfit, I can see compensation being high. I would question that.
The Minister has indicated that the areas are not that large for concessions. But a concession can be one valley. The purpose of the concessions we have in the territory, although they are limited in the territory, was primarily for the long-term conservation of our wildlife. There would only be so many outfitters so that they could be dealt with fairly and maintain our wildlife harvest. With what the Minister has just told us, I have some concerns. If you have any understanding of the business, you will find others have concerns too. If one goes to Alaska, Alberta or British Columbia, it does not matter whether natives or non-natives have the concessions. If one fragments the Yukon into concessions, it is going to cause major problems. You should be aware of that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I think the Member is misunderstanding me. Right now, with the laws of general application applied, it will continue to apply in the future. The number one principle here, as he mentioned, is conservation of the species.
The fish and wildlife branch, through a number of methods such as surveys and working with First Nations and others in the development of management plans for areas, have a reasonable handle on the health of the fish and wildlife stock in the territory. With that assistance and the advice of the Wildlife Management Board, which is 50/50 representation, they do make decisions based on that knowledge for the allocation of the harvestable resource and divide it up among all the users.
Clearly, one of the parties are the outfitters. From time to time you see that certain conditions are established for outfitters in areas where the game populations are low.
That philosophy and principle will continue in the future, regardless of whether the present holder of that concession continues to operate in that area or there is a new concession holder through the land claims negotiation.
Mr. Lang: I want to go on to another area. Can the Minister tell us what his policy is on the purchase of outfitting concessions? Can an individual or a company purchase as many outfitting areas as they wish? Is there any established policy within the department on that?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The policy has not changed over the years. However, it will be under consideration when the Wildlife Act is reviewed. This act has provisions for ownership and awarding of concessions to outfitters.
Mr. Phillips: I have a couple of questions that relate to the recent announcement about the viewing of the Takhini Valley elk herd. I have some concerns. I understand that, earlier this winter, the Department of Renewable Resources released eight elk from the government herd. They were probably two-year-old calves, or year-and-one-half year old calves. They were released in the Takhini area.
The concern I have is that the Yukon government had originally planned to release those eight calves into the Hutshi herd. They were so intent on doing that that they built a corral in the Hutshi area and gave a contract to the Fish and Game Association. They went out and built the corral. Just about the time they were ready to release the elk, in March of last year, they imported reindeer into the Penner farm herd that were diseased, so we had to quarantine the elk until we were certain they were disease-free.
Since then, unbeknownst to everybody and with one mornings notice, the Yukon Fish and Game Association received a call, asking if they would like to come along on an elk release that day. That was the first they had heard of the elk being released into the Takhini herd. The original intent was to release them into the Hutshi herd.
Who changed that decision, and why did they change it? Why did they not contact the Yukon Fish and Game Association ahead of time to notify them that this was going to happen, so they could at least comment on it, especially since the Yukon Fish and Game Association had met one week earlier with the director of the wildlife branch, Mr. Monaghan, to specifically discuss the wildlife management for elk? Yet, the release of these elk was not even raised as a topic of discussion. Not once during that meeting did it come up that they were to release those elk in the Takhini area. It was always the understanding that those elk were to go into the Hutshi area. Who made the decision to suddenly sneak them out into the Takhini area and release them there? Why was it done that way?
Hon. Mr. Webster: At this time, I cannot give an answer to satisfy the Member on this situation. I also do not have the assistance of the acting deputy minister on the matter. From the beginning, it was not my understanding that the release of elk this year was intended to go to the Hutshi herd, but that could very well be the situation. I am not aware of the details as to the timing and why the Yukon Fish and Game Association was not notified. The only possible explanation as to why the elk were released in the Takhini herd is that a management plan has now been developed and approved for that particular herd, whereas that is not the case for the Hutshi herd. Considering the low number of animals in the Takhini herd - around 30 or 35 right now - it seems pretty critical that they inject some new animals into that herd to help promote breeding and, thus, increase the size the herd.
I will endeavour to get the information for the Member.
Mr. Phillips: Does that mean then, if the Government of the Yukon brings up another truckload of 30 or 40 elk this year - they were supposed to bring some up last year but, evidently, the weather was not right in Alberta, and they could not capture the elk - all the elk are going to go into the Takhini area to enhance that project, and none are going into the Hutshi area? That is not the understanding the Fish and Game Association has, either.
The Fish and Game Association were going to split the herd, and they should put at least eight more animals in the Hutshi herd, because the government did not honour what they planned to do earlier last year. People in the Yukon Fish and Game Association are just as concerned about the Hutshi herd as they are about the Takhini Valley herd. It seems to be a strong priority of this government to just deal with the Takhini Valley herd. Both are important, and we should be dealing with both on the same level of importance, and we should be looking at enhancing both herds.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I agree with the Member that we should be looking at increasing the size of both herds. I would not want to speculate as to the kind of division of animals we will make next year for each of the two herds when we get a new shipment of elk.
The only explanation I can provide is to recognize, again, that we do have to add to the numbers of both herds. The Takhini herd may be favoured right now for the reason that it has a management plan and people are involved with it, including the Fish and Game Association.
Mr. Phillips: I think if the government is going to instill some kind of trust in the various organizations out there, it should not do what it has done in this case where a week prior to releasing them in an area they were not going to release them, they talked about the very topic of elk management in the territory. It was never raised at that meeting. It was never raised by anyone from Renewable Resources in that meeting. Less than a week later they release the elk, almost as if they are trying to do it secretly. Fish and Game read about it in the newspaper so it was not that much of a secret. But still the question is if we were talking about that very subject a week earlier, certainly they did not all of a sudden come up with this idea three or four days after the meeting. Someone must have known that was going to happen or that there were plans for that to happen. The director of wildlife should have known what he was talking about at the meeting and he should have informed the association or any group that he was consulting with about the elk. I thought that was what they were going to do. That is all I am saying because people wonder if there is some other agenda when this happens and they are not notified of it.
The last comment I have is in light of the recent diseases that have cropped up in elk in Alberta and the quarantines that have gone on in Alberta. I would like to ask the Minister how we are ensuring that any elk that come to the Yukon in the future, through Elk Island National Park or through any purchase of a game farmer in the territory, will be absolutely disease free before they come in the territory.
Hon. Mr. Webster: All elk that are transported from Alberta to the Yukon have to undergo inspection to ensure they are disease free.
Getting back to the last comment on the previous subject the Member made about there being a hidden agenda that would favour bolstering the Takhini herd without the knowledge of the Fish and Game Association, I do not think that is the case at all. All members of the Fish and Game Association, the department and other people involved in the project are aware that the Takhini elk herd presents a very good wildlife viewing opportunity, which is not the same as the Tutshi herd. That may be another reason why, at this time, the elk were released into the Takhini herd. But again, I will come back with that information.
Mr. Lang: I have a further question on the elk situation, as far as the elk farmers in the territory are concerned. I understand the department is making representation to Alberta to permit the sale of Yukon elk to the Alberta market, which is presently closed. I understand that all the elk, except for maybe one or two, originally came from Alberta. I wonder where the Minister is with respect to that proposal and what he expects in the future regarding his request?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We have made the request to the Alberta government for a reciprocal arrangement to buy and sell elk. To date, we have not had an update on that.
Mr. Lang: It is my understanding that the representation was made some time ago. The Minister indicates that it was three months ago. Have we not had a reply?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I believe it was three months ago that we made that representation, but I am not aware of a response to it, to date.
Mr. Lang: Would the Minister provide me with a written update in respect to that situation, as well as what the department expects as far as that request is concerned?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not anticipate any problem with them meeting our request, and I will provide the Member with that information when it arrives.
Mr. Lang: There is one other area that I would like to pursue for a minute, and that is the question of game zones 7, 9 and 5. This has been a topic of discussion in this House during the course of this sitting. Can the Minister provide us with a copy of the full report from the subcommittee that was used by the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board met last Wednesday and Thursday here in Whitehorse. The matter of game management zones 7, 9 and 5 was on the agenda, and I know the release of the full report was discussed, particularly after the mix-up in the press about a variety of reports.
I have not seen the minutes of the meeting from last Wednesday and Thursday, and I do not know if it is the intention of the board to release the full report. I have not heard otherwise. I can assure the Member that, if it is the advice of the board to release the full contents of the report, I can make it available immediately.
Mr. Lang: I am surprised at the Ministers comment. He knows it is of particular concern to Members on this side. We are not raising this issue just because we do not have anything else to raise. It is an issue of vital concern to many of us as MLAs, and to people we represent. I would have thought he would have taken the time on Thursday or Friday to contact the board and let them know there has been a formal request for the report, and ask if they would release it.
Will the Minister undertake today, prior to Question Period tomorrow, to let me know whether or not that particular report is going to be made available?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I made some attempts. Friday, I left in the morning to go home to Dawson. I did not get a chance to call either of the co-chairs of the Wildlife Management Board. I called them both this morning at 11:00 a.m. to talk about that and some other matters, but I could not reach either one of them. I will try again tomorrow to see what their position is on releasing the entire report.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister provide us with the recommendations of the board, as far as what should be done in game zones 7, 9 and 5?
Hon. Mr. Webster: About 10 minutes ago, I was handed a letter signed by Jim Rear, co-chair of the Yukon Fish and Wildlife Management Board.
That discusses very briefly what transpired at the meeting Thursday with regard to this issue of game zones 7 and 9. He suggested some progress was made by the board in arriving at conclusions with regard to this complex and highly charged issue. They have not concluded deliberations on this program. They do not expect to do so until their next meeting, tentatively scheduled for January 22 to 24, 1991.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister saying that the moose and caribou surveys that were done in game zones 7, 9 and 5 were incomplete? Is that the reason for the delay? I would like to know what the reason for the delay is.
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, the results of the surveys are not incomplete. In this letter dated December 17, handed to me 10 minutes ago, it says that the board deliberated at length on the wildlife management needs for southwest Yukon and considered the results of the recent ungulate survey in that area. They could not come to a conclusion. The previous reports prepared by the department and results of the surveys of the ungulates in that area, will be discussed further among the board members at their next meeting in January.
Mr. Lang: Would the Minister provide us with the results of the moose and caribou survey reports that were just completed?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The results of those surveys should be available for public release this week.
Mr. Lang: To go on to another area, will the Minister be tabling an agricultural policy that he promised a year ago prior to the closing of this session?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Is the Member making reference to the close of this particular sitting? If so, no, I will not be releasing the agricultural policy at the close of this sitting.
Mr. Lang: I have to admit I am not surprised because that is the same statement he made 12 months ago almost to the day. He is being perfectly consistent, but it seems to me that there is going to come the day when there is going to have to be a policy. I understand that the department made a recommendation to the Council on the Environment and the Economy on the proposed agricultural policy, and I do not believe that the Livestock and Agricultural Association representatives had the opportunity to meet before that council to give their point of view on the draft policy.
In reading the draft policy, I see that it is slanted in the direction, of course, in which the department would like to go, which is at odds with a lot of people in the agricultural community.
It seems to me that the council should have heard both sides of the issue prior to making any recommendation. I am primarily talking about the land disposition side of the policy, which I think is going to cause very little agricultural land to be released in the future if it goes through the way it is.
I will just make that representation to the Minister. I think he should take it upon himself to contact the Livestock and Agricultural Association and give them the opportunity to meet with the council. The Council on the Environment and the Economy met with officials from the department, and I think they were very well intentioned, but I do not think it gave the whole story, which would enable the council to make recommendations one way or the other on the draft.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The proposed agricultural policy, in its draft form, was presented for comment to the Council on the Economy and the Environment, just as another specific interest group. It was not the role of the Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment to meet with various interest groups on the agricultural policy, such as the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association. The Yukon Council on the Economy and the Environment was another interest group that was asked to comment on the draft policy.
Mr. Lang: It is pure coincidence that you had officials from the department to speak to the draft policy. I do not think many members of the association or the council knew that people within the agricultural community were at odds with it. So, what I am saying is that they got one side of the story. If there had been no interest group there and they had just read the policy and did not have anybody there to explain the policy to them, maybe then I would accept that, but there was an interest group there and in this case it was the Government of the Yukon Territory, who drafted the policy. Those being affected did not get the opportunity to go before this council - the body which the Members across the floor hold in such high esteem. If they are going to make a comment on a policy like that, then I think they have a responsibility to hear from those that are going to be affected and then make a judgment call. Do you not think that would be fair?
How can the council, after hearing only one side of the story, make a definitive decision when they do not know how it is going to affect other people?
Hon. Mr. Webster: All I can say is that members of the Yukon Council on the Economy and Environment are fair-minded and independent thinking people. I am sure whether the draft agricultural policy was presented to them by department officials in the agricultural branch or by members of the YLAA, I think, among themselves, having heard both sides of the story, they could certainly make up their minds themselves.
Mr. Lang: I am not going to belabour this. They did not hear both sides of the story. That is my point. They are fair-minded people, I am sure, and they are intelligent, but if you hear only one side of an argument, obviously you are going to say that is obviously a good position, and that is one we should take, maybe with some minor revision. If you hear both sides, then you are in a position to say that that makes sense or that does not make sense. I am just saying, in fairness to the council, they never got the opportunity to hear the whole story. I am sure that nobody, in the minutes I saw, stood up and said, Look, the Livestock and Agricultural Association feels the policy should say this. That position was never, ever given to them and I want to ask the Minister if he feels that is fair?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, I think that the Members can decide for themselves the merits of the various parts of the draft. I think the role of the department in this particular case was the presentation of material as it exists in this particular form. I do not think they are playing the adversary role or were in favour a particular position. I think they are just presenting material and giving members of this particular council a briefing as to how the policy developed and where it is going from here.
Chair: We will proceed with line by line but Committee will take a break first.
On Operation & Maintenance
On General Management
Mr. Lang: May I ask why there is such a decrease in this area?
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is a decrease of $49,000 due to reduction in the ISI funding and $40,000 carried forward from 1989-90 resource management.
Mr. Lang: Just to facilitate going through the budget, can the Minister tell us if he is plnning any new initiatives on any of these items as we go through? I would appreciate if he could flag it for us because it saves time for all of us. I do not want to talk about the financial administration officer and what he gets per year. I do not think that is necessary. We obviously need him and he is obviously very capable. But if there is a new initiative, I would like to know about it.
Hon. Mr. Webster: There are no new initiatives under administration, operation and maintenance; however, there are some minor increases in capital. For example, the facility construction - Faro line item is a new project for $10,000. We are starting up a regional office in that area.
In the departmental equipment line, there is a large increase of 80 percent, basically to replace some worn-out equipment. It is not so much new equipment but largely for worn-out equipment, reflecting the low amount of money available in the last few years. We are pretty much catching up in that area.
General Management in the amount of $455,000 agreed to
On Finance & Administration
Finance & Administration in the amount of $714,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $1,169,000 agreed to
On Departmental Equipment
Mr. Lang: I would the Minister to break that down, if he could.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The department equipment is in the amount of $190,000. I was hoping to break it down by branch. Parks has $25,000 of that total, for a small bobcat. The general for the fish and wildlife branch is approximately $49,000 for a variety of items: outboard motors, generators and four snowmobiles. It is for many pieces of equipment for all branches of the department.
Departmental Equipment in the amount of $190,000 agreed to
On Trap Exchange
Trap Exchange in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Facility Construction - Faro
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us with designating this a regional office, does that mean we are going to need more staff there in the next year or so, than what we have now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, we have one conservation officer there that is a new position that was brought in this fiscal year to cover the Faro - Ross River area.
Facility Construction - Faro in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $275,000 agreed to
Administration in the amount of $1,444,000 agreed to
On Policy and Planning
On Operation & Maintenance
Mr. Lang: I think the Minister could just update us with what he expects to see happening in these areas. I can stand up and keep him on his feet. I just want to know what is going on in these areas.
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is a no percentage change in this particular line for the director, policy planning. Of all the items under the O&M program, environmental protection, you will note, has a 19 percent increase from $513,000 to $612,000 and that is, as the Member can see, the only area where there are some new initiatives planned.
In the 1991-92 fiscal year, there will be $70,000 for communications. In addition, $40,000 will be for a communications consultant for Yukon First Nations with respect to the discussion draft of the Yukon environment act. There will be $140,000 set aside for environmental campaigns. In communications, there will be $30,000 for an environmental policy consultant, who will primarily be concerned with developing the legislation into its final form.
The last bit of that money, the $50,000, is for final legislation on media communication and education.
Mr. Lang: You must think the people in the territory are awfully stupid, because you are spending a lot of money educating through communications. I have never seen such an amount of money dedicated strictly for communications for one particular item. In deference to the general public, I have to say they should be given a little more credit for intelligence. They know there are some problems out there. If we deal with them satisfactorily, they are going to assume we are doing our job. I do not think all this money being allocated to see Mr. Websters face in every post office box is a wise expenditure, except that his relations may think so.
It is a lot of money to be taking forward, when we are cutting back in other areas of government. I realize the political agenda and the priority, but I question what we are getting out of this, when it is all finished and done with.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Being the only jurisdiction in the country without an environmental protection act, and with it being so all-encompassing as is proposed in this particular piece of legislation, it is a lot of material at one time for the Yukon to become educated in and well-versed on.
In addition to that, some of this money will be used to encourage people to participate in this process of looking at the discussion on the draft and coming up with some final legislation to be introduced in this House.
Director in the amount of $204,000 agreed to
Programs in the amount of $481,000 agreed to
On Strategic Planning
Strategic Planning in the amount of $73,000 agreed to
On Policy Analysis
Policy Analysis in the amount of $218,000 agreed to
On Environmental Protection
Mr. Lang: I wonder if the Minister could give me a written explanation of the change from $513,000 this past year to the $612,000 proposed to be spent.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, considering that these expenditures are over two fiscal years and there are a number of areas for the expenditures, I think it will make things easier if you understand where the money will be spent.
Environmental Protection in the amount of $612,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $1,588,000 agreed to
On Publications (Yukon Large Mammals)
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is for all the costs involved in printing and binding the outstanding items, I think it is 25, in the mammal series.
Publications (Yukon Large Mammals) in the amount of $90,000 agreed to
Policy and Planning in the amount of $1,678,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the following pages?
On Parks, Resources & Regional Planning
On Operation and Maintenance
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, regarding the five programs under Operation & Maintenance, there are no major changes in any of these areas. If there are any particular details the Member wants on any one of them, I would be pleased to provide them.
Director in the amount of $173,000 agreed to
On Parks & Outdoor Recreation
Mr. Lang: Is this the section of the budget where the Minister has his environmental classes the government sponsored during the course of the summer?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is referring to the conservation camp offered by the department, and that is found in policy and planning.
Mr. Lang: I hope the Minister is going to be supporting the program put on by the Fish and Game Association. One of my children had the opportunity to attend this camp this past year, and it was excellent. I felt it had a very balanced approach to the environment and to wildlife, between the responsibilities an individual toward the conservation of wildlife, as well as in harvesting wildlife.
I am voicing my concern with respect to the program the Minister has put on. I do not think that balance is necessarily there. It is more toward conservation. I do not think that is the real world we live in.
Is the Minister prepared to support the Yukon Fish and Game Association, if they decide they want to put that program on again, with money from the community development fund?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The money to support the program provided by the Fish and Game Association comes from the demonstration projects fund. That fund has supported that program for two years, and I see no reason why that should not continue. It is a very beneficial program.
I would point out that the goals of both camps - the one operated by the Fish and Game Association, and the one operated by the department - are different. Their agendas and goals are different, but both have value.
Mr. Devries: In regard to the Watson Lake campground, which would be under parks and recreation, several times last year I phoned the director. The road to the campground was in a horrible condition. All through the month of July and into the middle of August, there was one big hole about a foot deep. One camper attempted to miss it and rolled over in the ditch. It was washboard all the way down. The condition of the road was an embarrassment to many of the local people.
There seemed to be some jurisdictional problems as to who was supposed to maintain it. Some people said it was the Minister of Community and Transportation Services; others said it was the Town of Watson Lake. They finally got that ironed out, and the road did get graded, but this went on much too long. It is important that, this year, this matter be resolved before the campground opens, so that it does not happen again.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I thank the Member for that information. It is unusual for that condition to exist for long. We get complaints from the tourists, as well as from the people who maintain the campgrounds and collect fees. I am surprised to hear this. We do have an arrangement with Community and Transportation Services to grade the roads as soon as the problem is brought to their attention.
Mr. Devries: The person who maintains the campground and collects the fees put in many complaints about the condition of the road. Nothing seemed to happen. It was not until I approached Mr. Klassen personally that we finally got something done.
Parks & Outdoor Recreation in the amount of $378,000 agreed to
On Regional Planning
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us where he expects this money to be spent, in what areas?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not have that information right now. There are three areas where they plan to do regional planning. I will see if I can get this in the next few minutes.
Regional Planning stood over
On Development & Operations
Mr. Lang: Perhaps we could have an explanation on the development and operations of the department.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Development & Operations had $630,000 approximately for the personnel costs, and $386,000 for park and campground site development maintenance in all three regions. This involves support costs, repairs and maintenance costs to equipment and boat launches in all the campgrounds of the territory. As I say, they move through campgrounds in all three regions. There is nothing specific to any one campground; however, repairs are done on a priority basis when they are brought to our attention. If there are, for example, ramps that are damaged, we will put in our schedule for a high priority.
Mr. Lang: I want to ask the Minister if there are any considerations being made for decentralizing personnel. If so, what are they and do they have any documents or proposals on the decentralization of any area within the department?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes. Under this particular unit, it is proposed that we decentralize campground supervisor positions to the western and northern region about two years from now. Someone would be living, for example, in either Watson Lake or Teslin and serving the southern region from those communities. That is similar for the northern region, where someone will be located in, say, Faro, Mayo or Dawson.
Mr. Lang: What about the rest of the department? Are there any plans for decentralization for anywhere else?
Hon. Mr. Webster: There are some plans in the three-year program for decentralization in the Department of Renewable Resources, but they are not extensive.
The two I just cited are for year 3. In this particular fiscal year coming up, 1991-92, we will only move one and that is the caribou biologist.
The Member must appreciate that, to a large degree, Renewable Resources is one department that is largely decentralized already.
Development & Operations in the amount of $1,019,000 agreed to
On Yukon Land Use Planning
Hon. Mr. Webster: This money will be spent in completing the land use planning exercise in the Kluane area as well as work on the North Slope.
Mr. Brewster: At some point, I would like the Minister to give me a complete breakdown of what the Kluane land management plan consists of. I have heard figures anywhere up to $3 million or $4 million. We would like to know.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can provide that information to the Member. I think the costs at this time are in excess of $2 million. I do not know if it will approach $3 million, but it is certainly over $2 million already.
Yukon Land Use Planning in the amount of $512,000 agreed to
Chair: We have to go back and clear Regional Planning
On Regional Planning - continued
Hon. Mr. Webster: When the Member asked the question, I was looking for some specific regions of the territory that would be considered for planning. The $383,000 breaks down into four units for this program. Administration is for the chief of regional planning and support expenses for the operations. There is $181,000 for resource planning: this is for salary costs for three permanent staff and casual technical assistance and support costs, largely travel, professional services and air charter within the territory. All these expenses are in order to ensure an integrated planning approach to resource development. There is an additional $80,000 for resource inventory: the costs for two permanent staff members, a resource inventory coordinator and a soil specialist, to develop and maintain a sound resource and land use inventory. The final amount of money budgeted in this area is $35,000 for GIS.
Mr. Lang: I just want to know: what areas are we regionally planning? I mean, it is nice to have the staff and point out how much they are getting paid, but what are we doing?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We do not have details here of any specific areas of the territory where this work will be undertaken. I will check again on that.
Mr. Lang: I will clear it. I am a little surprised we do not have the information. It seems to be a logical question to ask. I would have thought the Minister would have asked it before he brought the budget in. If the Minister could take the undertaking that he will correspond with me if we happen to be out of the House, after the budget passes, then I would like to know what we are planning.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will undertake to do that.
Regional Planning in the amount of $383,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $2,465,000 agreed to
On Territorial Parks
On Coal River Springs
Coal River Springs in the amount of $6,000 agreed to
On Kusawa Lake Management Plan
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister give us a quick update on what he intends to do here? How big an area are we looking at?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I do not know how large an area we are looking at. There is one campground, and I have only been to it once. It seemed to me it could incorporate a large area, considering the long road in there along the river and by the side of the lake.
This expenditure would involve completing a park management plan, which would involve a lot of consultation with the public to see how extensive a park they would want for that area.
Kusawa Lake Management Plan in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
On Carcross Dunes Management Plan
Mr. Phelps: I have a few things to say about this. This came out of the blue as a great surprise to most, if not everyone, in Carcross. It must be somebodys agenda within the department who wants to move toward a management plan or park on the Carcross dunes.
As the Minister knows, we had a public meeting in Carcross this month, at which the Minister was present and chaired. The strong feeling in the community is that it needs a firm commitment of funds to do something about replacing the SS Tutshi and visitor reception centre.
Of course there has not been a firm commitment of money in that regard. The feeling of people in Carcross, with both this proposed expenditure and with the proposed expenditure of $183,000 on the Conrad campsite that is coming up soon, is the money should not be spent on this but should be moved to the Tourism budget and earmarked specifically for expenditure in the coming fiscal year in Carcross on a replacement for the SS Tutshi facility and attraction.
So I have two motions. I will deal with this one first.
Mr. Phelps: I move
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, be amended in vote 14, Renewable Resources, by reducing the line item, Carcross dunes management plan, on page 350, by $35,000, and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be changed accordingly.
I will just table that.
Chair: It has been moved by Willard Phelps, Leader of the Official Opposition
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, be amended in vote 14, Renewable Resources, by reducing the line item, Carcross dunes management plan, on page 350, by $35,000, and
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be changed accordingly.
Mr. Phelps: I, by way of introduction, indicated why we feel this money should be removed. I would like to add to the concern that money be spent and the firm commitment be given to replacing the SS Tutshi as an attraction and visitor centre.
It was felt, as well, that there may be some mischievous reasons for this item suddenly coming up in the budget. This area, of course, is the area that is being looked at by the Department of Community and Transportation Services regarding a possible location for a sewage lagoon. Also it is an area where a considerable amount of work has been done in planning a homestead lot subdivision. There is a feeling that this management plan and any movement on it may simply put those two very important priorities of the community in limbo. Once again, we have the conflicting demand for the same real estate.
That, in addition to the reasons I have given, is why I am putting this motion forward. I am sure it will find a lot of favour with my friends on the side opposite. I urge them to join me in supporting this motion.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The idea of creating a recreational park at the Carcross Dunes has not come out of the blue. It has been talked about for as long as I have been here, which is 10 years, and it was discussed by the Minister at the time in 1982. I am quite surprised to learn from the Member that is has been looked upon very favourably as a sewage lagoon. I would have to disagree with the Member. The desert has significant value, and should be designated as an ecological reserve, and that is what we intend to do by budgeting $35,000. It is to start the process and plan for an ecological reserve/recreational park.
We feel the opportunities it presents for recreation will draw people to Carcross and assist the area in an economic way by providing that as an attraction. The same can be said for the campground/historic mining park at Conrad. It is unfortunate the Member was not here on Thursday, when I answered some questions.
At that time, I said the reason for budgeting some money for a campground at Conrad was to create an attraction and fully interpret the remnants of the mining activity that was there, as well as to provide a campground for tourists. Many tourists coming to Carcross from Skagway now have no place to camp overnight in that area. The Opposition has noted that on a number of occasions and has raised the matter of needing a campground in that area.
That would be another attraction. With these two attractions combined, it would provide some long term economic stability for the tourism industry in Carcross and the Southern Lakes area.
I think that depends a lot on a diversity of natural, historical and recreational attractions and that is the intention for my budgeting for these two items from the parks branch of the Department of Renewable Resources. The Member raises in his motion the need to allocate that money for planning for a visitor reception centre for the community of Carcross. The Member for Porter Creek East says, Let us not plan something, let us build it. I think the people of Carcross would very much like to plan something before they build it, and have some input into exactly what they build. I certainly did hear some very interesting ideas a couple of weeks ago on that matter when I attended a public meeting in Carcross.
Getting back to what I was stating, I think the Leader of the Official Opposition is quite right. There is no disagreement there. A visitor reception centre is needed in Carcross. We have to plan properly for it. We have to budget for the planning and eventual construction, and, of course, that would be done through the Department of Tourism.
Mr. Phelps: I would be very pleased if we are being told that there will be $35,000 plus $183,000 - which is another motion that I will not speak to because I will be putting that in at an appropriate time - for a total of $218,000 to get on with the job with planning and building, or at least starting to build, something in Carcross this year. If that is what the Minister is really saying and that is why he does not want to go along with this most reasonable motion, I will understand. I just wanted to say very quickly that, in 1982, Renewable Resources planned a territorial park in the Carcross area beyond the dunes, over by the Watson River. The plan was quite generous in scope. The town was so outraged with it, the Minister beat a hasty retreat, in accordance with the wishes of those who live here. I am rather curious about the Carcross dunes management plan. The Minister seems to feel it should go ahead despite the fact the people in town do not want it. Is that the position that is being taken - that the people of Carcross should not have the final say in whether or not something like this goes ahead?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would like to comment on the experience of 1982 in the community of Carcross with respect to putting this park in place. It is a fine example of what a lack of planning can do.
This $35,000 budgeted for the Carcross dunes is for planning. It is to put a proper plan in place with the input of all the local residents.
I was not all that convinced, when I attended that meeting in Carcross two weeks ago, that the people were not in favour of developing a recreational park and ecological reserve for Carcross students.
Chair: Question has been called. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Some Hon. Member : Disagree.
Chair: I think the nays have it.
Carcross Dunes Management Plan in the amount of $35,000 agreed to
On Lazulite Deposits.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us what it is for?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is to do a study for the people of Old Crow to determine management methods of the lazulite deposits that are exclusively found in northern Yukon and to protect the area.
Lazulite Deposits in the amount of $3,000 agreed to
On Territorial Campgrounds and Day Use Areas
Mr. Phelps: Could the Minister indicate the appropriate line item where we could put forward a motion with regard to the Conrad campsite? I am sure he would not want to miss an opportunity to vote with us in removing that bit of money from the budget.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It would be listed under the relocation line item, which has $214,000 budgeted in it. That will be the next program.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us what we are spending the $331,000 on?
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is planning and redesign for 11 campgrounds and recreation sites. Some of the major ones are Lake Creek, $105,000; Congdon Creek, $49,000; and Klondike River, $113,000.
Rehabilitation in the amount of $331,000 agreed to
Mr. Phelps: I have another motion to put forward as follows:
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act 1991-92, be amended in vote 14, Renewable Resources, by reducing the line item Relocation, on page 351, by $183,000 and;
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be changed accordingly.
Chair: It has been moved by the Hon. Mr. Phelps, the Leader of the Official Opposition
THAT the estimates pertaining to Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act 1991-92, be amended in vote 14, Renewable Resources, by reducing the line item Relocation, on page 351, by $183,000 and;
THAT the clauses and schedules of the bill be changed accordingly.
Mr. Phelps: Again, it is the strong feeling of most of the residents of Carcross that this ought not to be considered a priority. Money ought to first be directed to replacing the SS Tutshi and the visitors reception centre in Carcross so that we are sure to have a facility and a major attraction in place in a timely fashion. There is a concern that this particular development will actually deter from, rather than enhance, tourist traffic in the community itself. This has been spoken to. Of course, it was raised at the meeting we had in Carcross, and I understand it is a concern of the ad hoc committee that has been set up to look at doing something about the SS Tutshi. More important, there is a feeling that not just planning, but some building or construction, should be done this year. People would much rather see this money spent in Carcross than at Conrad at this time. The Minister, in speaking to the issue, said there were no camping facilities in Carcross. We do have a small campground near the airport.
We were told at the meeting by the lady who maintains the campground that it is reasonably heavily used. As well, we have a brand new private RV park located at Montana Manor, right at the entrance to the village. That is a business that only started up barely in time for last years tourist season, and it is doing quite well.
Pure and simple, there is a great deal of concern that Carcross will suffer a reduction in tourists, particularly RV and tourists and campers, if there is an attractive place developed 12 or 13 miles down the road, at a time when the community is suffering the shock and loss of what unquestionably was the major attraction for the community.
I am putting this forward in a humble way, knowing the side opposite will see the logic of what we are doing and, in the interests of furthering the tourism sector and businesses of Carcross, and in complying with the very strongly indicated wishes of the grassroots people who live there, they will have no hesitation in supporting this modest motion.
Chair: The time now being 5:30 p.m., we will recess until 7:30 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Webster: It is my duty to say a few words in rebuttal here. I want to take just a few minutes to address some of the issues raised by the Member for Hootalinqua with respect to the campground for Conrad. Again, I want to stress strongly that it is more than a campground. It is going to be an attraction in itself as we interpret the remnants of the mining activity that have been left there.
As mentioned earlier, there has been a need expressed for a campground between Carcross and British Columbia. This is the most likely location for bringing on a campground in conjunction with a historic attraction. This is an attraction that is well needed in the Carcross Southern Lakes area, and being so close to Carcross, I think you will see Carcross as more and more of a focal point for people to branch out from to enjoy these activities.
I also want to emphasize that $183,000 is for new construction. It is not a matter of only planning taking place this year. There will also be money set aside out of the $31,000 we just discussed for the Conrad campground. The bulk of it, the $183,000, will actually go into building this year.
Mr. Lang: I just want to make a point here. A number of people put money in with the idea of providing RV parking in and around Carcross, contrary to what the Minister said earlier today and in debate Thursday. I can tell you this, if I were one of those people who had invested in the community of Carcross for the purpose of providing RV parking, and I found out the government was going to put an RV park 12 miles away from town, I would not be very happy. The Minister is going to find there is going to be a pretty negative response to what he is attempting to do. He should seriously look at the compromise I presented to him Thursday as far as this type of construction is concerned.
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is a great deal of confusion here for some unknown reason. This is not an RV park that we are building at Conrad; it is a campground with no services. There will be picnic tables and firepits. There will be a pump for water. This is not an RV park. It is a campground slash mining - campground/mining - historic park.
Mr. Lang: Just a point for the record, slash. How many RVs do you see in a territorial campground when you go by in an evening? You see lots of them. So, I want to make my point, slash.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Another point that should be made that the Member has completely forgotten is that you do not see a lot of tenters parked in an RV camp park.
Chair: Question has been called on the amendment.
Relocation in the amount of $214,000 agreed to
On Facility Replacement
Hon. Mr. Webster: Basically this is for renewal and/or replacement at all campgrounds throughout the territory.
Facility Replacement in the amount of $131,000 agreed to
On Facility Inventory
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is an eight percent increase over last years construction inventory items to support the summer projects and allow facility replacement in a planned and efficient manner.
Facility Inventory in the amount of $54,000 agreed to
On Liability Reduction
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are removing dead and dangerous trees and other natural hazards around campgrounds so they do not pose a threat to the campers so we are not liable if an accident does occur.
Liability Reduction in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Mobile Interpretive Service
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is a new project we have just budgeted one dollar for. We wanted to have an interpretive education service to have at some of the campgrounds.
Mobile Interpretive Service in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
On Heritage Rivers
On Yukon River (30 mile section)
Yukon River (30 mile section) in the amount of $5,000 agreed to
On Outdoor Recreation Sites & Corridors
On Systems Plan Implementation
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is $100,000 to implement at least two sites along the Alaska Highway between Teslin and Beaver Creek, in preparation of the 1992 celebrations and to do the planning and design of the sites. At this time, we have not selected the two sites.
Mr. Lang: What are the sites for?
Hon. Mr. Webster: They are to go along with the outdoor recreation sites and corridor plan, which is to pick some areas along the Alaska Highway for interpretation and pull-off areas to encourage people to explore the area and learn more about the area they are in.
Mr. Lang: I want the Ministers assurance that this is not going to be a no-hunting area, or anything like that. Is it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No. These are recreational pull-over areas.
Systems Plan Implementation in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $989,000 agreed to
Parks, Resources & Regional Planning in the amount of $3,454,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on the following pages?
On Fish & Wildlife
On Operation & Maintenance
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is an increase in this program of $15,000. It is a grant to an institute of wildlife resources in Alberta. All of the provinces and territories have contributed some money for establishing a wildlife research institute in Alberta.
Mr. Lang: Can the Minister tell us when we can expect a new deputy minister to be appointed to this department?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I can assure the Member that the advertising and the search for this position will take place early in the new year.
Director in the amount of $159,000 agreed to
On Small Game Management
Mr. Nordling: I do not know if this is the right line to be asking this under, but I warned the Minister earlier that when we got to Renewable Resources I wanted to ask a little bit about traplines and the trapline policy. What I would like to know from the Minister is whether the policy respecting traplines is under review, will be reviewed and if it will be, when will it be reviewed? Is there anybody working on it or is the Minister completely satisfied with the policy the way it is now?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am satisfied with the policy that is in force presently. It has been in force for quite awhile. It deals with the interests. I have yet to hear more concerns, other than those expressed by the three individuals. No concerns have come from CYI, the First Nations, the Wildlife Management Board, the Yukon Trappers Association or any of the local fur councils. I am not contemplating a review of the policy at this time unless I hear from more concerned individuals.
Mr. Nordling: The other question I have for the Minister is what role the Yukon Trappers Association plays in the policy of the government in the decision making on traplines.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Is that with respect to the allocation of traplines?
Mr. Nordling: Anything to do with traplines.
Hon. Mr. Webster: In the allocation of traplines, that is a responsibility of the First Nations for aboriginal persons. The Yukon Trappers Association provides no advice in that process. The only role they have in a trapping program, in addition to trapping education, is distribution of traps in the trap exchange program. They have been partially successful in getting some of the contract for that this year.
Mr. Nordling: What I wanted to know more specifically is, does the Yukon Trappers Association advise the department in any way with respect to the use of traplines? I raise this question because we discussed traplines earlier and at one point it was said there were 30 traplines that were reviewed and 22 of them were not reviewed. The Minister did an interview on CBC. I did not hear it myself, but was told that in that interview the Minister either said or seemed to imply that the Yukon Trappers Association had advised that one particular trapline not be renewed. That is why I am asking their role in this whole process.
Hon. Mr. Webster: As a result of records compiled by the branch over the last number of years it was recommended to the Trappers Concession and Compensation Review Board to review the use of 30 of those concessions to see if they should be renewed. Although it was reported that the Yukon Trappers Association had some say in the decisions on the 30 that were reviewed - 22 not being renewed of the 30 reviewed - that was incorrect. Actually, the recommendations are made by the Trappers Concession and Compensation Review Board. The Yukon Trappers Association has no role in the decisions whatsoever.
Mr. Nordling: With respect to my client, who is trying to get before the review board, I see in the Yukon Gazette there has been a new member, Georgina Sidney, appointed to the review board. Does the Minister have any idea now as to when my constituent would get a hearing before the board?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is quite correct. Now we have an alternate member appointed to that board who is in a position to hear that particular case it can proceed at any time.
Small Game Management in the amount of $477,000 agreed to
On Big Game Management
Big Game Management in the amount of $1,034,000 agreed to
On Habitat & Research
Habitat & Research in the amount of $586,000 agreed to
On Field Services
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister give us the reason for the significant increase?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The increase of $108,000 is an addition to the fur harvest program, which is 13-percent increase in the administration. There is also a $37,000 increase to the fur harvest program. Those are the two increases there, resulting in a 17-percent increase overall.
Mr. Lang: Is there money included in this budget for the purpose of instituting a game management program, including predator control in game zones 7, 9 and 5?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, the activity description for this program is to provide field ...
Some Hon. Member: Anywhere in the budget?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Not in this particular line item, but for those kinds of programs, it would be under big game management. That is $1,034,000.
Mr. Lang: I am just asking if there is money anywhere for the purpose of implementing a predator control program in the areas that I just outlined.
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, there is no money specifically identified for that purpose.
Mr. Lang: So my question to the Minister is: is it his intention to have new money for such a program if it is the recommendation of the game management board, or is he going to find it within the budget?
Hon. Mr. Webster: They may have to make some adjustments within our budget, our present budget for that program.
Field Services in the amount of $1,568,000 agreed to
On Fisheries Management
Mr. Phillips: I would like to know if the government has reached an agreement with the federal government with respect to the operation of the Whitehorse Fish Hatchery for next year and ongoing years. The fish hatchery was operating on an EDA grant, and the last word we heard from the government is that they were looking at a long-term solution to operating the hatchery. I am just wondering if we have reached some agreement with the federal government on that program.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We have reached an understanding with the federal government that we would be provided with a very clear understanding that the power dam there and the requirement for the fish ladder was necessary as a mitigative project at the dam. With that understanding, with that clearly established by the federal government, then we would have other avenues through which to get funding, specifically the Yukon Energy Corporation.
Mr. Phillips: Has the Minister of Fisheries declared it a mitigative hatchery? I know that was a request that was asked of him, to declare the hatchery a mitigative hatchery and that would allow funding to flow through Yukon Energy Corporation.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, he has. I met with him personally in Ottawa in late August and that is when we came to an understanding that that would be done; however, I am still looking for the declaration that is required.
Mr. Phillips: Do we have a commitment from the Minister of Fisheries as well, for a contribution of up to $20,000 to assist annually for marking and the assessment of salmon production? I know that was talked about. I received a letter just the other day in which the Minister also suggests that if the Yukon Territorial Government confirms its responsibility, that they will kick in $20,000 for that particular part of the management.
Hon. Mr. Webster: That was another matter that was discussed at our meeting, in light of the cutbacks from the federal government to the programs on the Yukon River system and the Porcupine River. There was no understanding reached on the particular point of continued federal contributions.
Mr. Phillips: The letter I just received from the Minister indicates that if YTG is prepared to accept its responsibility for the hatchery they would be prepared to kick in $20,000 for the marking. That is the way I read the letter. If the Minister wants to have a look at it, I would be more than pleased to let him do that.
Since they are considering operating the hatchery on an ongoing basis, do we plan to improve the hatchery facilities? In the last year or two, they have had to remove the salmon stock from the actual holding pens at the ladder for two reasons: one because of security, and the other because of the warm water temperatures killing the salmon. They have moved them down to the hatchery and put them in the cab troughs. That has been inadequate and rather a makeshift method.
Last year, there was a lot of talk about providing circular pens, such as they have at Polar Seas, and utilizing those pens for other species at other times of the year; for example, raising rainbow trout fry and others. The Department of Fisheries was interested in that. Has that gone any further? Is there any money in this budget to purchase those holding tanks? Will that be in place by this July, so we can contain the salmon in controlled water temperatures in the security of the hatchery compound?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not aware of the status of the improvements that are required for the hatchery, or if we propose to do some work this year. I will have to get back to the Member with that information.
Mr. Phillips: I have another comment on that particular issue. We have another line item a little further down: wildlife viewing infrastructure. I would suggest to the Minister that that should be expanded to be fish and wildlife viewing. Last year, we saw the enormous potential that something like the fish ladder can do for the tourism industry, as well as informing the general public about the value of the resource. For the first two and one-half months last year, there were only freshwater fish in that particular facility. There are lots of opportunities for us to make the hatchery a viewing facility during the summer months for tourists, and during the winter months for school children and residents of the territory, who could utilize the hatchery, see various displays there, and go through it.
If the Minister ever has an opportunity to go to Juneau, I would highly recommend that he go to the new hatchery there and see the fantastic displays they have put together there. It is attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists, as well as thousands of Juneau residents, who are learning a great deal about the resource. It would be a valuable opportunity to establish some kind of display in the hatchery facility and make it a Whitehorse fish research station, or something of that nature, where we could actually show a few things to the people of the Yukon about what is happening with our freshwater fish resource.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to thank the Member for his suggestion. Clearly, the success of the viewing opportunities at the fish ladder this summer showed a much increased interest in wildlife viewing opportunities and fish viewing opportunities. I think that could certainly be incorporated in the wildlife viewing program.
Mr. Lang: Could the Minister tell us why there is such a substantial decrease between the forecast and the amount of money that we are voting this year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: There has been a decreased use of casuals in this program and also the 1990-91 forecast had a supplementary of $94,000, which is part of the first payment from the federal government that was required for the special fish populations studies.
Mr. Phillips: Just before we leave that, I would like to explore the subject of Aishihik Lake with the Minister. The water levels of Aishihik Lake have been fluctuating quite dramatically in the last few years as a result of the Aishihik power project. There is a strong concern by some individuals that a critical area in the lake is being dramatically affected by the water levels rising and lowering and that it is harming the prime habitat of the freshwater fish - lake trout, primarily - in that lake. I just wonder if the Yukon fisheries branch is doing anything about that, if they are monitoring it during the winter months and doing various tests. Have they put radios on some of these fish, as they have done in some of the other lakes, to determine where they spawn? Have they seen how that is affected by the water fluctuations? If that is making any difference there, I would suggest that that type of work should be done sooner, rather than later, because I know that there are some very dramatic fluctuations happening in that lake, and we are approaching historical low level marks of that lake. It could be affecting the species that are in the lake. It is something that we will not pay for immediately, but we will certainly pay for it in years to come, if we do not make sure that we protect that area of the lake.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not aware of my department doing any monitoring of the lake levels, but I am aware that this particular lake has been the subject of a lot of controversy lately and the possible damaging effects it may have on the fish populations. I would not be surprised - although I do not know for certain - if this lake will be cited this year for the inventory of fish species.
As you know, we concentrated this year on the larger lakes in the Yukon for the commercial fishery establishments.
I will bring that to the attention of the fishery unit, and if they are not planning to do any studies in this lake, I will see that they do.
Mr. Lang: I am not clear on what the Minister just said. Is he making a commitment that there will be some study done on this lake to ensure that the concerns raised by my colleague, and I will be looked at to see if there is any truth to the matter?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As I say, this lake is the subject of a lot of controversy. I think it is a very important lake. I know it is to be studied at some time. If it is not to be studied this year, I will ask the department to make it a major priority so that it is.
Fisheries Management in the amount of $396,000 agreed to
On Wildlife Habitat Canada
Hon. Mr. Webster: There is a substantial increase in this program. The almost $8,000 increase is due to increased funding by Wildlife Habitat Canada, the amount of which is fully recoverable.
It is broken down into a number of projects. In addition to an inventory of a key wildlife areas, we will also continue with the Faro sheep project and are still involved in work that is being done in the Liard Valley with respect to the moose habitat.
Wildlife Habitat Canada in the amount of $262,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $4,482,000 agreed to
On Big Game Management Plan
Hon. Mr. Webster: The $225,000 will allow us to proceed with the big game management plan in three areas: Ross River, Teslin and Pelly Crossing. The only plan we have completed to date is the Porcupine Caribou Management Plan. These three plans will follow the same kind of process that that one went through.
Big Game Management in the amount of $225,000 agreed to
On Wildlife Viewing Infrastructure
Hon. Mr. Webster: This is the first year of a two year project. We propose $132,000 in each year. This allows us to develop the infrastructure for a viable fish and wildlife community program. We are in the process of identifying sites we want to develop this year. We do not yet have that information.
Wildlife Viewing Infrastructure in the amount of $131,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $356,000 agreed to
Fish & Wildlife in the amount of $4,838,000 agreed to
On Operation & Maintenance
Director in the amount of 182,000 agreed to
On Program Services
Program Services in the amount of $89,000 agreed to
On Demonstration & Research
Demonstration & Research in the amount of $82,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $353,000 agreed to
Mr. Lang: As you know we have discussed agriculture off and on during this session so I do not have any questions on the operation and maintenance side.
Can the Minister update us on the situation with the abbatoir? If a decision is made to go ahead with it where is the money going to come from?
Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member knows from recent news reports, the Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association has identified a site. It has made application for the land, which will require a public hearing. The site is mile 6 on the Mayo Road. Assuming there are no problems with that process, the second study will provide all the information necessary to proceed with construction. Monies will be available from the business development fund for this purpose as well as the new economic development agreement, we anticipate, for Renewable Resources. The Yukon Livestock and Agricultural Association membership has also committed itself to provide some of the labour itself. If any additional money is required to complete the abbatoir, that will come from the department.
Abbatoir/Slaughterhouse in the amount of $1.00 agreed to
Agriculture in the amount of $353,000 agreed to
Mr. Lang: I would just like to ask some questions on the forage productivity study. Is that study completed and if it is could I get a copy of it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That report will be complete in March, 1991. I will make a copy available to the Member.
On Land Claims
On Operation & Maintenance
On Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA)
Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) in the amount of $950,000 agreed to
On Yukon Indian Comprehensive Claim
Yukon Indian Comprehensive Claim in the amount of $1,344,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $2,294,000 agreed to
On IFA - Herschel Island Territory Park
IFA - Herschel Island Territory Park in the amount of $260,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $260,000 agreed to
Land Claims in the amount of $2,554,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on the following pages?
Mr. Phelps: I do not see, under the recoveries, any indication of recovery for any part of the $1,344,000 for the Yukon Indian comprehensive claim. I am just wondering if any of that money will be earmarked as recoverable in due course.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We do not have anything identified as recoveries under the $1,344,000 because we have not completed negotiations with the federal government yet as to just what we would be able to claim. However, there are some funds in this total, in fact the bulk of the funds, that are not recoverable. They include, for example, $250,000 set aside for the special wildlife fund and also the $500,000 for the outfitters compensation fund.
The final item I mentioned, that $500,000, is half of the total of $1,000,000, set aside in the fund, being equal contributors to that compensation fund.
Mr. Phelps: I do not want to prolong the session on this item any more than necessary, but we had some discussion earlier with regard to the report on any Other Matter from the Auditor General and the discussion with tourism with regard to identifying the implementation costs that would be recoverable, because, as I recall from that document, monies in excess of $6.75 million in implementation costs would be recoverable. I am just wondering what this department is doing about identifying those implementation costs along the way to ensure that we get a retrieval of the monies globally that are in excess of $6.75 million.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Other than the items I just mentioned that are not recoverable, there will be about $250,000 remaining. The Department of Renewable Resources is doing its own accounting as to the costs that are being charged directly to the department, which are considerable when you consider that a number of the outstanding items are dealing with fish and wildlife matters. We have, at this time, two people fully employed in those negotiations.
Mr. Phelps: Not by way of a question, but I will just make the assertion that it seems to me that Renewable Resources is going to be the department perhaps, that spends the most on implementation of land claims as far as this government is concerned.
Mr. Lang: I just want to go a little further on this $500,000 for outfitters compensation. The Minister said it was 50 percent and someone else is paying 50 percent. Who is that, and is this the total amount that is going to be made available for this type of compensation or are we looking at more money? How is it going to work?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I have just been advised that I may be wrong about that $1 million figure. It is my understanding that the Government of Yukon is contributing half of the $1 million funding, so I will have to check on that to make certain and get back to the Member as to the full amount of the fund and if there is shared responsibility.
Mr. Lang: Could he give a copy of any agreement that he has? I assume this agreement that the Minister is speaking of is with the Government of Canada. Then we could see exactly what the terms of the agreement are.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I will have to check with the Executive Council Office and the Land Claims Secretariat for that information, but I do not see a problem with that.
Mr. Lang: I would like to follow this up a little further. Has this been discussed with the Outfitters Association, and have they been made aware of the agreements that you have with Canada and how much money is involved?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, the outfitters have been made aware because we are still developing, in consultation with the Outfitters Association, a procedure for application, as well as some guidelines for compensation amounts.
Mr. Phillips: I have a couple of questions regarding the wildlife fund that is being set up under land claims. The Minister said that we make the $250,000 contribution this year. I have two questions. First of all, are the other parties making their contribution this year as well? The last question is: when can we access that money? I guess we are just going to draw on the interest of it, or something, for various wildlife programs, but when can we access that money? Are we going to wait until land claims are settled, or can we actually carry out some programs this year with the interest accrued from that money?
Hon. Mr. Webster: My understanding is that the idea is to make the contributions over a three- or four-year period, until we get the total amount, and then it is in the form of a trust fund and we just draw on the interest every year and use that.
Mr. Phillips: Are the other parties contributing this year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Yes, they are; they are making their contribution this year as well.
Mr. Phillips: Is the plan to use it immediately?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, the plan is not to use it immediately, from what I understand. As I say, we are only going to be using the interest from year to year. In other words, the total amount of funding will stay in there and we will just use the interest for annual projects.
Mr. Phillips: What if we do not sign an agreement this year? Will we still use the money this year or wait until the agreement is totally and completely in place before we can use any of the interest from that money?
Hon. Mr. Webster: We are putting the money in this year, which is the first year. We are not going to use any of the money until the fund builds up to the total amount. We will not touch that fund. We will just use the interest on a year-to-year basis. We will not be using it for at least another three years.
Chair: The land claims page has already been cleared.
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $12,351,000 agreed to
Capital in the amount of $1,970,000 agreed to
Renewable Resources agreed to
Department of Tourism
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am pleased to introduce the budget for the Department of Tourism. The operation and maintenance budget totals $4,420,000, which represents an 11 percent decrease from the 1990-91 revised estimates. This reduction is offset by an increase in the capital budget of 29 percent, which provides funding for initiatives and priorities identified in the throne speech and largely related to the 1992 anniversary.
I will briefly highlight the activities and initiatives proposed.
The large decrease of 33 percent in the administration part of the O&M program is due to $255,000 provided to the Yukon Anniversaries Commission in 1990-91. We anticipate that there will be alternative sources of funding for the commission in 1991-92.
The heritage O&M program shows very little change. However, the capital budget for this program has increased by 44 percent, or $476,000. This increase is primarily in the museums activity to assist museums to exhibit and develop facilities in preparation for the 1992 anniversary and implementation of the Yukon museums policy.
There is very little change proposed for the development O&M program activities. However, in the capital budget, there is a 62 percent increase of $147,000. The major increases are on two projects. The first is the wilderness resource assessment. This will continue to enhance contributions of our wilderness resources to our tourism industry through the development of a new wilderness adventure strategy. The second project is signs interpretation. This has been increased by $65,000 to prepare for the anniversary. Activities will include identifying the significant historical areas along the Alaska Highway with signs, milepost markers and, in some cases, interpretive panels.
The O&M marketing program has decreased by eight percent, or $269,000. The reductions include $82,000 in consumer literature, primarily because the maps to be printed in 1990-91 should include an adequate supply for 1991-92. There is $50,000 for a contribution to Tourism Industry Association for its convention promotion program. There is $123,000 in postage during 1990-91 and a recontact program for $66,000 will be undertaken. This is not planned to be done in 1991-92. There is a further reduction in the postage budget of $57,000. Should the inquiries in 1991-92 exceed the budget, options will have to be reviewed for funding sources or offsets.
In addition, there is $18,000 in additional supplies, print jobs and media familiarization tours.
The marketing capital budget has increased by $1,829,000 or 404 percent. This is largely for the new visitor reception centre that will be open in time for the 1992 anniversary. In addition, funds will be provided to update displays, video radio programming, laser discs, videos and vignettes.
The person years for operation and maintenance have not changed. Under capital there is a new term Beaufort archaeologist person year to be funded under the northern oil and gas action program. In addition, the operations officer person year has been converted from term to indeterminate. I would be pleased to answer any questions anybody may have about the budget for the department.
Mr. Phillips: I have a few questions in general debate and then we can move into line by line. I would like to start with the planned visitor reception centre. I understand that it is going to be in the neighbourhood of $1.8 million for the reception centre - $1.5 million? I guess the concern I am hearing from the business community is that the facility seems to be a little more than what a lot of people expected. There is some concern being shared by a lot of people that it will be the be-all and end-all, and a lot of tourists will stop there on their way through the Yukon to Alaska and will have an opportunity to see a fantastic slide show and a few other attractions at that facility and may not stop or go to any other places. That may be their visit to the Yukon.
They will stop at Watson Lake on their way up. They will stop at the visitor reception centre and because it is so grandiose, or elaborate, they may just continue on after they have seen that facility. I share some of those concerns, and wonder if the Minister is going to allow the businesses to view the centre and have some input before they go much further in their planning. In explaining exactly what the purpose of that facility is maybe they can set their fears aside, because I know now that there are many people concerned about the size of it and the glitter and glamour of the facility. I understand it is going to be a first-class facility. It may turn out a bit like the parks facility in Kluane where a lot of people just stop there and do not stop at the rest of the park. The parks statistics indicate that. Thousands of people pull in and see that facility, and yet only hundreds of people visit the park every year.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I just want to start off by stating the capital costs of this project. The building itself is expected to cost $1.5 million, with an additional $300,000 for exhibits, displays and equipment. So the Member is right, the total would be $1.8 million.
Certainly the intention is to give the visitors coming into Whitehorse not only an opportunity to relax and stretch their legs, but also to learn a great deal about the Yukon and to encourage them to extend their stay by exploring all parts of the Yukon. That is the intention of the Yukon visitors reception centre: to promote the entire territory. This is part of the reason why the Canadian Parks Service is also involved, to also promote everything from the Chilkoot Trail to the North Yukon park - besides Dawson City, incidentally.
We feel that through this building, the attractions, the programming, the exhibits and the films that is what it will do: convince people that the Yukon is a destination in itself and it is worthy of spending their whole holiday here. If they have not budgeted enough time, we hope they can make more time to get around. Of course, another large role of this visitor reception centre is to encourage people to go down the hill into Whitehorse where, by the time they have spent some time in the visitors reception centre, they will be aware of some of the attractions in downtown Whitehorse and aware of some of the services the businesses offer, and may spend extra time there as well.
Mr. Phillips: Well, $2 million is a lot of money for any building. Obviously it is going to be an attraction in itself. I think that is the concern they have and that is the concern I am passing on to the Minister. I do not think it would do any harm at all to allow more people than the select few he has let look at it now. I think that if he invited the people involved in the RV parks and the other various attractions in the territory to come and have a public night of viewing and discussion of the project he might get some valuable input of what should or should not be in that particular building. I would suggest it would probably be in the Ministers best interests to do it now rather than wait until people go on their first tour of it and are shocked to find that there is a lot more there than they initially expected or does not meet their expectations or those kinds of things. I thought I would suggest to the Minister that it might be an idea he might follow up on. The Minister was also asked by the Member for Porter Creek East about the involvement of the Yukon Transportation Museum in conjunction with the visitor reception centre.
The Minister indicated at that time that in fact there was very little involvement of the Transportation Museum and my information is that, in fact, they wrote the Minister a letter; they offered to be the visitor reception centre on an interim basis for awhile and in fact they offered to take a film off the Ministers hands and show it. So, the Minister said there was no one in the House, other than the Member for Porter Creek East, who has been interested in the Transportation Museum and the visitor reception centre working together, but the information I have is, in fact, that there have been many suggestions made to the Minister by the Transportation Museum, suggesting that they could work together, and maybe be connected in some way in that area. I think that the Minister should look at that and certainly, when they are building this new fancy facility beside the Transportation Museum they should be working closely with them so that one facility complements the other rather than dwarfs it or takes away from it. I think that is an important area that the Minister should be looking at.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I should remind the Member that the overtures made by the Yukon Transportation Museum were for this past summer only, just to help them get established for this first year. They made a suggestion, rather late, that perhaps the guides in the transportation museum could also serve as receptionists that we have in the visitor reception centre downtown. You may recall from that exchange of letters and the debate that at that time we had already made a commitment to have the visitor reception centre in the T.C. Richards building and continue with a long-standing agreement we have with the Chamber of Commerce to provide that service.
You are right, they did ask for some videos and films that we provided to them and they did show some films related to transportation in the Yukon throughout the summer at their facility. Nowhere have they ever suggested that they be physically joined. The only thing that we have discussed is the possibility, and we are doing this, of coordinating the transportation services so that we share a common system between the Transportation Museum and the new visitor reception centre.
Mr. Phillips: It might not be a bad idea. They are both tourism facilities. If one could complement the other, and they could be joined together, or be close in proximity, we might even save a few dollars. We are now looking at an extended care facility for seniors, and we have a rehabilitation centre hooked on to it because it is going to save a lot of money.
We have built some other facilities in the territory, where we have combined community centres with Yukon colleges, and those type of things to save money. We hear it all the time from the Member for Faro. He talks about the Ross River arena being everything in Ross River. Supposedly, that saves us a lot of money. If you had the two facilities within hundreds of yards of each other, perhaps it would be better to fit them together, so one heating plant heats both facilities, one janitorial staff could clean both facilities and perhaps the staff there could work in both facilities. It might save everybody a lot of money.
We are building a lot of big buildings in this territory, and operation and maintenance costs are starting to skyrocket. It is a suggestion that the Minister might want to consider. It seems odd to have two major attractions side by side, with one having very little to do with the other except for an access road connection. The government might want to look at somehow working together with the Transportation Museum to save some money on both projects.
I have a couple of comments on some other areas, one being that of tourism pull-offs on the highway. I mentioned this to the Minister responsible for highways, and I am now mentioning it to the Minister of Tourism. It was one of the comments made in the questionnaire we circulated this summer, that people felt that the more areas there were to get the RVs off the road and have an opportunity to view scenic spots along the Alaska Highway and Yukon roads, the more people would spend a few more hours in the Yukon, and it might possibly force them to spend one more night here - rather than three days, they would spend four here.
This would be an inexpensive operation. We do not have to put in a super highway or super pull-off. There are a lot of areas in the territory where, for very few dollars, we could create these types of pull-offs and viewing facilities, with a small pole fence in front of it, overlooking a nice scene where people could stop and take photographs. I would suggest to the Minister that that should be something he would consider.
At the same time, many of these people suggested that one might want to put washroom facilities in some of these pull-offs. People found that, although there were washroom facilities in the campgrounds, there were not that many along the road and some people who did not have all of the facilities within their RVs found it difficult to find these types of facilities, unless they pulled right into a campground or a town or city. So maybe those types of things could be incorporated into this kind of pull-offs.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The department in its planning, and you will see indication of it in this budget, is planning to expand the highway signs interpretive program. We are, with the assistance of the Department of Community and Transportation Services, conducting a survey right now of all the highway sites currently in use, as well as 14 proposed sites. The survey is for their use, potential development, expansion and improvement. They are also going to take a look at each site and assess the feasibility of putting in everything from garbage to dumping stations for each site.
Chair: Committee will have a break.
Chair: I will call the House to order.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to ask the Minister a question about the Yukon ambassador program. The other day we had a motion in the House that the Minister talked out. We never had an opportunity to find out what the government is going to do. I am just wondering if the government is going to proceed on that particular program or, because it was a suggestion from this side, is he going to decide it was not a good idea?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I want to make it clear that I did not talk out the motion for the purpose of talking. I had a speech; I had a lot to say. I do not get to speak here that often. I had some interesting tidbits in there. I dispute that idea very strongly.
Obviously the suggestion has merit. We may even be able to find some money for it next year; however, it is not in the budget we are presently debating.
Mr. Phillips: Another motion we passed in this House some time ago was an anti-litter motion. I wonder if the Minister has any plans to provide information or a program for the tourists who are coming up the highway with respect to littering in the territory.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We plan to do a lot more education for the benefit of the tourists about keeping our Yukon clean. The Member may notice the new format of the Yukon vacation guide for 1991 in which we made constant reference to the need to put garbage in marked locations, not to litter along the highways. Next year we are going to also identify dumping stations all along the highway.
Mr. Phillips: Well, I am pleased to see the government is going to be doing something in that area. I look forward throughout the summer to see what changes actually do take place.
I would like to turn now for a moment to the legislative return that we received today and that was the one on the conflict of interest with respect to the Destination Yukon contract. I just want to say that I was really surprised when I read this response from the Minister respecting this conflict of interest, because the whole introduction to the legislative return talks about a conflict of interest. It says that Destination Yukon was discussed by the Tourism Marketing Council with Mr. Lawson and everybody that Mr. Lawson was involved with. It is obvious, by reading the legislative return, that there is a perceived conflict of interest. It is so perceived that even Mr. Lawson was reluctant to make a proposal when he was asked to make a proposal because he was concerned about the conflict of interest. As well, the director of marketing for the Department of Tourism made a statement to the local press when he was asked about the conflict of interest and he said: Yes, we realized there was a conflict of interest. In fact, he said, It is better the devil you know, than the devil you do not. The director of marketing, who was involved with awarding the contract, felt there was a conflict of interest. Yet, right at the very bottom of the page, signed by the Government Leader, it says, No such conflict can be substantiated in this case.
I would suggest to you, and all Members opposite, that this whole legislative return makes one believe that there is a conflict of interest. They state in it that Flemings proposal - this is the proposal for the Destination Yukon - was received June 15 and was unacceptable. Fleming had been given substantial time to prepare its proposal.
Fleming has told us that it had four days to prepare its proposal for the most significant tourism program that the Government of Yukon has ever embarked upon. Now, if four days is ample time for such a proposal, I would think that they have not done their planning very well. I would suggest to you that when we are embarking on a program such as this, where we are going to spend $500,000 - or upwards of $1 million, counting the partners - that this should be well planned and should not be done sort of overnight.
The other response in the legislative return is that the department said it was running out of time and that is when the department asked Mr. Lawson for a proposal that his company prepared and submitted. I would like to know from the Minister if Lawson & Associates or Integrated Tourism Strategies had the opportunity to see or discuss the shortcomings of many of the other proposals. Or was he just asked basically the same thing the others were: prepare us a proposal for Destination Yukon? It would be interesting to know if he had any insight into what the other two proposals that were rejected contained.
Maybe I will let the Minister answer some of that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Thank you for the opportunity to respond. There are quite a few things to respond to there.
The statement of facts contained in the legislative return lay out the sequence of the events that suggests that Jim Lawson did not have exclusive knowledge of the contract. It was clearly made public in April to the Tourism Marketing Council, as well as to the TIA membership at its annual meeting.
Again, the fact that they went through a local company first, Fleming and Associates, but found that proposal was inadequate, and then another company outside, Global, and found that was inadequate, suggests that this contract was not established with the intent from the very beginning that it would be awarded to Jim Lawson, who, of course, had a small contract to advise the marketing council.
The comments made by the director of marketing about it being better to go with the devil you know than the devil you do not is basically a reference to the type of individual we wanted to have working for us on this particular contract. We had to have somebody who is knowledgeable about the Yukon, who has done some work in the Yukon and yet who has an extensive network of contacts outside in order to pull off, with success, a promotional tour of this magnitude.
Consequently, you are limited to very few choices. We went through Fleming first, but they were inadequate. The other firm in Vancouver was not quite acceptable. I would strongly doubt that Jim Lawson would have access to those proposals in putting together his own.
You get to the point of going with someone you know, who knows you and your product, and someone who has established contacts in six major Canadian and four American cities, who can do this in a very short period of time. That is the reason he was reluctant to take on this role in August. It was not because of a perceived conflict of interest. It was because there was a hell of a lot of work to do in a very short period of time to successfully launch a new marketing program.
He was one of the few people who could do it. He had the credentials and experience, and he did it to everyones satisfaction, certainly to the satisfaction of all the partners. The Yukon will benefit greatly from that marketing program.
Mr. Phillips: I did ask the Minister the question: were Lawson and his associates or Integrated Tourism Strategies privy to any of the information from the other bids? The other two bids were rejected. When they approached Mr. Lawson did they tell him why the other two bids were rejected? Did Mr. Lawson have any knowledge about what was or was not contained in the other bids?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I did answer that question. I found it unlikely that he would have that kind of knowledge when preparing his own proposal.
A task was set to coordinate a major tour of six Canadian cities and four American cities in a very short time - 20 or 21 days. There is a lot involved. A troupe of Yukon actors and actresses to help promote the Yukon is part of the package. There are meetings with travel agents in all the cities. There are hall rentals and sound system rentals. If someone is good at their job, they do not need to know the deficiencies of others whose bids were rejected.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister cannot be surprised that people are concerned about a conflict of interest here. As noted in the legislative return, we have the government saying that the earlier bidders on the project were given lots of notice on the bid to Tourism Yukon. That is their claim. Even though it was only four days, they claim they were given lots of notice of the bid. It is kind of interesting that, with only 24 hours notice, an individual who just happens to be part of the Tourism Marketing Council and who had some input into the design of the program, while others could not do it with lots of notice, managed to put together a program acceptable to the government overnight.
Now, it makes you wonder if he did not have his foot in the door - that he did not know what it was all about in the first place. I would like to know, as well, if the Minister can tell us if Lawson or the Tourism Marketing Council was involved in any way in evaluating any of the other bids?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, the Tourism Marketing Council was not involved in reading the bids. Mr. Lawson was not involved either because he had a contract with the Tourism Marketing Council to advise them.
Mr. Lang: Who made the decision on the first two bids, whether they were adequate or not?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The executive director of TIA and the director of marketing for Tourism Yukon.
Mr. Lang: Is the Minister in a position to assure this House today that neither one of those individuals contacted the Tourism Marketing Council in respect to any of those bids prior to them being rejected?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Well, it is my understanding that the Tourism Marketing Council was not involved at all in reviewing the quality of submissions. It was clearly a matter of the two partners - in this case the executive director of TIA and the director of marketing for Tourism Yukon.
Mrs. Firth: Mine is a different concern with respect to the conflict of interest. Surely, the Minister must be able to see this, and it is what I was trying to get at with the Government Leader the other day.
The Minister has to agree that, if an individual is hired by the government and is working in an advisory capacity to the government on a contract, and sits in an advisory capacity on one side of the table and, then, turns around and, on the other side of the table, sits as the contractor for a contract with the government to provide certain services - in this case, Destination Yukon - that there is a perceived conflict. That is the concern that is being raised with me by the business community, and it is the concern I raised in the Legislature. People are hired by this government to work in an advisory capacity on a contract, and the knowledge they have in their job gives them an advantage when it comes to doing other work with the government, so should they be allowed to do other work with the government, particularly when we are talking about the huge sums of money we have here? Perhaps that individual should be making a decision as to whether they are going to have a contract with the government to be an advisor, or whether they want to bid on potential tourism contracts that are coming forward.
In this case, this individual did both, and that is what the conflict-of-interest guidelines are there to govern and control, so people do not take advantage in any pecuniary way of information they have in their jobs with government. No one can honestly stand up and say this individual did not perhaps have access to information that other individuals, or businesses, who could have bid on this Destination Yukon proposal, did not. You could not logically explain that to the public.
The concern I have is that that is what the conflict is. We have a person actually doing one job for the government in a quasi-employee role and, on the other hand, contracting to provide a service to the government.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member has made this point time and time again, and I want to keep emphasizing time and time again that the individual theoretically did not have a contract with the government; the individual had a contract with the Tourism Marketing Council. The Tourism Marketing Council does not have any money. It got $10,000 from the Government of Yukon, Tourism department, to hire this consultant to advise them. He is advising the Tourism Marketing Council. The Tourism Marketing Council does not have any input into judging the merits of the bids. Is that a little more clear?
The way the Member for Riverdale South puts it is that Jim Lawson has a contract with the Government of Yukon. He is working for the Government of Yukon. Then the Government of Yukon is one of two parties involved in making a decision on what contractor would get the contract. I am trying to emphasize that that was not the case.
There is $10,000 set aside each year by the Government of Yukon, Department of Tourism funds, for the Marketing Council to hire an advisor, and that is where Jim Lawson comes into the picture. Again, in his capacity as advisor to the Yukon Tourism Marketing Council, he was not involved in judging the merits of the two bids.
Mrs. Firth: This person had a contract for $30,000 with the Tourism Marketing Council. That was in the legislative return that the Minister tabled. That council is supported by this government. That council discussed concepts that dealt with Destination Yukon. Then this individuals company got the contract for Destination Yukon. That is the whole scenario in a nutshell. I do not care what the Minister says and what we say here in this House; that is perceived by the public and by the business community to be a conflict. If an employee was on that Tourism Marketing Council and that employee had a private company and wanted to bid on that contract, that employees company would be excluded from doing that according to the conflict-of-interest guidelines that this government presently has in place. That is the point I am making.
It is not illogical. It is not unreasonable. There is a lot of support in the business community for the fact that perhaps people contracting with government should make a decision whether they want to be contracting with them in an advisory capacity or in a capacity to provide services. That is where the perceived conflict is. It should be one or the other, but not both, no matter what else happened in the whole story.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again, the Member is putting too much emphasis on the role that the Tourism Marketing Council had in the design and overall implementation of the Destination Yukon program. They had none.
They may have discussed concepts but they did not talk about implementation. They did not talk about what would be involved in the tours. All they said was that it was a great idea. It has some promise. There was $295,000 budgeted for it; go for it, hire the executive director and the director of marketing for Tourism Yukon to put together the plan and implement it.
Mr. Phillips: I would like to move on to the area of the waterfront development plan and the involvement of the Department of Tourism. Is the department putting any proposal together about what it would like to see in the development plan and is it doing anything with the Department of Community and Transportation Services to try to see that this development gets accelerated in some way so we can have it for 1992 or 1996 or 1998?
It seems we have been talking about the plan for three or four years and nothing seems to be happening. I would like to know from the Minister what the Department of Tourism is doing to encourage this plan to get off the ground.
Hon. Mr. Webster: At this particular stage of the waterfront development, which is primarily concerned with negotiating the purchase of land or transfer of land, Tourism has no role whatsoever. The Department of Community and Transportation Services is the lead agency in that regard.
Mr. Phillips: Well, when the three parties got back together last year or the year before and decided that they would draft a new plan just prior to the negotiation breakdown, did the Department of Tourism have any input into that new plan after they had all the public hearings and people made submissions? Did the Department of Tourism make a submission to that group and if they did, what was their submission?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not aware of a great deal of input that the Department of Tourism made to the preliminary designs for the waterfront. As the Member knows, in the final analysis it came down to the nature of the buildings down there and the height. Those are the issues where the negotiations failed as to the design of any infrastructure at the waterfront development.
Mr. Phillips: The waterfront of Whitehorse has a great deal of historical value to Whitehorse, to the gold rush and to the Yukon. Is the Department of Tourism going to do nothing, or does it plan to make some kind of suggestions, or have some input, into what it would like to see in that area, or is it just going to sit back and let a department that is not even remotely interested in tourism - Community and Transportation Services - do the whole development and negotiate the whole deal? Is it going to sit back and do nothing, or is it going to get involved at some point in time?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would be surprised if we were not invited to take part in any planning exercise for some future development of the waterfront, whether it is done by a Capital City Commission or a joint City of Whitehorse/Government of Yukon committee.
Yes, we are interested in the waterfront development. Yes, as the Member correctly puts it, there are heritage values in that area, and we would like to have some input into any proposed plans.
Mr. Phillips: We have an international agreement that the Yukon is part of, which was signed many years ago to establish what could be called Gold Rush Park. This park would stretch from Skagway all the way down to Dawson City. The waterfront in Whitehorse was an integral part of that plan.
Has the Minister had an opportunity to review the plans? I understand they were in his office for a few days, but I do not know if he had an opportunity to look at them. Does he have any comments on them? Does his government support the concept of the Gold Rush Park? It was an agreement that we signed with the Americans. They have honoured their part with respect to the Chilkoot Trail and other areas of the gold rush trail, starting in Skagway.
We have done very little on this side. Do we plan to do anything in the near future, since the 1996 and 1998 celebrations are coming up on us quite rapidly?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I did have an opportunity to review the plan. It actually starts in Seattle, and is the International Gold Rush Historic Park. Yes, we are involved with the ongoing planning, with a target of implementation for 1998. For example, just recently, we made a recommendation to the federal government to designate the Thirty Mile section of the Yukon River as a heritage river. Developing management plans for that area will help us with one segment of the Yukon River that is involved in this proposed historic park.
Mr. Phillips: Are there any funds in this budget specifically allocated to the International Gold Rush Historic Park throughout the Yukon? If there is not, why not? If the government is intending on doing something for 1996, why is it not starting now to at least implement the planning stages of putting this plan into place?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The department with the major responsibility of parks and planning is the Department of Renewable Resources, which we have just finished. Through the heritage branch, the Department of Tourism is also involved. For example, the Member is aware of the ongoing work at Fort Selkirk, along with the Selkirk First Nation, to develop that as an attraction. We are involved in heritage activities in the Klondike area, so some monies in this budget do reflect the commitment to developing parks along this proposed international gold rush route.
Mr. Phillips: The Minister did not really answer my question. I know we have done some things. We have rebuilt Fort Selkirk and we have done a lot of work in Dawson City but none of it is conforming to this plan. I mean, we have just done this separate from the plan and we have not really considered the plan when this work was being done. It has never been raised; in fact, the Minister was surprised about the plan a few months ago when the Gold Rush Park plan was raised publicly. I do not see any money in the budget. The government has been in power for five years, six years almost, and we have had Ministers stand up time and time again and talk about what is in the tourism budget and we have never had one Minister talk about, that I can recall at least, the Gold Rush Park and how we are developing various aspects of that plan.
If there is a plan in place and a lot of work went into the plan, why is there nothing in this budget to look at beginning the developmental stages of that plan so that we are not waiting until 1995 to put something in place by 1996 because it is going to be too late then.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I am not surprised to hear of the International Gold Rush Park. I want to remind the Member I am from Dawson City and have close connections there with the Canadian Parks Service, who are also very much involved with the American Parks Service in putting this together. This is nothing new. This has been in the planning stages for at least five years. I just finished telling the Member not more than five minutes ago that in my previous budget that was debated, Renewable Resources, we just talked about the Thirty Mile section of the Yukon River that we are developing in management plans, which would include some aspects of the gold rush history. Obviously, Hootalinqua, with the sternwheeler that is down there, is involved in the plan for the Thirty Mile section. I also just mentioned that we have been working over the years on Fort Selkirk, which was another spot where some gold seekers stopped on the way to Dawson. It has a very fascinating part of its history devoted to the gold rush, the field force. Those attractions are being restored over a number of years. That work is ongoing. Yes, some work is in this budget.
Mr. Phillips: The Department of Tourism should have communicated that to the Department of Community and Transportation Services. When they made the joint presentation with the City of Whitehorse, not one word was mentioned about the International Gold Rush Historic Park. When it was raised at a public meeting I attended, the representative, who was the Deputy Minister of Community and Transportation Services, was surprised and was going to look into it. That is how much the two departments have communicated. They are only in the same government so I suppose we cannot expect one to phone the other.
It is rather surprising that we plan a waterfront development that is supposed to take in the heritage and historic value of the Yukon River and the value of the waterfront to the City of Whitehorse, and the gold rush in particular, and no one knows about this plan that cost thousands of dollars to produce that addresses that very thing.
I have not heard any Minister of this government mention that plan, other than the Ministers comments just now. All of a sudden, when we raise it, we find it has been a priority of this government for years, they just have not called it the International Gold Rush Historic Park. The Minister says there is money in the budget. I would like to know how much.
Hon. Mr. Webster: Do you want to know that now or when we get to the line item?
It is $150,000, which is the same amount as last year. The year previous was $233,000, which is just for Fort Selkirk, which is on the route and part of this proposed international Gold Rush Park.
Mr. Lang: Fort Selkirk has been an ongoing project for the government for the last 10 to 15 years. There has been money voted in this Legislature every year. The Minister is trying to pretend it is a new program. Give us a break.
The Member for Riverdale North is asking what new initiatives we are taking to subscribe to the plan for the International Gold Rush Historic Park, so we are ready for 1998? We do not have anything.
The Minister then stands up and talks about the waterfront, and that the reason we have done nothing there is because we have to buy land.
I am here to inform the Minister that we own the land from here to the White Pass Depot. At least, it is a starting point, if you wanted to do something. I have not heard anybody talking about doing anything along there.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member just made my point for me. He said this has been an ongoing program that has gone on for years and years. That is what I tried to say to the Member for Riverdale North when he asked what we have been doing over the years along this proposed Yukon River route. Now I just finished mentioning, in addition to that, that the Department of Renewable Resources has been doing some work the last couple of years in respect to Thirty Mile section of the Yukon River. That will soon be designated a heritage river that can be incorporated, incidentally, and this is the whole point of this, in the proposed international gold rush park.
Mr. Lang: I just have a point for the record. The Minister is trying to twist my words. The point I am making about Fort Selkirk is that it has been an ongoing program, well before the International Gold Rush Historic Park was even thought of. For the Minister to say this is part of their plan for the International Gold Rush Historic Park is not correct. It was an ongoing program. It is one that the governments have committed themselves to over the past decade.
I would just like to ask the Minister when he actually saw the International Gold Rush Historic Park plan. When was the first time he ever read it?
Hon. Mr. Webster: I would imagine it would be four or five years ago in Dawson City because it is a federal governments Department of the Environment, Canadian Parks Service, that has taken the lead role in that. It certainly has not been the Government of Yukon either in the term of our government or the previous government and, with my long association with the Canadian Parks Service, Klondike National and Historic Sites in Dawson City where I reside, I have been aware of it for quite a while.
Mr. Phillips: I only have one last comment before I move into general debate and that is a concern that I have had for some time and it is about the size of the Tourism budget in relation to the value of tourism to the territory. The Tourism budget, I believe, is something like two percent of the total budget. That is a figure that I think the Auditor General mentioned in his report and I guess the concern I have is that it is one of the few departments in government that is revenue generating, that helps build the economy. It is the second largest industry in the Yukon, and yet the past government and this government continues to consider it not as much of a priority as other departments. I am concerned that, although there has been more money in the last couple of years put into marketing, tourism lags far behind where it could be and where it should be as far as helping develop the Yukons economy. I just make that as a comment to the Minister of Tourism that I think this department should have a much higher priority in this government and in any other government because I think it could create a great many jobs in the territory and we are really just touching the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. I think that tourism is not getting its full worth when it comes to the allocation of funds within the Government of Yukon.
Hon. Mr. Webster: As the Member can see, we are gradually increasing the budget for the Department of Tourism. I hope that the Minister of Finance was listening to the remarks made by the Member for Riverdale North, because I agree with him wholeheartedly.
I have to admit that more of the other departments are becoming aware of the value of tourism to the territory. Whether we are building a school community complex in Dawson City, or the Department of Community and Transportation Services is building a pull-off at a strategic location, it is always done with tourism in mind. That truly reflects the importance of tourism, not only to our economy but, also, to highlight the heritage of the Yukon for the benefit of Yukoners.
Mr. Phillips: I have no more comments in general debate. Perhaps other Members have questions.
Mr. Phelps: I would be remiss if I did not raise the issue of Carcross and funding, because I do not see anything here for replacing the visitor reception centre and the very valuable tourism attraction that was lost when the SS Tutshi burned down. It was a very central feature of Carcross, and a large part of its soul burned in that tragic fire.
I am really concerned that there has not been a firm commitment with regard to an amount of money that can be spent in this budget year on starting to replace that resource.
Hon. Mr. Webster: I imagine that the Member is speaking in terms of a visitor reception centre for Carcross. In the Department of Renewable Resources, we have already debated two attractions that may come onstream as early as next year.
With respect to the visitor reception centre, the Member is quite right. This is a fairly unique year for the capital budget, in that we have a major expenditure of almost $2 million for the Yukon visitor reception centre in Whitehorse. That was established well before the tragic fire of the SS Tutshi.
At the meeting in Carcross a couple of weeks ago, a discussion about the replacement for the SS Tutshi and the visitor reception centre came up, quite naturally. I mentioned to the residents of Carcross and area that we would be working with them, and a number volunteered their services to work with the department to come up with the initial plans for a new visitor reception centre in Carcross.
Mr. Phelps: So that means there is no hope for money to be made available to start work embarking on some capital expenditures to replace not only the information centre, but such things as alternate attractions, whether it be some waterfront development, docks, shops along the river, or whatever? Is that the situation?
Hon. Mr. Webster: That is the situation in the budget for this fiscal year. There is no money identified for that purpose.
Chair: We will proceed with line-by-line debate.
On Operation & Maintenance
Operations in the amount of $502,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $502,000 agreed to
On Operation & Maintenance
Mr. Phillips: Could the Minister inform us what these changes are? Some of them are fairly significant. Can he inform the House just exactly what took place in the department for an eight percent decrease this year?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The decrease this year is we do not have the need for a consulting service that was required last year for the development of the Yukon Historic Resources Act. For that reason you see the major decrease.
Operations in the amount of $217,000 agreed to
Museums in the amount of $203,000 agreed to
On Historic Sites
Historic Sites in the amount of $67,000 agreed to
On Art Gallery
Art Gallery in the amount of $66,000 agreed to
Operation & Maintenance in the amount of $553,000 agreed to
On Historic Resources
Heritage Artifact Acquisition
Mr. Phillips: What are the governments plan in this line?
Hon. Mr. Webster: Again they are the same plans as every year. If something significant comes up about the history of the territory that we can acquire then we can have money available. This allows us to spend some money to acquire it.
Mr. Phillips: What has happened to the plan to purchase Silver City? There was some talk going on with the people who own Silver City in Alaska, I believe. The Minister told us a year or two ago that the government was looking at purchasing it to restore Silver City or even working out an agreement with the individual where we would try to preserve parts of Silver City. I wonder if the Minister could give us an update on that.
Hon. Mr. Webster: We have been in contact with the people from Fairbanks, Alaska, who own Silver City. Apparently, they are still not prepared to sell. Every year, we have sent them applications for the heritage assistance program, whereby they could use some of that money to stabilize the buildings. They have not taken that opportunity.
Mr. Phillips: That area has a fairly historical significance. Every year that goes by, more roofs cave in and more of the walls cave in, and there is more damage done to the facilities. Is the government going to do nothing more than just send an application to the individuals?
Do we plan to do anything more to it, or do we just keep doing that until there is nothing left at Silver City, and we will not even have to bother sending the information to them any longer?
Hon. Mr. Webster: The problem with the situation here is that although they are not prepared to sell Silver City they are interested in some restoration work. That is why we have sent them the applications through the heritage property assistance program. At this time there is not too much we can do. They are the owners of the property. We can make them aware some assistance is available.
Mr. Phillips: Do we have an indication when they plan to do some restoration work to Silver City? Have they given us some kind of a plan that they plan to carry out that will restore some of those facilities?
Hon. Mr. Webster: No, they have not.
Mr. Phillips: This is a 120 percent increase in this area. I have had discussions with some of the museums about this line item, and I would like the Minister to give us a breakdown of where these funds will be used.
Hon. Mr. Webster: The Member is correct; it is a substantial increase of 120 percent for this year for museum assistance. The breakdown is as follows: the Dawson City Museum will be receiving $50,000 for architectural design of a storage facility, the Transportation Museum $335,000. It is proposed that we enter an agreement with the Transportation Museum to allocate the money for $100,000 as straight contribution so they will have some flexibility with that money; $135,000 is based on a matching fund from other sources, national programs for example, and another $100,000 will be made available on a matching dollar basis.
Mr. Phillips: Matching funds mean they will have to go out and find a partner or go out and raise the other $100,000. Does the Minister know whether they are tapping a federal fund for this program for matching funds or is it a fund-raising program they intend to undertake in the general public to raise funds for their share up to and including maybe admissions to the museum? Is that how they plan to raise their share of the funding?
Hon. Mr. Webster: There will be $100,000 for matching, dollar for dollar, on a regular fund-raising drive from local contributors. The other $135,000 on the matching will be from national museum programs from the federal government.
To add up to the total of $550,000, there is $165,000 for what we call a small capital contributions program. This money is disbursed among all museums in the territory to meet their needs. In light of the SS Tutshi fire, there will be more money spent on security and safety measures.
Mr. Phillips: Just so I am clear on this, of the funds that the museums will get, as well as the small capital contributions, is it the boards of the museums that decide what the money is spent on, or does it have to be spent on specific projects that the government wants them to spend it on? Can the Transportation Museum pick two or three separate projects that it wants to develop this year and use their funds specifically for that, or is the government earmarking the money for some specific purpose?
Hon. Mr. Webster: With the small capital contributions, they send an application, so that is specific. As we were discussing the development of this Transportation Museum - the capital costs, upgrading and that - there is, again, some requirement to spend the money a certain way to achieve the goals of the department and the museum.
The time being what it is, I would move that you report progress.
Motion agreed to
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the Speaker do now resume the Chair.
Motion agreed to
Speaker resumes the Chair
Speaker: I will now call the House to order.
May the House have a report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole?
Ms. Kassi: Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 16, entitled First Appropriation Act, 1991-92, and directed me to report progress on same.
Speaker: You have heard the report from the Chair of the Committee of the Whole. Are you agreed?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Speaker: I declare the report carried.
Hon. Mr. McDonald: I move that the House do now adjourn.
Speaker: It has been moved by the Hon. 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 9:31 p.m.
The following Legislative Returns were tabled December 17, 1990:
Destination Yukon: Promotional tour contract (Penikett)
Oral, Hansard, p. 442
Business Loan Approvals: Recommended for rejection by Business Development Advisory Board and approved by Minister (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 520
Business Loan Approvals: List of projects approved since April, 1989 (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 520
Career Services Centre: Rationale for decentralization of Person Years (McDonald)
Oral, Hansard, p. 534
Golden Horn Elementary School: Statement re repairs and service calls (Byblow)
Oral, Hansard, pp. 484 & 485
Tagish Kwan Corporation bankruptcy: Yukon Government negotiations with Kwanlin Dun First Nation re proposed release of lots (Byblow)
Oral, Hansard, p. 533
The following Sessional paper was tabled December 17, 1990:
Alaska Highway Corridor Study: Condensed Report (including the Condensed Executive Summary) (Byblow)