Tuesday, April 13, 1999 - 1:30 p.m.
Speaker: I will now call the House to order. We will now proceed with prayers.
Speaker: We will proceed at this time with the Order Paper.
Are there any tributes?
Recognition of Yukon Regional Science Fair
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon to pay tribute to 170 students who submitted 136 projects to the Yukon Regional Science Fair held this weekend in Whitehorse. I'd also like to acknowledge the Yukon Science Institute and the innovators in the schools and the 75 judges who have contributed their efforts.
The top schools were the Atlin School, the Robert Service School, Whitehorse Elementary School and Selkirk Street Elementary School.
There are far too many outstanding projects to mention them all, Mr. Speaker, but I would like to acknowledge that the Canada-wide science fair participant will be "Which primer works best?", which is a project done by Helen Booth at Selkirk Elementary School in grade 7.
I'm sure we all want to recognize the contributions of all these students and parents and teachers who have worked to make the regional science fair a success.
Mr. Phillips: On behalf of the office of the official opposition, we too would like to congratulate the participants and the organizers of the Yukon Regional Science Fair.
In the past, many of the students who have participated in these kind of activities have gained a great deal more interest in the area of science, and some of them have gone on in that field. I know, from personal experience, of some students who have gone on in the field of biology. Some of those students who participated in projects a few years ago in the science fair are now working for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the Yukon and in other areas of Canada and their interest was first generated, I think, at the science fair with some of the projects they carried out there.
I think that this is a very positive program. It allows the youth to use their ingenuity and ideas to come up with some very innovative projects. In fact, some projects in the major science fairs, as we have learned, have gone on to make some of the youth very wealthy. I remember there was an article just recently of a youth who developed a specific apparatus that actually became patented and the youth is going to be very wealthy because of it. This was developed at one of the local school's science fairs.
So, I applaud the organizers, the teachers and all the participants in this year's science fair and wish them well in the future.
Mr. Cable: Last weekend, the annual Yukon Regional Science Fair was held at Yukon College. A total of 170 students took part with 136 projects, and 75 people came forward to act as judges. On behalf of the Liberal caucus, I would like to pay tribute to all the students who took part, the 75 adults who took the time and the interest to act as judges, and the Yukon Science Institute, the official sponsor of the fair. My congratulations go to Helen Booth, a Selkirk Elementary grade 7 student, who was selected to represent the Yukon-Stikine region at the Canada-wide science fair to be held in Edmonton in May.
And on a personal note, I would like to congratulate Sascha Robertson-Lawless from Whitehorse Elementary School. She won the gold medal for grade 2 and Environment Canada's best fair award of $50, for a project called "Itch, Itch, Itch," a project that dealt with whether itching was real or psychological, and I'm sure she could have some advice for us here in this chamber.
In passing, I should note that Sascha's grandfather, who works in the Hansard office a few feet away from this Chamber, has assured me that Sascha's success was due in large part to her gene pool. Whether or not that's accurate remains to be seen. I'd like to think and Sascha would like to think that it was just her hard work and creativity that won her the prize.
In closing, and on behalf of the Yukon Liberal caucus, my congratulations to all who advance science education in the schools.
Speaker: Introduction of visitors.
Are there any returns or documents for tabling?
tabling returns and documents
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: I have for tabling It All Adds Up, which is a guide to the gender equity in the schools policy. This publication acknowledges Gender Equity Awareness Week.
Speaker: Are there any reports of committees?
Are there any petitions?
Are there any bills to be introduced?
introduction of bills
Bill No. 17: Introduction and First Reading
Hon. Mr. McDonald: Mr. Speaker, I move that Bill No. 17, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1999-2000 (No. 2), be now introduced and read a first time.
Speaker: It has been moved by the hon. Government Leader that Bill No. 17, entitled Interim Supply Appropriation Act, 1999-2000 (No. 2), be now introduced and read a first time.
Motion for introduction and first reading of Bill. No. 17 agreed to
Speaker: Are there any further bills to introduce?
Are there any notices of motions?
Are there any statements by ministers?
This then brings us to Question Period.
Question re: Contract procedures, statutory declarations
Mr. Jenkins: I have a question for the Minister of Government Services.
Last night in debate, the Minister of Community and Transportation Services revealed that there was a serious problem with contracting procedures when a general contractor swears a false statutory declaration.
The Minister of Community and Transportation Services stated, "It's appalling. Certainly, I'm as appalled as the member opposite but am on the opposite side of the fence, because I didn't think that you'd have to have a policy in place, because the system was working very, very well."
Well, Mr. Speaker, I noted at the time that the Minister of Government Services was whispering in the ear of his colleague, so I'd like to ask the minister of government to explain what his colleague meant.
Can the minister advise the House what happens when a general contractor signs a statutory declaration stating that all subcontractors have been paid when, in fact, they have not? What does the department do?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: I'm not sure whether this is appropriate, because we are debating this department later on this afternoon, but in this particular case, on this particular statutory declaration, the RCMP were contacted and we have not yet heard back from them whether or not they intend to press forward with this issue.
In terms of the whole issue of questionable statutory declarations, we have sought some legal advice on that. We do have some experience in the past, in that we've experienced some difficulties before in statutory declarations and we're seeking some legal advice on how to handle this issue in the future.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, I take the minister back to last night. The Minister of Community and Transportation Services stated, and again, I quote, "There is no clear process to follow when it is known that a false statutory declaration has been signed and it is under investigation at present." Later in debate, however, he stated that "There is a process going on as well as an investigation in relationship to the contract we had under discussion, the airport extension contract."
Can the minister clarify his colleague's remarks? Is there a process and what is that process?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: I think I already indicated, Mr. Speaker, in this particular case we have advised the RCMP of the issue, and it's up to them, I suppose, to determine what the nature of the complaint is and if, indeed, there was any intent in this regard.
Because of this particular issue, we have sought legal advice on how we should be handling such issues in the future. I can also report that, in this particular case, the bonding company has released the cheques to the adjuster, and the adjuster is proceeding to get releases from the subcontractors. So I can advise the member that the payment process is in place.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, it's my understanding that, in relationship to the airport extension contract, a statutory declaration was signed on October 5, 1998, by the general contractor in order to receive the fifth progress payment, which obviously was blatantly incorrect because, shortly thereafter, subcontractors formally notified the contracting authorities that they hadn't been paid.
Could the minister explain how Government Services - if they do, actually - verify whether in fact a statutory declaration is true?
Hon. Mr. Sloan: Well, once again, I think the member is somewhat out of order on this one, but I can just tell him that, in this particular case, on October 1, contract services received notice from the first of several subcontractors that they hadn't received payment. At this time, most of the contract funds had been paid. We advised the creditors to notify the bonding company of their claims, which is the correct procedure, and we also sought advice from legal services and our contract lawyer, which is Swinton and Company.
The final amount owing by the government was not paid to the company, in this case, but was instead set aside to the government's creditor holdback account, pending a decision on how to proceed. The balance owed on the contract was paid in trust to the lawyers for the bonding company, and the bonding company, as I indicated before, has moved to release the cheques to the adjuster. We have fulfilled our obligation in this part, and because of the nature of the false statutory declaration, we have sought legal advice in that regard and notified the RCMP, as we should.
Question re: Yukon excellence awards
Mr. Phillips: My question is for the Minister of Education, once again on the Yukon excellence awards.
Eighty-four percent of one of the key stakeholders of education, the parents, and 62 percent of the students, have said that the excellence awards are a powerful motivator and direct encouragement and investment for the students' higher education, yet the minister is opposed to what she calls a carrot-and-stick approach and has stated publicly that it's not a race to the finish with a cash reward at the end.
Can the minister advise the House why her single, opposing view is more important than the view of the survey that she did with the 84 percent of the parents and the 62 percent of the students who support the award? Why is the minister, in consultation with the parents, not listening to the people she consulted?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is being ridiculous. We are listening to the parents and students about the excellence awards. We continue to maintain a Yukon excellence awards program in our school system. What I said yesterday and what I say again today is that it is important to recognize the effort and achievement of every student who is in our school system, and we'll continue to do that.
Mr. Phillips: Well, the New Democratic Party has interesting terms, Mr. Speaker. I know that with the power rates, I think they were going to keep them stable, and they went up. With the excellence awards, she's going to maintain them. Well, they dropped about 50 percent.
Mr. Speaker, in the study that was carried out by the minister's own department and under the minister's direction, 84 percent of the parents said that they supported it, and 62 percent of the students supported it. They asked for it to be continued and enhanced. The minister is cutting it by almost 50 percent. Why did the minister not listen to the parents, and why did the minister cut the program?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is not listening to the response. When the Yukon Party was in office, their rule was assessments, assessments, assessments. We heard an awful lot of responses from teachers and parents and school administrators who said it's important that we have some time for teaching, and it's important that we have good curriculum and that we do appropriate testing. We have an assessment model in place that we believe is geared properly to the curriculum. We continue to have Yukon excellence awards as well, Mr. Speaker, but the member's complaint is not valid.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Speaker, it's the Minister of Education who doesn't get it. Mr. Speaker, it was the Minister of Education who held consultations - public consultations - specifically on education excellence awards. That's what the minister did. The results were overwhelmingly in favour of continuing the awards - overwhelmingly in favour.
Why has the minister reduced the awards by almost 50 percent? Did she just not hear from the parents what she wanted to hear? Because the minister announced before the awards were even given out, Mr. Speaker, that she wasn't in favour of them.
Why did the minister cut the awards out? Is it because it's the minister's opinion that they're not necessary, and she's not going to listen to the consultations that she received from the parents and the students?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Speaker, I might ask the member opposite why, when he was in office as the Minister of Education, they changed the configuration of the Yukon excellence awards. There have been changes to that program since it was brought in.
The program remains in effect. What is important, though - and the member says that the awards are a powerful motivator. The research doesn't bear that out, when you look at the actual results. There are hundreds and hundreds of Yukon students who pass their subjects, who do well in school, and who do not earn excellence awards.
Our position is that it's important to acknowledge the effort and achievement of all Yukon students, and not simply focus on the Yukon excellence awards. We have Yukon excellence awards, and we have recognition of students who do not achieve them, but who pass in school.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre, business plan
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Tourism on this government's lack of support for heritage, and in particular the Beringia Centre.
When the Yukon Party started the Beringia Centre the former Minister of Tourism thought we would be doing much better than what we are. For the year 1999-2000 - in Hansard - the former minister estimated 125,000 visitors, revenues of over $580,000, and a profit of $280,000.
Clearly, Mr. Speaker, we're not there yet. Revenues at the Beringia Centre are estimated to be about $80,000 this year. Now, on Thursday last, the minister noted that he came up with a business plan for the Beringia Centre shortly after taking office.
Did the minister come up with a revised business plan because he thought the numbers that were put forward by the Yukon Party were simply unrealistic?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I would like to, first of all, categorically say that we inherited the facility. We didn't develop the facility; we inherited the facility. I'm certainly not prepared to take responsibility for the unrealistic projections that were made - certainly not. They were made on a 1994 visitor exit survey. They were done a little pie in the sky, I would think. I mean, the process that lead up to it was a terrible process. There was no consultation with the museum groups, et cetera.
Yes, I did have to put together a business plan. It was a bit contrary to the normal way of doing business, but certainly a business plan was put together using the numbers that the Yukon Party, through their mismanagement of the Beringia Centre, the misconception of the Beringia Centre, arose with.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, the NDP revised the numbers on the Beringia Centre and it only made sense, given that the projections put forward by the Yukon Party were rather in fairytale land.
I'd like to read something to the minister. These are his words from Hansard. These are his words from December 1997 and I quote, "The business plan said that in the third year, it should be making money, and if it's not getting close to living up to those expectations, then we are certainly going to be looking at it in a new light."
Mr. Speaker, we're in the third year. The Beringia Centre is not making money. Is a new light going to be turned on? Aside from cutting the heritage budget, what are the government's plans for this facility?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Speaker, it's absolutely appalling that the Liberal leader would be saying that we cut the heritage budget because the absolute opposite is true. I mean, since we've come into place as a government, we've restored the Taylor House through Government Services and the CDF funding and we've done the White Pass initiatives on the street. So, our commitment to heritage is absolutely mammoth, if I can say it in that way - absolutely mammoth. This government believes in heritage and the cultural mosaic of the Yukon Territory and will continue to do so.
As a matter of fact, we're going out on a strategy, if the member is aware, to ask and to talk to Yukoners about the tourism future and certainly, we're going to get feedback as to the importance of heritage within the component of tourism for all Yukoners. We're certainly going to be looking at that.
Yes, I did say that in 1977. I'm glad to see that the member's researchers are doing work like that - certainly, because it shows continuity as to what we said we would do as a government with the Beringia Centre.
Certainly, right now we are looking at different models. We are looking at community managed models -
Speaker: The minister's time has expired.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, on December 15, 1997, I asked the minister about rumours that the government was considering the possibility of setting up a volunteer board to take over the management of the Beringia Centre. At that time, the minister dismissed the idea outright and said the government wasn't interested.
We're 18 months further along and still not meeting revenue projections, and I would ask the minister to revisit Hansard himself and refresh his memory - his quote about turning on a new light for this centre.
Aside from cutting the heritage budget, what are the government's plans for this facility? Is the minister considering a volunteer-type board for the Beringia Centre?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, we're trying to make the best of a bad situation that we inherited from the previous administration. The Yukon Party did say those words and, certainly, at this point in time, we are looking at different community models that we might be able to use to deliver the management of the centre.
Question re: Beringia Interpretive Centre, business plan
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Speaker, I have some further questions for the Minister of Tourism on this government's lack of support and future directions for the Beringia Centre.
If the Beringia Centre is going to work, we have to finish the original project. The NDP government has to finish what the Yukon Party started, and, Mr. Speaker, let me say for the record that our caucus and our party support the Beringia Centre as a Whitehorse attraction.
Let's look at an example of finishing what we start. Last fall, construction was started on a new entrance to the Beringia Centre for tour buses. The work was never completed. Instead, there's a bunch of gravel that's been pushed up. There's a mess and an uncompleted road that buses can't use. There is no money in the budget for the completion of the road.
When is the road going to be completed for tour buses into the Beringia Centre? When is that going to be done, Mr. Speaker?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I mean, the Member for Porter Creek South is speaking about not spending any money in one question, then she stands up on another question and says that we are spending money and when are we going to finish it. So I think that we're doing a very good job of putting our money there.
Mr. Speaker, we have not abandoned the heritage community. We have not abandoned the Beringia Centre. What we are, as a government, going to continue to do with the Beringia Centre, Mr. Speaker, is to try to find ways to make it work within meaningful projections. That is exactly what we're going to do - I've said it; that's exactly what we're going to do and continue to do that good work.
Ms. Duncan: In order to make it work, we have to be able to get people to the Beringia Centre. We have to finish the road for the tour buses, which they requested for ease of access.
The NDP government's taken an attraction they're supposed to be trying to promote, and they've put a big eyesore right in front of it. They haven't finished the landscaping. They constructed half a road and then walked away from it.
The minister says he supports heritage. The minister says they're going to finish this project. Can the minister explain how this mess, this half-finished road in front of the Beringia Centre, supports the centre and supports heritage?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I don't know where this conversation's going, because obviously the Member for Porter Creek South is not listening. The government is very supportive of heritage. I've stood in this House on my feet about three times this session now and told the Liberal leader what we're doing with heritage. I can repeat it, if she so chooses, but I'm sure that they can read the Hansard as well.
What we're doing with the Beringia Centre is we're attempting to make it work. We're taking a mistake that was done by the Yukon Party, that was not done in consultation with the museum community or the Yukon Historical and Museums Association community, and we are attempting to make it work. One of the initiatives that we have to work with is the ease of access; hence we have another road that gives access to tour buses and brings the tour buses and allows the tour buses to come right up to the entrance. To me, that is good work.
Ms. Duncan: The problem, Mr. Speaker, with the minister's answer is that the road is not finished and that there is no money in the budget this year to finish that particular road. Now, the minister has stood on his feet and said that this government is attempting to make the Beringia Centre work, that there is an initiative for ease of access to the Beringia Centre to install a new road for tour buses. There is a half-finished road, and there is no money in the budget to finish it.
Will the minister answer the question: when is the project, the road to the Beringia Centre, going to be finished?
Hon. Mr. Keenan:Mr. Speaker, the road that we have there certainly fits the theme of the Beringia. What can I say more to that?
Mr. Speaker, we do have dollars for heritage - many dollars for heritage within our budget. We fund annual heritage meetings. We maintain consistent O&M funding to the communities and to the museums for their museums. I do believe that this government is very supportive, and I think that's reflected throughout the heritage community as to our support for heritage.
In response to the member's question specifically is that, as all items within the capital budget process, I have to follow through the process, and all items will continue to flow through the process of budget requirement.
Question re: Yukon excellence awards
Mr. Phillips: My question is to the Minister of Education again on the minister's favourite topic, the Yukon excellence awards.
Mr. Speaker, the Yukon Party government introduced the excellence awards back in 1995, and they were well-received by both parents and students. One concern that we did receive, however, is that the students who work very hard and only attained 78 or 79 percent, or improved significantly, just missed the mark for qualifying for the excellence awards. In fact, I've heard the minister make this very argument.
Mr. Speaker, the Yukon Party in the election campaign made a commitment to continue the Yukon excellence awards program and create a new program, the Yukon achievement awards, to recognize students who work hard to improve their grades, even though they did not qualify for the excellence awards. That's exactly what came out of the minister's consultations with the parents and the students. Why hasn't the minister continued to fund the Yukon excellence awards to the amount that they were funded to before, and the same number of subjects, and why hasn't the minister made moves to enhance the achievement awards for other students? Why has nothing happened in over two years, Mr. Speaker?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Speaker, first of all this government has continued to financially support the Yukon excellence awards. Secondly, our government has been working with school councils on establishing other kinds of recognition programs throughout the Yukon.
A number of schools already have recognition programs for students who have demonstrated the most improvement in their grades from the beginning of the year to the end of the year. There are school assemblies where students are recognized for their effort and for their achievement.
We've asked school councils for their support of this kind of a project, and many awards programs are being implemented on a local level at individual school councils at different schools around the Yukon.
Mr. Phillips: One of the questions asked in the minister's questionnaire is if the parents and the students supported receiving cash for their achievements.
Mr. Speaker, that's very important, with today's high cost of post-secondary education. And Mr. Speaker, overwhelmingly the participants in the minister's questionnaire said they supported that.
Why has the minister cut the program by over $100,000 - almost 50 percent - and reduced the number of subjects from 23 to 16 in the two years that the minister's been in government? Why has the minister reduced the program when the parents and the students wanted her to increase it and enhance it?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Speaker, listening to the member's preamble - of course we all like getting cash. But let me say, Mr. Speaker, that it is very important that governments continue to fund a public education system that provides schooling for every student in the Yukon.
We also are funding Yukon College so that they can offer post-secondary education. We are also maintaining student financial assistance for our students who graduate from high school in the Yukon and then go on to attend colleges and universities outside of the Yukon.
We can't always afford to increase the funding to everything. We are committed to maintaining funding for post-secondary education. We're also committed to maintaining a sound assessment program and the Yukon excellence awards. They're in the budget.
Mr. Phillips: Well, the minister obviously doesn't understand the problem, Mr. Speaker. The minister, prior to the election, condemned the program. Public support forced the minister to go to a public consultative process to ask the people whether they liked it. The people said overwhelmingly they liked the program, and a letter of congratulations from the minister isn't going to cut it. It isn't going to help those students get through university, nor the 84 percent of the parents and 62 percent of the students who supported the program.
Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister: I know she doesn't like the program but why did the minister cut the program significantly, almost 50 percent, when she conducted her own public consultation process that encouraged her to enhance it and increase it? Why did she cut it?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Speaker, the member has just stood here and said that the funds that we have in the education budget for the Yukon excellence awards aren't going to cut it. Let me tell the member that the program continues, and let me tell the member that our support for student grants for post-secondary education is second to none in Canada. We have approximately $4,000 per student for five years.
That's the answer to the question. The member has asked me what we're doing to support the students and why the program doesn't exist. The program continues, and we are going to continue to support post-secondary education for our students both in the Yukon and outside the territory.
Question re: Family Violence Prevention Act regulations
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, my questions today are for the Minister of Justice and they're about the domestic violence act - the Family Violence Prevention Act, pardon me.
The minister, on a number of occasions in the House recently, has been very reluctant to give this side of the House a target date for the final bringing forth of the regulations on this act, but I note today that, in an interview with one of the local radio stations, she says that this Liberal MLA - that would be me - could be surprised at how quickly the Family Violence Prevention Act may be brought into reality. I'd really like to be surprised, and I wonder if the minister can give us a target date now on when those regulations are going to be coming into effect?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Speaker, is this déjà vu all over again? I seem to recall the member asking the question yesterday, and if the member doesn't recall my answer, let me provide it for her again.
Mr. Speaker, we've indicated that we would like to proclaim the Family Violence Prevention Act and to have the regulations in effect by the fall of 1999. The member has stood here and speculated that that is unachievable.
What I have been attempting to do in Question Period in this House is to explain to the member that we do agree on one thing: we agree that there needs to be consultation in the communities; we agree it's important that Kaushee's Place Transition Home, that Victoria Faulkner Women's Centre, the RCMP and CYFN and other groups are involved in the discussions in the communities before the Family Violence Prevention Act is proclaimed. That work is ongoing now. Once it has been concluded, we will be able to proclaim the act.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I'm thrilled and delighted and surprised that I finally got a date out of the minister.
Now, the minister knows that the Liberal caucus has had concerns about part of this act from the very day it was tabled in the Legislature. We've asked the minister about these concerns repeatedly and asked about these concerns at every consultation meeting held here in Whitehorse, but none of these issues have been dealt with.
Now, one of those issues is the potential cost. Now, the minister said that there will be no new money to help with the implementation of this act but there are going to be costs. For example, if a senior uses an emergency intervention order under the new act and an abuser is taken out of the home, the problem is that the abuser is also the caretaker. This leaves the victim without someone to care for them.
Mr. Speaker, this act solves some problems but also creates new ones that cost money to solve. Are there any extra resources being allocated to deal with this type of situation?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Mr. Speaker, there were so many issues in that question that I'd like to take just a minute to go through them there.
First of all, the member stood and said that she was surprised that she finally got a date. Over a week ago, the member stood up in this House and said that there was a target date of the fall of 1999, and you're not going to be able to do that.
What I've been saying is, that's what we're working toward. If we can achieve a fall of 1999 proclamation, then we will do that, but we will continue working with the communities.
Now, the member also made an incredible generalization that an abuser was also always a caretaker, and so if an abuser was asked to leave a home under an emergency intervention order, that the victim wouldn't be able to stay in her home. Maybe she can explain what she was saying there.
The act is not going to be responsible for the cost of maintaining people's homes, whether it was the abuser or the victim who was the primary household income earner.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased that the minister was finally able to confirm the fall 1999 date.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Speaker, this is truly painful. Now, in order for this law to work, there have to be people in the communities to carry out emergency intervention orders. Now, these individuals are called "designates" under the act. What funding has been allocated to train these designates, and what steps have been taken to ensure the safety of these designates, particularly in the rural communities?
Hon. Ms. Moorcroft: Well, Mr. Speaker, that's why we can't proclaim the act immediately. That's why we are having consultations with the communities. That's why we're developing a training plan.
We have had discussions with the RCMP. We've had a commitment to have someone from Saskatchewan who has some experience with the Family Violence Prevention Act that they have implemented in that jurisdiction to develop and deliver training in the Yukon. We are working to ensure that the appropriate training is done not just for the RCMP, but for designates and for members of the community and for justices of the peace so that when this act is implemented, it can be an effective tool to help keep women safe and free from violence in their homes.
Speaker: The time for Question Period has now elapsed.
Notice of government private members' business
Mr. Fentie: Pursuant to Standing Order 14.2(7), I would like to identify the item standing in the name of the government private members, to be called on Wednesday, April 14, 1999.
They are Motion No. 163, standing in the name of the Member for Kluane, and Motion No. 164, standing in the name of the Member for Lake Laberge.
Speaker: We will proceed to Orders of the Day.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Speaker, I move that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Speaker: It has been moved by the government House leader that the Speaker do now leave the Chair and that the House resolve into Committee of the Whole.
Motion agreed to
Speaker leaves the Chair
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Is it the members' wish to recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: Fifteen minutes.
Deputy Chair: I'll now call Committee of the Whole to order. We are on the Department of Community and Transportation Services.
Bill No. 14 - First Appropriation Act, 1999-2000 - continued
Department of Community and Transportation Services - continued
Chair: Is there any further general debate?
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I have some questions concerning the equipment that was purchased at the airport by the minister's department last year.
Last year, the Government of Yukon purchased a pallet loader, air-start unit and 16 carts. These equipment purchases were made as part of the airport expansion and in support of the Air Transat carrier coming to Whitehorse.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, I'll attempt to answer the questions. There were a few in there, so if I miss something, please ask again, if you would - much like Question Period today.
The equipment purchased to date includes a container loader, for $80,000; 16 container dollies, for $23,000; an air-start ground unit, for $107,000, and an aircraft tug for $100,000. The additional container dollies that will be purchased, for $30,000, are to accommodate a broader range of aircraft that might be coming in, so it's very much a proactive move.
And if I could say, the air-start was certainly purchased to re-start the jet engines of the aircraft such as a DC-10 or an L-1011 in the event of the malfunction of the aircraft's part.
The member asked for specifics on Air Transat and I can quite categorically state that there was no special deal with Air Transat other that what was announced previously with the dollars from the CTC. So, there was no real, special arrangement with them.
At the time, when we got the nod as we did our research and looked and talked with industry, and knowing that we needed to have direct air access from Europe, we took a very aggressive search for a partner, and it was felt that Air Transat would work at that time.
I should say at this point in time, and maybe even in the future again, as I've announced with Air Transat back in the territory, that we did go out and we did search and we looked and we found a partner.
Of course, the market arrangement between the airline - Air Transat - and Tourism, I can provide that information. I think we've already provided that, though, haven't we? So, if you need it again, certainly we can, and certainly that's what it was.
Now, the figures that the member is looking for -
Okay, during the period - and this is from June 1 to September 30, 1998 - we undertook an exit survey at the airport during this period, and 24,046 individuals were recorded as leaving the territory on their way home and, of this number, 37 percent - or 8,896 - of those travellers were from a European country. The total that the Europeans spent - on this survey - was $8.4 million, and the total spent for the 24,000 was $19.7 million.
I do believe I answered all the questions. If there is something missing, please tell me.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, what I was looking for was more specific information to do with the Community and Transportation Services department. So, I'd like to focus on that equipment at the airport.
What the minister has indicated is that there were several pieces of equipment, and the minister mentioned the pallet loader, the air-start unit and the carts. The minister also mentioned a push-out tug. Now, it's my understanding that the push-out tug was to be purchased this year and that the other equipment I mentioned was purchased in last year's budget.
Could the minister just clarify what the dollar figure was for the purchase in 1998-99, and what the dollar figure for purchase in 1999-2000 will be? And I'm speaking of purchases with respect to new equipment at the Whitehorse Airport.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, the figures that I had read out previously were for last year. Now, the tug - and I think I might have mentioned that - is a reconditioned tug, for $100,000, and that includes the universal tow bar. And, of course, when you have the universal tow bar, it makes it capable of moving a 767, a DC-10, a L-1011, a MD-11 and a A-340 aircraft.
In terms of 1999-2000, we're looking at a one runway sweeper at Whitehorse, for $180,000; LD-8 ground-handling dollies, at $30,000; and a mower for community airports at $20,000.
Ms. Duncan: I was pleased to hear the minister - two points - say that the push-out tug that's contemplated is in this year's budget for purchase and is capable of moving a number of different types of aircraft.
Now, with respect to the other equipment, I would like, perhaps, the minister to send over, in a briefing note, the capabilities of some of the other pieces of equipment.
The minister also mentioned that the push-out tug being purchased is a reconditioned piece of equipment. My understanding is that some of this other equipment was also reconditioned equipment. In essence, we bought used rather than new.
Now, this also can, to some degree, shorten the lifespan of some of these pieces of equipment, and apparently both the pallet loader and the air-start sat outside all winter. Can the minister confirm that, and can the minister also confirm what sort of a lifespan we're looking at with these reconditioned pieces of equipment? Are we looking at five years? Two years? What sort of a lifespan are we looking at with the reconditioned equipment, and how good of care are we taking of the equipment we bought, if we're leaving it sit outside all winter?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: First of all, Mr. Chair, let me speak about - and again, there were a number of questions, so please bear with me, if you would, and ask away if I inadvertently forget something. We can talk about the sweepers at the Whitehorse Airport. They're certainly very much at the end of their economic and practical life. They've already been rebuilt and, in order to maintain the reliability of snow removal, it's imperative at this time that they are replaced. So it's definitely a safety factor.
And again, on the other issues that I spoke about to the Member for Porter Creek South, the ground-handling dollies, they're self-explanatory, and the more that we're using for community airports - $20,000 - well, it's more.
I spoke of the lifespan for the reconditioned tug. That's exactly the language that you're to use. Now, if you're to leave your political career and go to a used car lot, you would suddenly see that you would not say, "I'd like you to buy this little used baby" - oh, pardon me - "I'd like you to buy this used baby here". You'd say "No, we have for sale, sir - or ma'am - a completely refurbished tug that has X amount of hours left on it, that is going to do the job for you for this amount of time."
So certainly that is what we have bought - we have bought a refurbished one. So we do feel that it is going to have good life. Now, what the life is, though, I'll have to find out for the member - if it's one, two, three, five years, or whether there's a guarantee for the refurbished tug.
I think I've answered the questions. If there's something I've missed, please let me know.
Ms. Duncan: Well, Mr. Chair, someone's going to be asking, "Would you buy a used car from this man?" at some point.
Would the minister send over, by way of written response, what the lifespan is of all of the pieces of equipment we've bought in recent years - last year's budget year and this year. We bought refurbished equipment. What sort of a lifespan are we looking at on this equipment? In other words, are we going to be talking about replacing it in which budget cycle?
There has been some thought, some comment, that the Government of Yukon is considering purchasing a catering truck for wide-bodied aircraft. Can the minister confirm this? The minister - if I could repeat that for the minister.
There's some discussion that the Government of Yukon is - among the list of equipment purchases - considering buying a catering truck to service a wide-bodied aircraft. Is this under consideration by the government, and when is it budgeted?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, I did neglect to answer a question that was asked in the previous question that came to me on the storage of the tug outside. It's absolutely a common occurrence, and it's not to the detriment of the tug at all. It's just a common way of doing things - well, if you don't have a garage. Certainly, as in [inaudible], we do things as we have to.
Now, let me say about the catering truck, or the provisions of a catering truck that will also be able to service the galley of larger aircraft. It could be and should be a requirement and should be investigated, and we are going to investigate that. It's Canadian's truck and it's been quite helpful working with Canadian here, but Canadian does not have enough of a lift capacity to reach the galleys of larger aircraft. They work predominantly with 737s and, of course, the design aircraft is a 767. So, certainly, we have to be looking at that.
If we want to keep with our world-class destination of Yukon and continue to encourage the larger aircraft coming from Europe and other emerging targets, well, then, certainly that's one of the requirements they will need.
So, we're in the process of investigating that right now and, certainly, I'm sure that, within the next budget debate, we will have more information on it.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, the training of Yukon workers to operate all of these different pieces of equipment - right now, I would venture a guesstimate that most of the ground-handling equipment is used by our year-round carrier, Canadian.
Is Canadian Airlines training the workers to operate this government-owned equipment, or what training program is in place for individuals to work on the equipment newly purchased by the Government of the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly the ground-handling equipment is going to be available to all aircraft requiring such equipment and it is going to be rented to the trained ground-handling companies, and they have to be trained. It will be, of course, rented at a nominal fee for the usage. Canadian, of course, has the capability for their own training, but the training will be the requirement of the other aircraft companies doing the renting.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, if I could just clarify with the minister: the Government of Yukon purchases a variety of new pieces of equipment for use at the Whitehorse Airport - for use by a variety of aircraft and a variety of aircraft companies. We hope that it's Yukoners who are operating this equipment. Who trains them?
XYZ airline comes into the Yukon and says, "Right, Government of Yukon, you own a tug or an air-start or a pallet loader but who's trained to operate that?" My question: who ensures that Yukoners are trained and where is the cost recovery for the training of these workers on this government-owned equipment? There are cost issues and there are liability issues. Who covers those?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, let me take a crack at this to answer the question. We do have the equipment available. It'll be rented for a nominal fee, enough to cover it. The airline, Canadian, has the expertise in using this tug. As they have the tug and are renting it, training and the liability issues will both lie with the airline as such. So, Canadian is kind of a piece of cake because Canadian is established here and they have their crews, et cetera.
As you look at the issue of a Condor or any of the other airlines that we hope to entice to the Yukon Territory, it will be incumbent upon them to train staff. Now surely, they're not going to be bringing their own crew from Frankfurt, Germany. No, certainly, they will have to live up to the standards; they have to be trained; there has to be liability - and the equipment is there for a nominal fee. Of course, it would be Yukoners; it would just be practical - or they could cut a deal with Canadian Airlines.
There are a few options there for them to look at so that we have efficiency, I would think.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, are there any Government of Yukon staff being trained to operate these pieces of equipment, or is it solely being left to the private sector?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, it just makes sense that we should have some people, and we will have some of our airport people trained in how to move the tug around, et cetera.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, who is paying for the training? Is it the Government of Yukon? If Canadian is training their workers on using these pieces of equipment, and Canadian is therefore supplying the training, is the Government of Yukon making some private sector contractual arrangement with Canadian to train Yukon government workers on these pieces of equipment?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The people who have been trained will pay for the training themselves. So whether it's Canadian, they will pay for that. We will not, but for the people that we train within our own department, we would take from the department, and we would pay for the training for our own people.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Chair, I would just like to return to the minister's comments about purchasing a catering truck for wide-bodied aircraft. The minister indicated that that would certainly be under consideration by the department and that they would be looking at that perhaps within the next budget year. Is the minister undertaking consultations with industry and with the private sector on this? Right now it's a private sector company that handles this, and I'm curious as to what the minister's plans are in this regard and if he could elaborate on that.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly that is definitely one of the issues that could take place. You know, we're a good year away from it now. I'm just sharing our plans with the Member for Porter Creek South - where we have to go and where we will likely go. And certainly we'll be looking at all those issues, but it's a good year away. We haven't really started, but we will start sometime over the course of the summer to look at these initiatives so that they're run tandemly and they're run together.
Ms. Duncan: I'd like to ask the minister for a public commitment that there will be efforts made to work with the private sector in this regard, as opposed to a government purchase and a government initiative - that there be concerted efforts to work with existing Yukon businesses in this respect.
Can I have that public commitment from the minister?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, that will definitely be one of the options.
Ms. Duncan: Mr. Deputy Chair, what other options is the minister considering? He's said twice now, "That's one of the options." What are the other options the minister is considering in this regard?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I have nothing up my sleeve at all. It's just that there might be other options, so certainly I don't rule it out, but certainly the one the Member for Porter Creek South speaks of is probably the preferred option.
But if there are other options out there we have to look at them. So we have to make it so that it doesn't - I'd like to help the private sector any way we possibly can, and that's the intent. But I hate to restrict myself, because other options will flow, but certainly that's the intent of where I want to go.
Mr. Jenkins: I'd just like some clarification on a couple of issues arising out of the debate last night, Mr. Chair, with respect to the Whitehorse Airport, and I'll take the minister back to his statement on page 4912 of the Blues. The minister said, "Yes, Mr. Chair, some of the obstacles that are on the south end and on the west side are where we'll be looking to doing some development. A few of the trees have to be taken out and some of the hill has to be cut a bit. This is all relating back to the 1972 zoning."
Now, if I take that and literally transpose it onto a map of the Whitehorse Airport, I uncover just that small rise on runway 31-left, right next to the Air North hangar. Is that what the minister is referring to?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Chair, that is what we are referring to. The Member for Klondike's got it absolutely right, there. There are a few trees that might have to be cut. I will get the information, as I said, as to how much it would have to be cut. I just don't have that at my fingertips, but certainly I will share that with the member and I think it is available. But that is exactly the location, yes.
Mr. Jenkins: I take the minister back to runway 13-right. There are obstructions in the flight path there. We were told initially that it was the power lines and perhaps a couple of trees that had to be cut down. This is on the approach from the northwest, 13-right, Mr. Chair.
Now, what are the actual obstructions in the flight path there that have to be removed? This is the reason why the NOTAM has been placed on that approach by Transport Canada.
So, I want to know specifically, Mr. Chair, what the obstructions are into the flight path from that approach.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Some of the obstacles on that end are power poles, street lights and trees. I can try to paint a picture in the mind of the member, if I could, because the member is familiar with the airport; I know he's a pilot. So, from that location, if you move to the northwest on the opposite side of the hill where the home is - I believe it's the Salvation Army home, or something, on that hill. The building is just past that. Some of them might have an impediment such as chimneys, but that's just barely there, and that's a part of what's going through the process at this point in time. But predominantly it's the power poles, street lights and the trees.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Chair, I'm led to believe that it's more than just the chimneys on a couple of houses in that area. It's substantially more than just a chimney on a house or two, and we're talking about right across the road from Wajax Industries and Norcan and up on the hillside there as you go up into that area.
Now, to state that it's the chimneys on a house or two won't suffice. I'm led to believe that it's considerably more. In fact, to fully conform, I'm led to believe that the hillside might even have to be lowered in that area to get the full approach and move the VASIS to the full end of the approach on 13 right. Could the minister just clarify as to the total amount of obstructions in the flight path there, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Chair, we have a bit more detail here, and there are houses, chimneys and one satellite dish. If the member is familiar with Valleyview, then it would be the house that is hanging right on the outside edge there. That will be looked after through the process. I do believe it is going to be okay but it's being checked out now because this is only after the 1972 zoning.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, I'm led to believe, due to the information that the minister has provided in the House, that the airport did conform and was valid in all respects up to the time that these new homes that obstruct the flight path were constructed in Valleyview.
Now, how was the permitting for these houses authorized in such close proximity to the airport? Because any time anything is constructed in the approach to an airport, it has to go through a process, and some of these homes that were constructed only recently, Mr. Chair, obviously had to go through some sort of a process. Why wasn't it found out at that juncture?
This is a situation that is dealt with all across Canada and the same rules apply equally, whether it's Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Halifax or Vancouver - they are the same rules, the same process with regard to proximity to the runway and obstructions in the flight path on the approach to the runways.
Now these homes in Valleyview have only recently been constructed. Why wasn't it ascertained prior to their construction that they projected into the flight path?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, the solution, I guess - and whose problem it is - lies with Transport Canada. I was just speaking with the deputy minister here, explaining a bit of the process to me, and the Member for Klondike's absolutely right. If you do an airport from Montreal, Halifax, or whatever, it is Transport Canada who are the people in charge at that point in time.
I was just hearing from the deputy minister that it was not a problem, even when it was transferred to the territorial government in 1996, but it became a noticeable problem when the construction was started in 1998. We are now working within the process to see if we can grandfather it, and I do believe that Transport Canada would probably be very desirous of working with us on this issue.
Mr. Jenkins: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, but unfortunately we just haven't gotten to the bottom of this issue as to what went wrong.
Now, these homes have only recently been constructed in the Valleyview area, Mr. Chair. I guess what we can expect to see - say someone up at Wajax wants to put a 200-foot tower up on their property. What's to stop them? What's the impediment?
There is a process for height restrictions in the approach plate of an international airport. Now, why wasn't this caught when the building permits were applied for for these new homes up in Valleyview?
These are new homes. They didn't exist back in 1972, when the airport was last certified. They've only come into focus just recently, Mr. Chair. This government has the total responsibility for ensuring conformity of this airport to all the applicable rules. Otherwise, Transport Canada won't certify it.
And that's where we're at right now. Transport Canada has come along, and they won't certify the additional use of the total 900 feet for landing purposes on runway 13-right, because of these obstructions.
Now, I want to know what the process is, what went wrong in the department that these new obstructions - that have only recently been constructed - didn't come to the attention of the department.
And furthermore, I want to know what steps we're going to take to ensure that this doesn't occur again, Mr. Deputy Chair.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Mr. Jenkins: Now, the Member for Watson Lake says, "Baby steps", but obviously we didn't take any steps, let alone baby steps.
I want to know why this wasn't picked up through the process that the minister speaks so eloquently of, and what steps we're going to have in the future, to ensure that this situation doesn't arise again.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Deputy Chair, the Member for Klondike is asking about what is the process, and what went wrong, and what steps are we going to take to correct this.
Well, who has the jurisdiction with the building permits certainly lies with the city. The city has the building permit jurisdiction there.
On the regulations now - the regulations, again, are not under the authority of the territorial government either. The regulations lie with Transport Canada. Certainly, steps to take - because I've spoken about what the process is now, what went wrong. What went wrong, possibly, was maybe no communication. I really don't know, because it does lie with the city and their building permits.
Certainly, some of those houses - especially in the front, if you'd call it the front end, or on the east side of where we're talking about in Valleyview - are houses that have been there for a very, very long time.
The houses that are behind them are the houses, maybe, that we're speaking of that have been there for awhile, but certainly that's an issue that lies between the City of Whitehorse, which has the jurisdiction for building permits, and Transport Canada, which has the regulations.
I can also say that, to the same question from the member in the fall of 1998, the answer we got back to the member at that point in time was that the use of the runway was not being impeded by the obstacles that were identified in the notice to any greater extent now than it was prior to the commencement of the expansion project - the notice that provides information as to where the obstacles exist but just continue to use the threshold that was in place prior to the extension.
We're now looking at doing a comprehensive legal survey of the limitation zone and, of course, the findings will be studied by Transport Canada at that time to see what actions could be and should be taken.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, that's just the point. That exercise should have been done and completed before we started extending the runway, and it wasn't. And now we're faced with new construction in Valleyview that projects into the flight path to the approach plate of runway 13-right.
Well, let's look at today. What happens if, tomorrow, someone acquires, say, Wajax's property and wants to put up a 10-story skyscraper and the city permits it because it's zoned correctly and it's all legit according to the city? What's the process and what steps do we have in place for something directly in the flight path and the approach on that runway? Are there none? Because, with the transfer of the airport to the territorial government, Mr. Chair, comes a responsibility to ensure that the flight paths on the approaches are maintained and that nothing further is constructed in the area that projects into those flight paths.
All that Transport Canada is now is the licensing agent. They do all the safety checks, and they either permit it or they don't permit it after they have done their review. Now, the Government of the Yukon has gone ahead and extended the runway. Transport Canada has come in, was called in to certify it. They started the process, and they said, "We can't certify it. We can certify it for takeoff. We can't certify it for landing." So, for landing purposes, only 50 feet of 13-right is useful, and that's because of these obstructions into the flight path, some of which have only recently been constructed, Mr. Chair.
I want to know, Mr. Chair, what steps the department is taking with respect to construction in and around the Whitehorse Airport. What steps are they taking? And I'm sure they have to take it in concert with the city to ensure that nothing further will be constructed that projects into the flight path.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, first of all, let me say that the idea of the extension of the airport was to allow aircraft to take off. That's basically what it was.
Let me speak about the goodness, because I think sometimes that, as we go through the technical debate, that the member gets stuck on the process a little bit and raises purely hypothetical questions.
A 10-storey tower at the end of the airport? That doesn't even fit with the city's zoning requirement at this point in time. I think they only allow four storeys and would allow it to go to five upon a special application or something. I can't quite remember, because it certainly lies within their jurisdiction.
So it is strictly a hypothetical question that the member asks.
Yes, Transport Canada does have control of the regulations at that point. Again, as I said, up to 1996, it was not actually a problem. When the transfer came from them to the territorial government in 1996, it was not a problem. It was not a problem up until 1998 when we did the expansion and the department did the good work and looked at the work. It was introduced in the supplementary budget. It rose to the challenge and here we are now.
Now, let's talk about some of the good that that airport extension has brought to the Yukon Territory. There is a 12-percent increase in people coming to the Yukon. I've just finished reading that 24,000 visitors came during that one period of three months, I do believe, and read out the dollar figures that they have spent here. Was it a good idea? You betcha, it was a good idea. It was a wonderful idea and continues to be a wonderful idea, certainly because it is going to bring people here.
Now, what the member is trying to say about the airport on the north end, right side, is that there are some obstacles and some problems. Absolutely. Some of them are historical and some of them may be contemporary. That is to be decided. We're in a process now with Transport Canada and will continue to find out and see what some of the problems are. Maybe some have to be grandfathered in because of their age requirements and maybe others will be, too, but I do not anticipate that it is going to be a major problem because we are sitting down and we are working at an official-to-official level now to see how we can best get this straightened out.
Is it going to stop the growth of the Yukon economy? No - and I don't think that's where the member is coming from. I think the member is just trying to - I don't know what the member is just trying to do. I think what I'm trying to do is explain that historically there was a problem. I think I've covered that now and I've cleared that up with the member.
Now, the member wants to know what is going to be done in the future. What have we learned or what steps are being taken at this point? Well, certainly I know that the city is very aware of these issues and will be working on these issues but, again, the city has the jurisdiction there. Transport Canada has the regulatory jurisdiction and, of course, we, as a territorial government, are very desirous of improving the airport for the benefit of all Yukoners.
Hence, we have a growth of 12 percent in tourism, and the airport is very much a part of that strategy. So I don't see where there's a problem now. What's to stop somebody from building a 10-storey skyscraper on the Wajax property? Well, I think I've answered that question.
Mr. Jenkins: He might have answered that question, Mr. Chair, but the minister certainly hasn't answered the question that is quite relevant and stems from our debate here today.
If we look at obstacles, Mr. Chair, Transport Canada doesn't distinguish between whether the obstacle is a historical obstacle or a contemporary obstacle - it's still an obstacle. I want to know what steps the department has put in place so that the flight path for the Whitehorse Airport is not going to be jeopardized in the future.
The minister has officials in his department who are quite conversant with the air regs as to distances that garbage dumps have to be from the airport - all of these types of facilities. But if someone can get a building permit in the last year or two and construct a home in Valleyview that projects into the flight path, what is to stop other construction projects from going ahead? What does the department have in place to oversee this?
It's something that's done all across Canada, at all the major airports, in conjunction with the respective municipal or city governments. It's not a new process, but we don't seem to have one here, so this has occurred. I just want to know what steps the minister's taking.
The other area I want to make abundantly clear, Mr. Chair, to the minister is that our party is not opposed to the extension to the Whitehorse Airport. We favour the development of any transportation means that's going to enhance the economy of the Yukon.
As the minister correctly pointed out, the only area of our economy that is shining lately is our visitor industry. Everything else has been destroyed by this government, so let's not take a whack at this last little area that's working for us.
I want to know what the minister is going to do in his department to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again. What steps is he going to be taking? What procedures is the minister going to be putting in place?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Firstly, let me say that I expect the member to vote for this budget. I absolutely expect everybody on that side of the House, because certainly the Liberal Party goes with the Yukon Party. They have ever since - even when they went back to cutting employees' wages, they did; they voted with the government then, historically.
So I certainly expect you folks over there to be supporting this budget, because the words that just spilled out of your mouth - from the Member for Klondike - are words of support for the transportation development that we're doing.
This government is working very hard - very, very hard - to get out of the boom-and-bust cycle of economics here in the Yukon Territory that have been here forever. We're certainly doing that, and I think that this budget proves that and will continue to prove that.
So I do expect the support. Because of all the good infrastructure development here within the budget by both opposition parties, I expect that. I've heard it from one, and I likely will hear it from another soon. Thank you.
Now, if I could say, one of the issues that we are taking for the development of the airport, so that we might have - is that we're doing the airport development plan. The plan is going to be put together with the City of Whitehorse and the territorial government, and is going to be talking and consulting with everybody.
What the development plan will best determine is the use of the airport facilities at the present and into the future of the airport surroundings and the infrastructure.
Of course, the safe and efficient transportation of the travelling public is exactly what we need, but what we will continue to do now is work with the airport development plan so that we might be able to bring all these issues in, in which, of course, the city is a partner. So, certainly, from this moment on, or for quite some time now, I'd say that the city is cognizant of the situation we're in and is very willing and desirous of working with us to continue the good work that the Member for Klondike's going to vote favourably upon, that's contained within this budget.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Chair, that has to be about the biggest bunch of bafflegab I've ever heard. The minister is outdoing himself on a regular basis as to the amount of bafflegab he brings forward in this Legislature. He's shining today.
But the issue is that, surrounding every airport, there's a zone, Mr. Chair. It's a zone established by Transport Canada. Now, while we're doing this study, what is going to protect the integrity of that zone that Transport Canada has established around the Whitehorse Airport? What is going to oversee the development? Surely, the Department of Community and Transportation Services has, in-house in their aviation branch, people who are capable and fully knowledgeable and conversant with this area. Why isn't the minister using them?
Why isn't the minister using them, and why isn't he using these people to put in place control regulations around the Whitehorse Airport so that, if anyone wants to construct something, it is fully reviewed as to whether it will pose a threat because of its projection into the flight path?
It's a very valid question and I'm looking for a very simple answer. Why doesn't the minister do something so that we don't have a repeat performance of this type of fiasco, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, I'd like to just do some gentle massage here if I could. Maybe it will work. No, I think it will work. Everybody feels a little looser here in what they're doing.
Mr. Chair, I'll try to start over again for the benefit of the member. Zoning regulations, airport plan from 1970 to way back when - 20-odd years ago - were a product. Right from that time to 1996 is many, many moons. They came forward. Problems are still there, and we're still working with those problems, if I could say it in that manner. They go through a negotiating process with the territorial government. The territorial government assumes the control as a product of the negotiation process.
Has there been a word said about the obstacles? No, absolutely not. Has there been an airport development plan done? I think the airport development plan was done within the tenure of Transport Canada.
Do we need to do an updated one? Absolutely. Who would be our logical partners? The City of Whitehorse. So hence, we embark upon an airport development plan to look at the present and future uses of the airport, and how it can turn into being an economic generator, even more so than it is at this point in time.
Now, step back. The territorial government comes in with a supplementary budget - a year ago almost to the day, likely - and says that we're going to do this work. Again, we go through the processes and apply for the permits, because I agree with the Member for Klondike that we do have skilled people that are very conversant with the airline's and the aviation industry's requirements - very conversant.
But then, suddenly, a NOTAM was put on because there were obstacles that came to light. Now, those obstacles - some of them included trees; some of them including power poles - were there previous to the 1996 transfer. Transport Canada says we issued a NOTAM - or they, pardon me - issued a NOTAM. We have some problems with this, but there's a process that we can go through, that we are going through, to look at how we could make it safer, how we could fit within the process. We're doing that with our partners - we're going to do that.
I know the member's exasperated, but this is the answer. I'm giving you the straight goods. There's nothing up my sleeves - nothing at all. You're getting the straight goods.
So, we now embark upon the airport development plan, a new, updated version - because the Member for Klondike is supportive of the initiative; he's said it two or three times in the House now, so I expect him to vote for it - that will look at the future usage.
The member wants to know specifically what I'm doing to ensure that building permits are not issues. We have the city at the table, in a government-to-government relationship, to do the development plan. They certainly have been around for - is this not their 100th or close to 100th anniversary? So they have some experience in rules and governance.
So, I'm going to assume that they're going to be a meaningful partner in the airport development plan, and they will represent themselves to see what type of development would be there and how we can have meaningful development within the zoning requirements.
We're looking to the future, and yet we're still looking to the past and to some of the problems, and working within the process that's established with Transport Canada to identify and correct some of those problems.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, the minister just doesn't get it; just doesn't get it. We've been through the lunar cycle, we've been through the airport development plan, we've been through a request that the minister doesn't issue building permits. Well, that's not the point. None of those are relevant to the question. The question is quite specific, Mr. Chair. What steps is the minister taking to protect the integrity of the flight path - the approaches to the Whitehorse Airport?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Thank you very much, Mr. Deputy Chair. It's been a pleasure to work with you this afternoon.
Mr. Chair, Transport Canada, again, does set the requirements - the zoning regulation. That is their job. They're in charge of those type of requirements. It's incumbent upon the individual who will do any of the development and it's also incumbent upon the government. In this case it would be the city to be aware of these zoning regulations.
What I can and will do is write a letter to the city, notifying them - and they are very aware because they're very much a part of the process with us now on the airport development plan - and will confirm with a letter to them that there is a responsibility upon them and they should make it known to the individual citizenry who are going to build their 10-storey skyscraper on the Wajax property.
So, I will do that. Thank you.
Mr. Jenkins: I'd like to thank the minister for finally recognizing that he does have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the flight path to Whitehorse Airport is maintained. I urge him to get hold of the Aeronautics Act and probably have one of his officials within his department complete an executive summary, preferably just a couple of lines, spelling out what obligations the Government of the Yukon has with respect to the ownership and operation of that airport. Because they are quite extensive and quite involved. We seem to have attempted to avoid them for political expediency's sake, and we really don't know what the ultimate costs are going to be.
So I'd urge the minister to get a grip on his responsibilities with respect to the Aeronautics Act and the Whitehorse Airport, for which he has responsibilities.
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Cable: Yesterday there were some questions put to the minister relating to two contracts for solar-based electrical systems - two properties near and on the Hot Springs Road. I'd like to raise some questions in relation to those two installations.
I assume they were done under the rural electrification policy and guidelines. Could the minister tell us what amortization period relates to the two loans that were made? I'll give the minister the contract numbers, just in the event that he doesn't have the information with him. I have a number of other questions that he can answer by way of legislative return, if he doesn't have the information.
The two contract numbers are SS-98-09-3230-01094 - I'm sure the minister will catch it in Hansard - and the second contract is SS-98-09-3180-00945. They respectively relate to installations on Lot 1350, Quad 104 D/14 and Lot 1326, Takhini River Road, Quad 105 D/14.
First of all, if the minister has any information here in the House, could he advise as to whether the deputy has that information with him?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I do believe I've got the numbers. I can check Hansard for the first contract, if the member would care to give it to me again. I can check it, but I know neither I, in my briefing books, nor the deputy have that information here. But, certainly, we'll be more than willing to oblige the member.
Mr. Cable: Okay, the first piece of information I'd like is, what are the payback periods for both of those installations, and is that the common payback period that is used by the department in getting the loans paid back?
I'd like detail also - and perhaps the minister, or his deputy can inform him - as to the rates of interest and when they are determined. The policy talks about a rate of interest as being the Bank of Canada rate in effect at the time the project approval ballot survey is issued, and of course that wouldn't be relevant in the case of projects where there are single electrical installations - where it's not a group installation.
Is the minister aware, at the present time, just how the interest rate is determined and when it starts to run?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The Member for Riverside is correct in his summation. On the two contract numbers, I would have to check the date that they were all signed, et cetera, to give the exact interest rates, and I will do that. I don't have that information here, though. I don't have the dates at all, but it will be applicable to the bank rate at the date it was signed.
Mr. Cable: Just let me tell the minister what I want, and then I'll sit down, and he can retrieve the information, and hopefully provide a legislative return.
I'd like the term of the loans, as I indicated firstly. I'd like also to determine the total assessed value of the land and improvements. That's public knowledge. The assessment rolls are public knowledge, and the reason I'm asking that is that the value of the contract is limited to a maximum of 25 percent of the total assessed value of land and improvements.
I'd like the minister to tell me, in this return, when that total assessed value is determined - whether it's the date of the contract, like the most recent value shown on the assessment rolls at the date of the respective contracts.
I'd like also for the minister to reply whether the public utility runs by the two properties that are having the installations installed, whether there was a viable alternative to the installation of the solar-based electrical systems and whether there was interconnection possibilities to the public utility.
Could the minister provide that information by way of legislative return?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Absolutely.
Chair: Is there further general debate?
Before proceeding to O&M, the Chair would like to make a statement on recent events. On reviewing the Blues for last evening, it is clear that certain comments were made by the Minister of Community and Transportation Services that were personal and insulting. At the time, the Chair did ask members not to make personal and insulting remarks and to address their remarks through the Chair. Neither the Member for Riverdale North, who rose on a point of order, nor the Chair identified any specific remarks as being unparliamentary, nor did the Chair rule that any specific remarks should be withdrawn.
It should also be noted that it has not been the practice of Speakers of the Assembly or Chairs of Committee of the Whole to insist that all remarks found to be objectionable be withdrawn. In the past, however, members who have made remarks that have caused disorder often have voluntarily withdrawn those remarks. This assists the House in getting debate back on a civil note and allowing it to continue in an orderly fashion.
Members on both sides have made remarks lately that the Chair finds abusive and insulting. The Chair would ask all members not to make disparaging remarks about other members.
It has been my practice not to interrupt members while they are speaking to ask them to keep their remarks parliamentary. In the future, it will be my intention to intervene more quickly when remarks are made that are likely to create disorder.
On Operation and Maintenance Expenditures
On Office of the Deputy Minister
Chair: Is there any general debate on this program?
Mr. Jenkins: Perhaps, as we proceed line by line, if the minister could, to speed up the process, just stand where there is a significant change or where my colleague from the sunny side of Riverdale, or Riverdale South, or I indicate we'd like further information, Mr. Chair.
Chair: Seeing no general debate, we will proceed to Activities, Deputy Minister's Office.
On Deputy Minister's Office
Deputy Minister's Office in the amount of $268,000 agreed to
On Emergency Measures
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, I take your introductory remarks to heart and I will attempt to live by them. Thank you very much.
Mr. Chair, $198,000 is for personnel and it includes, of course, the salaries, wages and benefits of the director, a training coordinator and an administrative assistant; $129,000 is for Other, which includes, of course, $35,000 for travel, $13,000 in honoraria for volunteer duty officers, and $14,000 for various contract-related services; $4,000 for repair and maintenance of equipment; $5,000 for rental of vehicles; $16,000 for communication and $20,000 for training.
Mr. Jenkins: Just as a matter of general interest, Mr. Chair, will EMO be running any specific exercises dealing with Y2K in the next little while, and are these being budgeted for?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, the Minister of Government Services does have a minister's committee on the Y2K. They're working with several of the departments, of course, of which C&TS is one. Within government, we've also got the Association of Yukon Communities, the City of Whitehorse, the Department of National Defence and the RCMP that are working and coming together to formulate a plan. On the exercises that might formulate out of the plan, I would have to get an update and provide information to the members. I believe that's what he was asking - if there's a specific exercise.
Mr. Jenkins: I think it's quite important, Mr. Chair, that EMO conducts a couple of exercises with respect to this potential problem. If the minister could bring back a leg return as to where we're going and how we're going to get there, I'd certainly appreciate it.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Absolutely.
Emergency Measures in the amount of $327,000 agreed to
Communications in the amount of $388,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on the stats?
Mrs. Edelman: Under community TV and radio, Tagish, there's an application coming in to the CRTC on TV and radio in that area. Is there any position from YTG on that application?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Would it be possible to have the question repeated, please?
Mrs. Edelman: There's a private individual out at Tagish who has put an application in to the Canadian Radio and Telecommunications group, CRTC, for both TV and radio, and I'm wondering if the Government of Yukon has developed a position on that application to the CRTC.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, Mr. Chair, we do not have a government position on that.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, can I get clarification? Is the government developing a position on this, or do they have no position?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, Mr. Chair, we're not planning to do a position on that.
Mr. Jenkins: With respect to CBC Radio - there has been a move for quite a number of years by CBC to go completely FM - frequency modulation - versus AM broadcasts, and most of the AM stations are being pulled out of existence. CBC did promise to extend their coverage. Has the department developed a policy in concert with CBC to urge them to consider the extension of CBC-FM coverage?
I believe at one time they were going to try and cover all of the major highways in Yukon. How close are we to achieving this, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, the stations that the Member for Klondike speaks of, the CBC-FM station coverage - I guess, of course, they lie within the responsibility of the territorial government and are subject to the budgetary requirements. Of course, we do not have anything for the extension in this budget. But we do have - the member would know, I guess - on Paint Mountain and Ferry Hill and Horse Camp Hill, yes.
Office of the Deputy Minister in the amount of $983,000 agreed to
On Corporate Services Division
On Human Resources
Human Resources in the amount of $359,000 agreed to
On Finance, Systems and Administration
Finance, Systems and Administration in the amount of $827,000 agreed to
On Policy, Planning and Evaluation
Policy, Planning and Evaluation in the amount of $371,000 agreed to
Corporate Services Division in the amount of $1,557,000 agreed to
On Transportation Division
On Maintenance and Engineering Administration
Mr. Jenkins: Just on the secondments of personnel - we did get in the technical briefing an overview of who is going where. Are we still anticipating the same secondments, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Since the briefing has taken place, nothing has happened, Mr. Chair.
Maintenance and Engineering Administration in the amount of $1,516,000 agreed to
On Highway Maintenance
Mrs. Edelman: Is part of this maintenance road the Tagish Road, just past the bridge, on the way to Carcross? So that would be under the rural roads program, then - the minister seems to be indicating? I'm talking about maintenance at this point. If it is under this line, then I wonder if the minister can give us some detail about any increases in the maintenance costs on that road, perhaps to justify some of the major work that's going to be done in that area this year?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: There's a reduction from the previous year of $169,000, and that's because we previously did $100,000 worth of crushing and $45,000 worth of resurfacing and $20,000 in brush and weed control. That amounts to the reduction; that's right.
Mr. Jenkins: Mr. Chair, I do have some concerns with the reductions in highway maintenance we've been clearly given to believe are realistic over the last number of budget periods. Some of these reductions are clearly identified as relating to the reduction in trucking activity from the mine in Faro, but having recently travelled a number of Yukon highways, I am quite concerned with the deterioration of the Alaska Highway west of Whitehorse. I was wondering at what point the department is going to become involved in removing the roller-coaster ride that one experiences travelling west of Whitehorse - and I'm not referring to the Shakwak projects or anything of that nature. There are quite a few sections that are coming apart very, very badly.
Where are we going to be chipsealing this summer, I guess, if we're into this area, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I would have to provide the member with the chipsealing program, which I will, and I do believe there are tests for the chipsealing. Have you folks received that? Because I can supply that to you, which tells you the test of when you would. I think I sent that to you last year. I'm not sure.
Okay. But I will get the chipsealing program available. I don't have it at my fingertips right here. I'm sorry.
Mr. Jenkins: Just in general terms, is the chipsealing program for this summer going to be on par with previous periods, or up or down, or are we parking most of the equipment? What's happening there?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It's very close to the same, Mr. Chair, but I certainly don't have previous years here, but I certainly will check.
Mr. Jenkins: The other maintenance item that gives rise to concern is that a number of the YTG highways employees are not being recalled as early as they have been in previous years. What is giving rise to this later recall notice, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: You know, it's the budgets; we've held our own end budget basically this year. Budgets are tight. We work within the confines of the budget, Mr. Chair, but certainly are very desirous of getting everybody back to work.
Mr. Jenkins: Thank you, Mr. Chair, but the budget, as I see it, has gone from $28,410,000 in the 1997-98 actual to the 1998-99 forecast of $28,123,000, and now, the 1999-2000 of $28,163,000 - very little variance.
Why is there quite a change in the recall of Department of Highway personnel in rural Yukon and in Whitehorse, I also might add, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, I've been informed by the deputy minister that, of the 400 employees of C&TS - I asked the question: if they're normally hired on this date and they're not being hired on this date, what is the time lapse? I just don't know of 400 employees.
Of the forecast of $28,123,000, to the estimates of $28,163,000, of course the employees' settlement and the inflationary costs are combined in there, and it just makes that much more for smarter spending. It seems more, but it is actually less with the manpower that the department has.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, that's not what I'm hearing, Mr. Chair. What I'm hearing is that normally there is a rehire program right at the beginning of the new fiscal year, starting April 1. A lot of individuals are recalled to go back to work. That hasn't happened this year. Now, what has changed so that we do not need all the individuals in the Department of Highways coming back on stream as they have in the past? If we don't need them, why are we still maintaining the high level of management and administration?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, we're speaking of the auxiliary people right now. I've been assured that every auxiliary employee will be called this year - some just a little later than normal, but certainly not that much later. In this instance, because we're dealing with auxiliary employees, it doesn't mix with the management end of things, as the Member for Klondike stated, but certainly we're not laying anybody off, and everybody that is an auxiliary will be recalled, just somewhat a little bit later, and it will be because of some of the reasons that I spoke of earlier - the dollars that I've allocated. But certainly everybody will be recalled.
Mr. Jenkins: How much of a reduction in total hours worked by these auxiliaries and these late recalls will occur? Now, some of these individuals are normally recalled on April 1, the commencement of the new fiscal year. I understand that some of them are being put off and not recalled until almost June. We're talking 60 days there. What has taken place or what isn't taking place in order that these individuals are not required?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: On the second question, I guess it is, I would have to find out, although I do know that we're not going to be recalling people for three months. It's going to be much shorter than that, but I'll have to get a more accurate figure to the Member for Klondike.
And as to the total hour reduction, I just don't have that, but I will definitely get that and supply that.
Mr. Jenkins: As highway systems improve, we require fewer and fewer in the way of maintenance individuals, and as they're upgraded and chipped, usually the maintenance requirement goes down, given the level of traffic, of course. But have the changes in highway usage justified this reduction in C&TS employees in the highway department? Has the downturn in the economy - less trucking, less commercial activity, less private activity on our highways - resulted in the need for fewer highway maintenance individuals?
Something has to drive this. Now, what drives it? It's not just the budget, because the budget is increased and decreased depending on the level of, primarily, commercial activity. And if you'll note, the Klondike Highway right from the border coming out of Skagway, right through to Faro, usually requires a lot of attention when the trucks are running on it. When they're not running on it, it's considerably less. The frequency of grading for snow removal is also dependent on the use of the road. We now allow more to accumulate before we send the graders out.
So, there are all of these variables thrown into the scenario, but what I don't see, Mr. Chair, is a reduction in the administration and overhead costs. All the bottom-end costs seem to be flexible and variable, but we seem to keep the same overhead in place. Why is that, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, the member states that it can't be just the budget. Well, it is a lot to do with the budget and, certainly, we don't have the commercial activity, such as the Faro ore haul that we had at that point in time. We are very hopeful that we'll be coming out of the economic slump.
At this point in time, as I said, we're going to be able to recall all of our auxiliary employees. That's certainly what we want to do and are going to be doing. We're going to come out of the slump that we're in at this point in time and, certainly, I do not wish to lose any of the skilled workforce, both at the management level and at the maintenance level. It's very important that both are kept intact for the benefit of the Yukon territorial government.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, the other question that's asked of me quite frequently by a number of these individuals that haven't yet been recalled is, will they be receiving enough work to qualify for EI?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, I'm not sure what the EI requirements are, really. I really don't know. But certainly the standard that we try to live up to is that we have them hired for a basic minimum of three months.
Highway maintenance in the amount of $28,163,000 agreed to
Mr. Jenkins: We have a small increase here, Mr. Chair, and I'm sure that's directly related to removing satellite dishes, chimneys, houses and hills and trees and power lines from the Whitehorse International Airport.
Is that the case, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, it's not the case, Mr. Chair, not at all. It relates mainly to fully recoverable increase in expenditures under the agreement with NavCan, and, of course, that's examples like Watson Lake going to 24 hours, and others going to 18 hours, if I recall.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, in this line, is there any money set aside for dealing with the old TNTA building? And what are our plans with the old TNTA building, as far as cleaning it up?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, that lies within the responsibility of Trans North, and after it's all settled, it will be done and cleaned up.
Mrs. Edelman: I think that the point that was at the end of the last question was that, once it is cleaned up, what are we going to do with that area?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: That will definitely become part of the planning process.
Mrs. Edelman: Is that going to become part of the planning process for an airport extension, an extension that we will be using to service the large aircraft when they come in?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, it definitely could be for parking the bigger aircraft, or something. It's quite a good little piece there, but we're working with the proponents on it, and we're going to be doing an airport plan, which a lot of the operators are very excited about, because they see it as an opportunity to really lay out the airport. It's something they've been wanting.
Airports in the amount of $5,246,000 agreed to
On Transport Services
Transport Services in the amount of $2,412,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the supplementary information or statistics?
Mr. Jenkins: Just on the supplementary information, Mr. Chair, I have a couple of small questions. The equipment replacement - given the number of equipment suppliers that have closed shop in the Yukon and are not maintaining repair facilities and parts departments here, is there a move afoot by C&TS to source only those suppliers that are maintaining full parts and service facilities here in the Yukon?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I've been informed that, in some cases, that's not always the case where they do, and certainly it's a good suggestion and I will take it into consideration to ensure that we do have parts that are available to us at all times, because I understand that, sometimes, we don't. So it's a good point.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, also in the supplementary information under previous purchase forecasts, there was a change in plan to go from 10 regular pickups to seven extended cabs. I don't need the minute detail at this point on that decision, but I wonder if at some point the minister could provide that to me in some written form.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Absolutely, I can give the information in written form to the member.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Chair, is the minister prepared to develop a policy within Community and Transportation Services and advise the industry accordingly that they will only be purchasing equipment - i.e. loaders, trucks, graders, heavy equipment, backhoes, things of that nature - from those who have and maintain parts and service facilities here in the Yukon? Because it's going to become more and more critical, given the downturn in our economy, and it does provide an incentive for those suppliers and equipment manufacturers and their representatives to stay in business here. They may have to downscale considerably, but they would be less apt to close up shop and go away. If the government has a policy aimed in this direction, it would certainly discourage them from closing up and going away. And, you know, we're talking about all our major acquisitions for all our heavy pieces of equipment. We've pretty well standardized the last few years, but I'm seeing some of those suppliers closing up. Ultimately, we have to source in other areas and play transportation costs - never mind the delay - inventory, higher numbers of components, and it's going to get tougher and tougher. Is the minister prepared to look at a policy in that regard?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: In these times, it's very important to keep it local as much as possible. So certainly, we'd be more than willing to look at those types of issues to ensure that we can try to keep our dollars at home here in the Yukon.
Mr. Jenkins: I have another question on the statistics. About 50 percent of the road surfaces are now hard-surface. What's the plan to extend it from there, Mr. Chair? Are we looking at extending the number of kilometers of roads surfaced with BST or is there a juncture at which we're going to stop?
I know this NDP government is not favouring our highway system nor attempting to do anything with it, other than when Uncle Sam sends money over and we call it Shakwak money. At what point are we going to stop extending the surfacing of highways? Is there any game plan in place, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, no, we're certainly desirous of having all roads in the Yukon come to, at some point, a hard surface.
Some Hon. Member: (Inaudible)
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, exactly, the member knows when I say "all", I don't mean the tote roads and that type of thing, but certainly the primary roads and maybe even for some of the secondary roads, as they're reclassified over time, it would be very desirous to do.
Of course, we have to continue with some road building programs, as we are, and carry on so that we can have adequate beds and those types of situations underneath the road before we chipseal. But, certainly, it's not something that, on December 31, 1999, we wake up in the morning and our program is over. It's nothing like that at all. It's certainly very desirous to have good roads for the safety of our travelling public and tourists, et cetera.
Mr. Jenkins: Just another question on the supplemental information, Mr. Chair - if I could take the minister to community airports, there are only two that are paved in the Yukon. At what juncture will we be looking at paving the runway surface at Dawson?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, we are working with the people of Dawson. We know that they are desirous of having that and it is a part of the process that we're going through at this point in time with the people.
I would like to say, though, that I went and had a yak with some of the operators who work out of the Whitehorse Airport here and, without question, every one of them was quite pleased with our rural airports. They actually said that, in comparison to other jurisdictions they fly into on a regular basis, they were very pleased with the program that we have as a territorial government for the operation and maintenance of rural airports.
So, I certainly take that to heart and I thank the people for that because it's up to government to continue with the good program as we have been.
But, certainly, in the case specific to the Member for Klondike's question as to the Dawson airport, certainly we're going to continue to work with the people to identify a good airport initiative there.
Transportation Division in the amount of $37,337,000 agreed to
On Municipal and Community Affairs Division
On Assistant Deputy Minister's Office
Assistant Deputy Minister's Office in the amount of $172,000 agreed to
On Lands and Property Assessments
Mr. Jenkins: Could the minister advise the House when the assessment branch will be doing the property and improvement assessment for the Town of Faro?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I do believe that'll be done this year.
Mr. Jenkins: We believe it will be done this year. Will it be done this year, or will it not be done this year, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, we recognize that the municipality is due for a reassessment and will be undertaking the necessary fieldwork in 1999, in time for the 2000 taxation year.
Mr. Jenkins: Now, how about Watson Lake?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I'll have to check at the break, but I do believe it could be this year also, but I'll have to check at the break.
Lands and Property Assessments in the amount of $3,365,000 agreed to
On Public Safety
Public Safety in the amount of $1,498,000 agreed to
On Sport and Recreation
Mr. Jenkins: If the minister could provide detail on that line.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Chair - $341,000 for personnel, which of course includes the salaries and benefits for the director position, administration staff, and three positions in the community recreation support. There's $140,000 for other initiatives, including $35,000 for travel, $5,000 for honoraria, $7,000 for contract services, $42,000 for repair and maintenance, $11,000 for supply, $8,000 for program material, $12,000 for communication, and $13,000 for training.
Watson Lake reassessment of land was done in 1997, and the buildings were done in 1989. The department planned to do a reassessment of the buildings in 1999.
Mrs. Edelman: One of the initiatives under the rec branch is to work with the Department of Education on the daily phys ed. curriculum, which is a new way of presenting physical education to Yukon students, and it stems from a number of different sources, one of them being the recommendation from the Canadian Medical Association for daily phys ed. for all students in all schools at all grade levels at all times.
So, what I'm wondering about is, where are we with that program? If the minister doesn't have that information at his fingertips, I will be very pleased to receive some sort of written update on that program.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The Yukon's active-living task force will be developing specific recommendations and strategies for the introduction of the new physical education curriculum from K to 12. The task force is certainly due to be completed and submitted to Cabinet by November 30 of this year.
Mrs. Edelman: I think that what I need is just a little bit more detail. Is there going to be a community board that works with the department? Who are the advisors? Who's the advisor from the Department of Education? When are we looking at getting that implemented into the Yukon curriculum, et cetera?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, I'll have to get back, but I will with all the data that's required as to who, when, how, why, what, where.
Sport and Recreation in the amount of $1,820,000 agreed to
On Community Services
Mr. Jenkins: A lot of these expenses, Mr. Chair, relate to services to unorganized communities, and the other day, in general debate, the minister was asked when the cost of these services provided to rural Yukon unincorporated communities was last increased - like for sewage reduction, water delivery, garbage.
I know that there has been a review that's been underway. We still haven't received the results of that review. We're quite some time into that review, and yet we're dealing with probably the smallest numbers of Yukoners across the territory.
Is there a move afoot by the department to increase recoveries in these areas in this fiscal period?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: At this point in time, Mr. Chair, no.
Mr. Jenkins: My understanding of it is that it's been almost a decade since these costs were last looked at and increased. I know there's a review underway and we're probably using that as the vehicle to justify them, but when is all this process going to come to a conclusion and when are we going to be seeing more cost recovery in this area?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The question that was asked, I answered the other night. It was on the review of the rural services, et cetera. We are going to be having that out, hopefully, by the end of the year and, of course, it will have implications in it and we'll be working with those implications.
Mr. Jenkins: I'd just like to know what is taking so long for us to go through this process, Mr. Chair. It's a very simple one. It's a very easy one. What's the difficulty with reaching a conclusion?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It's not really difficult to reach a conclusion. We want to make sure that we reach out to all people and that we do a good job of it. It is in process at this point in time and, as I've said, when it's gone through the Cabinet, I will certainly be more than willing to share it at that time.
Community Services in the amount of $16,413,000 agreed to
On Engineering and Development
Engineering and Development in the amount of $728,000 agreed to
Chair: Any questions on the stats or recoveries?
Mrs. Edelman: Under statistics - fire responses and the number of inspections - the number of inspections is up by 13 percent, which is a considerable change. Is there a change in policy that is bringing up the number of inspections in the Yukon, or is that added responsibility from devolution?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Neither, Mr. Chair. It's gone up 25, and that is all.
Municipal and Community Affairs Division in the amount of $23,996,000 agreed to
Operation and Maintenance Expenditures for the Department of Community and Transportation Services in the amount of $63,873,000 agreed to
Chair: Do the members wish to recess?
Some Hon. Members: Agreed.
Chair: We will have a 10-minute recess.
Chair: I will now call Committee of the Whole to order. Committee is dealing with the Department of Community and Transportation Services. We're on capital. Is there general debate?
On Capital Expenditures
Mr. Jenkins: Well, Mr. Chair, when we look at the whole Department of Community and Transportation Services and their total budget, virtually all of the superbloopers that have occurred have occurred in this region. It's probably an opportune time to just review the areas where - I guess in large part due to political direction - the department appears to have erred, or made a mistake, or a series of mistakes that are being called into question by the Yukon residents.
We only have to look at the Whitehorse waterfront - their squatter relocation to agricultural land and parkland, or attempt to relocate to parkland. There's about the first, and probably the biggest, superblooper.
Then we move into the development of mobile home lots, when currently there's an oversupply, Mr. Chair. And we have another superblooper.
Then we have the extension to the runway at the Whitehorse Airport. We don't do our homework, and now we find out that there are trees, power lines, satellite dishes, chimneys, and indeed houses - plural, more than one house - in the approach that are precluding the Whitehorse runway extension from becoming fully operational.
Then we look at the major initiative, which is the Shakwak project. This was an initiative that was looked upon very, very favourably by all members of this House, but when that money comes into focus, what does the department do? It reduces virtually all other capital expenditures. It reduces all of their O&M. Overall, it looks like they're spending the same sums of money or a little bit more, but when you remove the Shakwak from the budget picture, we're doing less and less.
We're recalling our seasonal workers later. We're doing less maintenance and very, very few capital projects in Community and Transportation Services.
Of course, we look at some of the capital funding agreements that the minister has had difficulty explaining or justifying. He's probably just going to send over more money and try to hide it under the rug again - the fire hall in Burwash: another superblooper.
Of course, if you want to look on the legislative side as to the superbloopers that this minister is responsible for, we still allow people to ride in the back of pickups, and if somebody is charged with an offence when it's a commercial vehicle, we don't punish the person who commits the offence, we punish the owner of the commercial vehicle by impounding it - a process set up as a bureaucratic maze.
But when we look at the overall department, the potential for capital initiatives are tremendous here in the Yukon. It is simply tremendous, Mr. Chair. This is an opportunity for this government to put Yukoners back to work, but what does it do? It chooses to keep this money in its war chest - save it for an election year, I guess. Well, we're about 17 months away if we look at the election being held at the same time, and never before has the economy, in recent history, been in the toilet as much as it is today here in the Yukon, Mr. Chair.
I'm hopeful, Mr. Chair, that Community and Transportation Services will see its way clear to bringing back a supplementary budget with additional capital expenditures that are going to enhance business opportunities here in the Yukon, that'll put Yukoners back to work and provide the necessary infrastructure and tools with which Yukoners can build businesses.
Now, this government did it once. Due to poor planning, there are a few of these areas that have gone astray, but this is a wonderful opportunity, given the extent of the budget surplus that this government currently enjoys - a wonderful opportunity to put Yukoners back to work; a wonderful opportunity, Mr. Chair, to get the economy moving again.
The budget, as it's presented, cannot be supported by myself, and I'm sure my colleagues will be of the same favour, Mr. Chair. The issue before us is what this budget does for Yukoners. It doesn't do enough, especially Community and Transportation Services, especially the capital budget.
Every business here in the Yukon is suffering. We were told this 1999-2000 budget was called "building on solid foundations". Well, I guess when it was presented it was a very solid foundation, because it was frozen, Mr. Chair.
What we're heading into is the springtime, and the permafrost under this solid foundation is melting. Now, this budget appears to be, in a large part, constructed on permafrost. I guess, in the wintertime, it looked like a clear, nice surface, but I guess, as the temperature changes and spring arrives and summer is upon us, it'll turn into the bog that it is and keep the economy of the Yukon right there with it.
So I look forward to debate in this capital part of the Community and Transportation Services budget but, as to the effects it's going to have on the economy of the Yukon, it can certainly do a lot more. It could put a lot more Yukoners to work; it could benefit a lot more here in the Yukon than is currently proposed.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It's always a pleasure, indeed, to stand up and rebut the Member for Klondike. First of all, I'd like to say that we do have an understanding, and the people are going to make that decision, as the member said, in approximately 17 months. We'll leave it for them. I certainly understand that I'm at complete philosophical odds with the Member for Klondike.
What the Member for Klondike classifies as superbloopers, I classify as initiatives by a very progressive government - in terms of the airport, in terms of working with the people on the waterfront, et cetera.
I've heard the Member for Klondike say that the official opposition party looked upon the Shakwak favourably. And then he carries on and on and on and on about different initiatives. But let me say, Mr. Chair, that this budget does not go out on the old 1,000 kilometres of road, et cetera. But we do build roads. We build schools. We plan for the future in terms of our elderly and looking after our elderly. We look toward training funds for our youth, for people who are not as advantaged or as favoured as we are.
We do many, many things. And contained within many of those budgets, or those initiatives, are jobs - real jobs. I mean, from the economy to the environment, we've got initiatives going that are going to affect all. And it will only be the future generations that will see the benefit of this, because it is planned for the immediate future. But it has a vision with it, and it is the implementation of that vision that is very, very important to this government, Mr. Chair.
So I welcome the debate, Mr. Chair, with the Member for Klondike. A debate is always good and constructive. And who knows? Throughout the process of debate we both might have the opportunity to learn from each other. Because I do know that the Member for Klondike does have things to learn, and certainly I have some things to share with the Member for Klondike. So certainly I look forward to debate, and that exchange.
On Office of the Deputy Minister
On Emergency Measures
Emergency Measures in the amount of $60,000 agreed to
On Community TV and Radio
Community TV and Radio in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On VHF System
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, can we have detail on that line, please?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Chair. It's for the MDMRS system, to purchase replacement mobile and portable radios. It's an ongoing part of upgrading.
VHF System in the amount of $15,000 agreed to
On Prior Years' Projects
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
Office of the Deputy Minister in the amount of $85,000 agreed to
On Corporate Services Division
On Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space
Office Furniture, Equipment, Systems and Space in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
Corporate Services Division in the amount of $100,000 agreed to
On Transportation Division
On Transportation Facilities
On Maintenance Camp Facilities and Equipment
Maintenance Camp Facilities and Equipment in the amount of $475,000 agreed to
On Prior Years' Projects
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On Transportation Engineering and Planning
On Transportation Planning
Mr. Phillips: Is there any money in that line item for the Atlin Road? I know there are more and more discussions about the Tulsequah mine and things that might take place there. Maybe the minister could bring us up to speed on what planning we've done with that? I don't expect we're doing much work there yet because there's been no go-ahead, but what have we done with respect to planning?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, as I reported and the member is quite correct, there has been no construction done or anything like as such. The member is quite right. There is not any capital work done but we're proceeding and working with folks and we're looking at the two options, as I think I reported to the Legislature before. One is to bring it right up to an 80 kilometre-an-hour design standard, with light BST surfaces, and the costs for that are estimated at around $10.4 million. The second option would involve spot construction where there are problem areas and, at that point, it would be $7.1 million.
So, that's the type of work we're doing. We're looking to get a good handle on it in that manner.
Transportation Planning in the amount of $300,000 agreed to
On Transportation Engineering (materials and inventory management)
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, can we get detail on that line, please?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The $400,000 includes two projects. One is in the amount of $200,000 for highway inventory management for such items as engineering work as it arises on short notice and then, of course, for various other minor projects. And then another $200,000 is going to be land and granular resource management for management of all lands and delivery of programs.
Transportation Engineering (materials and inventory management) in the amount of $400,000 agreed to
On Highway Construction
On Non-YTG Funded:
On Alaska Highway-Shakwak
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, once again, can the minister give us more detail on how long the agreement is for and the amounts, and when we're going to negotiations to further that agreement?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, I believe it was a five-year agreement with one year already gone through and with four left to go, and, of course, through a part of our ongoing meetings with Alaska, we'll always be lobbying for that. And I certainly appreciate the help that we receive from the House.
Alaska Highway-Shakwak in the amount of $19,050,000 agreed to
On Prior Years' Projects
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on prior years' projects?
On YTG Funded:
On Alaska Highway
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, on the Alaska Highway, I raised this last year, and I think last year the minister said that there was going to be some work done on it. The minister is probably aware of it as well, but there is an awful lot of frost heaves between the McClintock River Bridge and the Lewes River Bridge or the Yukon River Bridge, the one that was painted. The road appears to be breaking up there a little each spring, especially down in the hollow. Is there any planned work for repair on those areas?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, it is one of the initiatives that we'll have to look at in the future. I think, as the member knows, it is pavement in that portion; it's not BST. So certainly it's one of the initiatives that we have to look at in future years, because it is deteriorating, as the member says.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, that's not anywhere in their five-year capital plan that I could find, so I'm just wondering what does the minister mean by "future years"? Are we going to go for the next five years at least without any work being done on it? Have we done any engineering work on it? Are we doing anything at all other than the minister and me complaining about it every time we drive over it? What exactly are we doing?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, no, it is a part of the department's ambition. The department has been monitoring and watching it. Of course, it was done many years ago as a type of experiment for conditions there. Certainly, in certain parts it needs to be refurbished, and the department is very well aware of that, as we are here.
Mr. Phillips: I have one last question, Mr. Chair. Other than sort of running along with that little machine that fills the cracks with tar, are we going to be doing any repairs to any of it or are we just not bothering with it? There are some fairly significant frost heaves that come out every spring, and they're starting to come out now. I'm just wondering if we're not doing anything to it other than monitoring it or are we going to be doing any minor repair work to it this season?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I've been informed by the deputy that we'll be doing minor spot repairs along the road there.
Alaska Highway in the amount of $340,000 agreed to
On Campbell Highway
Campbell Highway in the amount of $1,050,000 agreed to
On Dempster Highway
Dempster Highway in the amount of $200,000 agreed to
On Tagish Road
Tagish Road in the amount of $150,000 agreed to
On Bridges - Numbered Highways
Bridges - Numbered Highways in the amount of $870,000 agreed to
On Other Roads
Mr. Jenkins: One of the initiatives under other roads is the bypass around Carmacks. Given the closure of the BYG mine, is there a need for that bypass? It doesn't look like BYG will come back on line in the very near future, unless the minister's got some advice to the contrary that he'd like to share with the House.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, not at this point in time. We're just doing very minor work at this point in time, because we've taking into consideration what the member has said.
Mr. Jenkins: Am I given to understand that we're not going to proceed with the Carmacks project because it's been cancelled now - the bypass - as a consequence of the BYG mine closure?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, no, no, it has not been cancelled at all, either. It has not been cancelled.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, why would we continue with it and push this project through if there's not going to be the need, given the closure of the BYG mine?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: We're working in partnership with the Village of Carmacks, and the Village of Carmacks is interested in seeing it proceeding to this level - and that was a direct request of the mayor.
Mr. Jenkins: But that was all directly related to the traffic going back and forth to BYG. There were approximately 60 or 70 employees at the mine site, a lot of them commuting back and forth to their homes in Carmacks and Whitehorse and Faro - and some of them even in Dawson City. But since the closure of that mine, that traffic no longer exists.
Could the minister advise what the justification is? Unless he has information that the mine's going to be reopening in the near future, which I don't believe he has, all the indications are that this mine is down until precious metal prices recover and they find a way around their tailings pond and get into compliance with the federal regulatory authorities.
Why are we proceeding with this project, given the closure of that mine? That's the reason for the project in the first place. If the mine doesn't exist, why are we completing the project, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, the $50,000 is not necessarily for the completion of the whole project. It's going to take much more money than that. But working with the village council and the mayor - well, with the mayor on behalf of the village council - they're very desirous of continuing this limited work, just simply for the fact that it makes conditions around their community a little easier.
We're going to be focusing on the first portion of the bypass road in conjunction with the Village of Carmacks to help them with some of their future plans of expansion et cetera.
Mr. Jenkins: Well, the same holds true for a crossing of the Yukon River at Dawson City. The town is very desirous of it - the people there - and the spinoffs and the economic benefits that would accrue to Yukon as a consequence of the construction of that bridge would be tremendous, compared to the reasons given for this bypass road in Carmacks.
Well, I guess we're going to build a bypass to a mine that's closed - to a closed mine, Mr. Chair. Now, how does a community get on this elevated platform where we can see a project spearheaded and paid for totally by C&TS come to fruition? And I'm referring specifically to a bridge across the Yukon River at Dawson City.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, I do have good working relationships with other politicians, maybe of different magnitudes, but that's how you get on. It's just part of working hand in hand in a government-to-government type relationship. That's certainly what this government likes to do.
For the bridge in Dawson, as the member well knows, we're going to continue and finish up with the environmental studies that are required. That is happening at this point in time.
Certainly, Mr. Chair, there's a big difference, if I could say, between the estimated cost of the bridge being $25 million and the money that's being expended here of $50,000. Well, my gosh, that comes out to $24,950,000, which is certainly a much bigger magnitude.
Mr. Jenkins: The difference is, Mr. Chair, that the bridge will link a highway system and bring visitors into the Yukon and allow them to travel and spend more time in the Yukon on their way to Alaska. It will have tremendous economic spinoffs for Yukon, whereas this road that the minister is proposing is going to a mine that's closed. And the minister is not aware of it reopening. Neither is anyone else, so that's the difference.
But I guess the minister, in his preamble to it, spelled it out quite succinctly. If you work with us, which means if you're an NDP riding or, I guess, if you're a squatter, you can get all these benefits. Otherwise, forget about it. They're not going to flow your way. I'm sure that's what the minister actually meant to say, Mr. Chair.
Other Roads in the amount of $1,050,000 agreed to
On Prior Years' Projects
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On Aviation/Yukon Airports
Mr. Jenkins: Is this the capital expense of moving all these satellite dishes, houses, trees, brush and everything from the end of the Whitehorse International Airport? I guess there is quite a list now. There are satellite dishes, chimneys, houses, power lines - it goes on and on. I don't know what we'll uncover when we're finished.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, Mr. Chair, this is not for moving satellite dishes, moving trees or moving houses.
Mr. Phillips: Mr. Chair, the minister said earlier that one of the obstructions that's a problem at the Whitehorse Airport are some houses. Is the minister trying to get them exempted? I don't know if you can really get them exempted by Transport Canada. It would mean the NOTAM would stay on the airport permanently.
Or, are we going to be expropriating the people and moving them out of their houses or moving the houses? What is the plan that the government has with respect to the homes that, after building the new extension, we discovered were in the new flight path?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, we're working with Transport Canada on this initiative and as I've said in the House in Question Period earlier in this session and in this actual debate here, we're expecting that we'll have compliance in our work with Transport Canada as we move through this. There are no dollars here for expropriation, absolutely not.
Mr. Phillips: So, the minister is saying that they're trying to get them exempt then. Is that what they're trying to do - from the Transport Canada regulations? I know that Transport Canada is, from my experience with them, pretty rigid when it comes to airport approaches. There is no fooling around. There isn't a lot of room for flexibility, so I'm just wondering how confident the minister is that they're going to reach an agreement to have this oversight taken care of.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: I feel quite confident that Transport Canada will be reasonable and seek logical solutions to any of the issues that become identified by the survey and, of course, the structures that were in place prior to the existence of the 1972 zoning will be grandfathered in, but I expect that reasonable heads will prevail.
Airports in the amount of $4,405,000 agreed to
Transportation Division in the amount of $28,290,000 agreed to
On Municipal and Community Affairs Division
On Public Safety
On Major Facility Maintenance
Major Facility Maintenance in the amount of $22,000 agreed to
On Fire Protection
Mrs. Edelman: Detail please, Mr. Chair.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It consists of two major projects - $53,000 for firefighting equipment, territory wide, and $50,000 for engineering and design of a new fire hall for the Mayo Road area.
Fire Protection in the amount of $158,000 agreed to
On Recreation Facilities
On City of Whitehorse Recreation Facilities
Mrs. Edelman: In the briefing we were given by the department, there wasn't any mention of a rec-plex going up into McIntyre with the Kwanlin Dun. Is there any planning going on with the department to build that rec-plex?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, Mr. Chair, there isn't.
Mrs. Edelman: Then there's nothing in the five-year capital plan to work on the planning for this particular project?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: No, there isn't.
Mr. Phillips: I just have one question for the minister. Does the minister feel that the new recreation complex should go up at Mount McIntyre or should it go on the waterfront?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It's city authority. I have no opinion. Nice try.
City of Whitehorse Recreation Facilities in the amount of $2,000,000 agreed to
On Watson Lake Recreation Facilities
Mr. Jenkins: I'm just noticing the comparison between Watson Lake, whose recreation facilities are probably in the magnitude of 14 to 16 years old today, and then we turn the page and we look at Dawson. The Dawson City project is getting $1 million a year. Why is there a considerable difference? I'm given to understand that Watson Lake will receive the full $5 million over two years, and Dawson is going to take five years to get to the $5 million. Why is that, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, Mr. Chair, no, it certainly lives up to the formulas - the 90-percent formula and 10-percent formula with the Watson Lake recreational facility, and it's approximately $5 million. The Government of the Yukon Territory is putting $1 million aside per year for the Dawson City initiative for the seven years, I believe, and a total of $7 million. I was talking to the Mayor of Dawson City - your good friend - and he had mentioned to me that they could be able to possibly do their recreational facility within the magnitude of the one in Watson Lake, but certainly it comes down to the Water Board hearings and those types of initiatives yet. So, certainly, I'm very hopeful and open to working with them.
Mrs. Edelman: I just wanted to note at this point that the Yukon Liberal caucus strongly supports development of these recreational facilities in Watson Lake.
Mr. Phillips: As you know, the Yukon Party caucus supports building these facilities as well, but on a more serious note, Mr. Chair, I have had some complaints and concerns raised by some Yukon contractors that there are some problems with the tendering, or lack of tendering, with some of these projects. Now, I know that these are the responsibility of, I think, the Town of Watson Lake with respect to tendering this complex, but I will give the minister an example, because the individual said I could use the example.
There's a local company in town that's been roofing in this town for years. It's done all kinds of work on the government building and other buildings in the Yukon and was rather dismayed when this large project came forward in Watson Lake, when there is very little work in the territory at the present time, and the individual never even got an invitation to bid on it. In fact, his competitor did and I don't know how many other companies. I think it was almost one individual who was asked for a price.
I don't know what we can do about it, other than in these kinds of times it's very important, first of all, to get the best bang for your buck, and you do that by tendering it, because it will be more of a competitive price when you tender it. And, secondly, it's really important because these people are trying to go to work too, and trying to put their staff people to work. And they're not even getting an opportunity to bid on the project. And they were virtually told by the project manager that it was all said and done before they even had a chance to bid on it.
So I would encourage the Minister of C&TS to talk to individuals in the communities when we do this kind of work in the future, especially when it's Yukon taxpayers' money, that if nothing else - I mean, in this particular case, Mr. Chair, it wasn't just sole sourced to a Watson Lake contractor, it was sole sourced to a Whitehorse contractor, and other Whitehorse contractors were left out.
That's my concern. When prices were asked for, they didn't ask everybody in the business, when people know who all is in that kind of business. It's a very select type of business. In fact, I've been told that some of the roofing that has to take place in some of this building needs very special technical skills, and one of the people who's involved in it hasn't taken the courses that the one who didn't even get invited already has.
So my concern is that if we're going to spend taxpayers' dollars on these particular projects - and I think this isn't just for C&TS work. I know we had the same problem with the community development fund where we heard recently that the Convention Bureau awarded a contract and the tendering procedure was questioned.
I don't know how we do it, but maybe, when it's this much Government of the Yukon money, people should have to follow the tendering practices of the Government of the Yukon so that everyone gets a chance at it. That's all I'm asking for, and that's all these individuals were asking for. They're not asking to be given the job. They're just asking for an opportunity to bid the job, and they are local people. They've been here a long, long time. In fact, the one who didn't get invited has been here for many years before the other one. In fact, he trained the guy who's got the other company, so felt a little left out.
So, I raise that with the minister, and maybe the minister can raise it with some of the town councils in the future to ensure that these jobs are done in a fair and equitable way, so that all Yukoners get an opportunity to bid the projects when they come forward, especially when we're talking this much money and especially in an economy like ours, which is so depressed and when there are so many of these people out of work at the present time.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, point taken.
Watson Lake Recreation Facilities in the amount of $2,500,000 agreed to
On Recreation Facilities
Recreation Facilities in the amount of $480,000 agreed to
On Community Services
On Reserve Fund for Dawson City Project
Mr. Jenkins: Could the minister advise the House if he's going to release these funds to the city this year - this year's and the prior year's amounts for the rec centre, or are we going to wait for the report from the Water Board, Mr. Chair?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, no, it's contingent on waiting for a report from the Water Board but certainly we are having chats with the mayor, because the mayor is sounding things out and saying that things are sounding fairly good from their perspective, and he's coming up with different schemes, so we'll continue to work with them.
Mr. Cable: On that reserve fund, is that set aside in a special bank account, or is that just part of the general revenue of the government?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It's held in a special fund within government.
Reserve Fund for Dawson City Project in the amount of $1,000,000 agreed to
On Community Planning
Community Planning in the amount of $80,000 agreed to
On Prior Years' Projects
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On Public Health/Roads and Streets
On Planning and Pre-Engineering
Planning and Pre-Engineering in the amount of $155,000 agreed to
On Water Supply, Treatment and Storage
Mr. Jenkins: Perhaps the minister could just give us an overview of what we're undertaking and where for the next items. I'm sure water supply, treatment and storage, water and sewer mains, and sewage treatment and disposal are all tied together, Mr. Chair.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, I will rise to every system. I guess I'd have to wait for recognition from the chair on each of the issues. So, within this one, there's $250,000, which consists of two projects: $50,000 for Old Crow to replace the power train components of the water and sewer haul vehicles, and $200,000 for the Granger water pressure booster station.
Water Supply, Treatment and Storage in the amount of $250,000 agreed to
On Water and Sewer Mains
Hon. Mr. Keenan: The $209,000 consist of two projects - one in Guggieville for water and sewer mains in Dawson, at $184,000. That's to provide for 50 percent of the cost of the Guggieville sewer and water mains. Then we have, territory-wide, $25,000 to identify the study and report on options and to make recommendations to improve water and sewer systems in various unincorporated communities.
Mr. Jenkins: That $184,000 for what the minister referred to as Guggieville - is that not the frontage charge for the water and sewer extension out as far as Guggieville for the frontage charge abutting the First Nations land?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, it is, Mr. Chair.
Water and Sewer Mains in the amount of $209,000 agreed to
On Sewage Treatment and Disposal
Hon. Mr. Keenan:Mr. Chair, it consists of three projects: $300,000 for engineering, design and construction of a sewage treatment facility at Carcross; $100,000 for Destruction Bay to complete the construction of the second phase of the sewage treatment project; and $50,000 for planning a new sewage lagoon in Burwash, which includes public consultation on planning and site identification.
Mr. Jenkins: What's happened now in Destruction Bay that we've got to spend this much more money on sewage treatment?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Well, as for the $100,000 for Destruction Bay sewage treatment, that's to complete the construction of the second phase.
Mr. Jenkins: Perhaps I could just ask the minister for more detail on that by way of legislative return spelling out the number of households that we're servicing, commercial establishments, and the total cost. Because I know that the lagoon was predicated on servicing Burwash as well as Destruction Bay, and that's not the case any more, and now we're going totally buried. Would the minister agree to provide that information by way of legislative return, please?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly I will.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, I wonder if the minister could provide information as to whether all the people in that area are going to be hooking up to the system or getting out of the previous system when he brings back the information in the legislative return.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, I will, and I'll share it with both opposition parties.
Sewage Treatment and Disposal in the amount of $450,000 agreed to
On Solid Waste
Mr. Phillips: Earlier this spring - or it was a year ago, I suppose - there was some work done up at the Marsh Lake dump. One of the companies was out there and they drilled some holes, doing some testing in the Marsh Lake dump, and I asked the minister questions about any seepage that was there. The minister said that there wasn't any, everything was fine.
This spring, I was going to the dump one Saturday morning, I believe, or a Friday morning, and a drill was on a lowboy and tipped over right at the entrance to the dump and was laying on its side in the road. There was somebody with a loader - a big Cat - trying to set it up on its wheels again. Later on when I came back down from the dump, this drill had been walked back in that bush trail where they did the drilling before.
I'm just wondering. Was there another drilling program going on there, and what's the reason for it? Is it an extension of the one that was there? Did they not finish it? Did we find something that we're looking for? Because there appeared to be this drill that went up that road, and I'm just wondering if that's related to the government of the Yukon's testing of the seepage from the Marsh Lake dump.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Mr. Chair, the deputy assures me he's not aware of anything, but we definitely will check and get back to the member.
Mr. Phillips: It was probably a month ago now, or three weeks ago, that I came by and saw the vehicle there, and it had tipped over just as it made the turn in. I think the guy turned a little too fast and the equipment wasn't bound onto the truck. They'd loaded it back up, and then I saw they'd ploughed the road out below the dump, the road that was used by, I believe, EBA to do the drilling below the dump, and they went down that road with the equipment, I assume, because it wasn't there when I came back, and the road was freshly ploughed and there had been tracks driving in there. I haven't driven in there to see what happened, but I was just wondering if it was related.
Maybe there's some oil and gas exploration going on there that we're not aware of, and they're trying to suck some methane gas out of that Marsh Lake dump so that we can provide fuel oil or heat for the Yukon or something, I don't know.
Solid Waste in the amount of $75,000 agreed to
On Roads/Streets Upgrade
Roads/Streets Upgrade in the amount of $20,000 agreed to
On Prior Years' Projects
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On Land Development
Industrial in the amount of $270,000 agreed to
Mrs. Edelman: Detail please, Mr. Chair.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: We're looking for the construction or lease of 20 to 25 lots in the Mount Sima area. Of course, that's dependent upon the city's approval, but we've been working with the city for the approval of that.
Commercial in the amount of $800,000 agreed to
Recreational in the amount of $50,000 agreed to
Residential in the amount of $2,640,000 agreed to
On Prior Years' Projects
Prior Years' Projects in the amount of nil agreed to
On Land Central Services
On Miscellaneous Projects - Recoverable
Miscellaneous Projects - Recoverable in the amount of $10,000 agreed to
On Rural Electrification and Telephone
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, can we have detail on that?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Yes, Mr. Chair, certainly. That's a continuation of the rural electrification and telephone program, and we believe that we can spend $920,000 to assist the rural property owners with the installation of power and telephone service.
Mrs. Edelman: Mr. Chair, this program has recently been revamped, and it was my understanding that there would be even more applications for this program because of the changes. Now, the numbers are down. I wonder if the minister could get back to me in writing at some point about some of the reasons that he sees for those figures to be going down.
Hon. Mr. Keenan: Certainly, Mr. Chair, I can get back in writing, but the projection is done on the basis of usage and projections, but I will get back.
Rural Electrification and Telephone in the amount of $920,000 agreed to
On Miscellaneous Projects Non-Recoverable
Miscellaneous Projects Non-Recoverable in the amount of $689,000 agreed to
Chair: Are there any questions on recoveries?
Mr. Jenkins: Just on the land recovery cost, Mr. Chair - given the state of our economy, given the sales currently, are the recoveries not appearing to be somewhat overstated?
Hon. Mr. Keenan: It's equivalent to the dollars that we're spending, and it may occur in future years, but it is fully recoverable and is put out as such.
Municipal and Community Affairs Division in the amount of $12,778,000 agreed to
Capital Expenditures for the Department of Community and Transportation Services in the amount of $41,253,000 agreed to
Department of Community and Transportation Services agreed to
Chair: The time being 5:30 p.m., I will now rise and report.
Mr. Fentie: Mr. Chair, I move 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 Committee of the Whole?
Mr. McRobb: The Committee of the Whole has considered Bill No. 14, First Appropriation Act, 1999-2000, and I report progress on it.
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.
Speaker: The time being past 5:30, this House now stands adjourned until tomorrow at 1:30.
The House adjourned at 5:31 p.m.
The following Sessional Paper was tabled April 13, 1999:
"It All Adds Up": a reader's guide to the gender equity in the schools policy (Moorcroft)