Tuesday, May 5, 2009

White Mountain meeting summary and resources to take action

On the evening of May 4th, there was a meeting to inform rock climbers about the impact of the Atlin Road construction on one of our best climbing areas. It was very well attended with over 50 people and at least two reporters present.

Basically the update given by several key players that are dealing with different levels of government goes like this:
  • The construction is underway and has already affected the climbing area in that all the bush between the rock and the road has been removed from part of the climbing area
  • It appears that at least part of the climbing area is slated for blasting (in June)
  • Several climbers and the Yukon Rock Climbers Association are taking action:
    • Letters are being written to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Highways and Public Works, the Minister of Tourism (also the Minister of the Environment) and to our individual MLAs
    • We are working toward a meeting with the Minister of Highways (and perhaps the Minister of the Environment)
    • We are working with the Engineering Department of Highways and Public Works to determine the exact plan, location and timing of the work that may impact the area
    • In all cases they have been reasonably receptive and we are confident that the politicians and public servants would like to work together toward a solution if possible
    • Our main obstacles are time and the fact that there is not much room for the road at that point between the lake and the bluff
Recommended action:
  • Continue to spread the word to other climbers and encourage action such as writing letters and placing phone calls to the Ministers and MLA's offices
  • Even if you have already written letters draft more as there are new angles on this issue to bring up (see below) and no solution yet
  • Use the climbing area (but do not disrupt the construction process)
  • Write a letter to the editor
  • Maintain a diplomatic approach and encourage benefits to the area as part of the solution (see below)
  • Points to emphasize:
    • This climbing area is one of our best climbing resources in Yukon and has been in use for over 10 years
    • It is in an area that will soon be a Territorial Park. Parks are typically areas that protect and promote wilderness, wildlife, scenery and RECREATION
    • Rock climbing is a safe, healthy and low-impact activity engaged in by people of all ages
    • The government actually contributed to the development of this area by assisting in creating the parking area for climbing during the last road upgrade abut 10 years ago - we appreciate that
    • We don't need much: preservation of the cliff, a small parking area, a buffer of bush to provide protection and privacy from road noise, traffic and dust
    • Potential benefits that could come of this include draining the mosquito swamp, a decent parking area, (maybe even an outhouse??)
  • Contact resources:
    • Minister of Highways and Public Works:
    • -- archie.lang@gov.yk.ca -- 667-8643
    • Minister of Tourism and Culture (and Environment):
    • -- elaine.taylor@gov.yk.ca -- 667-8641
    • List of all MLAs with contact info (click on your MLA's link)

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