Dawson City, Yukon Friday, August 29, 2003

Mud Bog - This popular event attracts a great many spectators every summer. Now... where's the car wash in Dawson? Photo by Ed Vos

Feature Stories

Discovery Days Crowded with People and Activity
Spreading the Word on Eighth Avenue
Tubbers Do it For the Fun of It
Yukon Arts Festival
The New Is Made Old and Viceversa
Dawson's Literary Lions #3: Pierre Berton's Klondike Muse
No More Political Debate on the Waterfront
Not Much Opposition as Smoking Bylaw Under Discussion
Liberal Caucus Enjoys Dawson

Welcome to the August 30, 2003 edition of the online Klondike Sun, which reproduces a selection of the photographs and articles from the August 26 hard copy edition.

The hard copy also contains Doug Urquhart's famous "Paws" cartoon strip, our homegrown crossword puzzle, and obviously, all the other material you won't find here.

We encourage viewers of this website to consider subscribing to the Sun. It would help us financially and you would get to see everything closer to when it's actually news. The only thing you would not get is the colour photo at the beginning of the on-line issues. We can't afford to print in colour.

Since we went online in March 1996 our counter has crashed a number of times. The first counter logged about 25,000 visitors. The second one, which crashed in late March 2003, logged about 51,000. The current counter went online in April 2003 and was sitting at 10,037 on September 10, 2003.

Printer Donations Are Coming In

The Sun would like to thank the following readers for their donations: Jane M. Lund, Erik Knoph, Wayne Rachel (Callison Waste Management), Laura Massey (and to Laura for her encouraging words..."Hang in there - you remain some of the best journalism around.")

Discovery Days Crowded with People and Activity

by Dan Davidson


Personal scooters are becoming commonplace with the elderly in Dawson, and this group of Hells Angels Has-Beens decided to celebrate that fact in the Discovery Days parade. Photo by Dan Davidson

Once again this year the Discovery Days weekend began early - on Wednesday, actually - and continued on until Monday, with simultaneous celebrations marking Dawson's birthday and the development of the Dawson arts community. The combination of traditional Discovery Days events and the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival for a third year made for busy streets and lots of activity.

Events began with the Klondike Visitors Association's Family Day at Diamond Tooth Gerties: shows, a BBQ and kids' games.

Thursday was given over to the third annual Authors on Eighth Writing Contest, which began with a tour of the London and Service sites and concluded on the lawn of the Berton Home.

That same evening a new exhibit, work by Scott Price and Shelly Hakonson, opening at the ODD Gallery.

On Friday the Arts Festival had the spotlight, with a small tent city erected on the common beside the dyke to house the Market Gallery, the children's clown theatre production and the various arts activities, from weaving to woodworking, sewing and book binding.

In addition, Friday marked the beginning of the Discovery Days Fastball Tournament at Minto Park.

On Saturday all these events continued, with the addition of a pancake breakfast, the grand parade at noon, the horticultural show, a tournament at the Top of the World Golf Club, a 10 km Run, an afternoon of games and fun, and presentations by the crew from Parks Canada.

Sunday continued nearly all of the above, and the completed golf tournament was replaced by the Klondike Valley Annual Mud Bog in the North End, an event which probably drew more spectators at one time than anything other than the parade. It was a -- splash!

During both days the Arts Festival offered a selection of films, workshops, demonstrations, dance performances (by Sailani Sharma) and a fund raising auction for assist the ODD Gallery. There was also a concert and dance in the Oddfellows Ball Room.

Estimates of attendance vary, but there is no question that the weekend was a busy one in the Klondike. With so many things happening, Dawson was the place to be for the territorial holiday.

top.gif

Spreading the Word on Eighth Avenue

by Dan Davidson


Dawne Mitchell gets into her subject at the Jack London Interpretive Centre during the Authors on 8th afternoon events. Photo by Dan Davidson

Words have always been important in Dawson City, whether that fact is recognized or not. Our writers, Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton, achieved their first great successes by putting this place on paper, and the images they created in the collective minds of generations of readers are a big part of what keeps the tourist traffic coming year after year.

Over the last three years the Discovery Days celebrations have recognized this fact by creating the Authors On Eighth program as part of the celebrations. The program invites aspiring writers to try their own luck at putting the Klondike on paper in poetry or prose, the results to be judged and read during an afternoon long literary indulgence within the area sometimes jokingly referred to as the Writers' Block.

There were 26 entries in the contest this year, and three sets of winners were announced on the lawn in front of Berton Home on the afternoon of August 14, after the three dozen or so enthusiasts had attended special presentations at both the London and Service cabins.

From among the visitor entries Donna Ozga's essay "Today's Klondike Gold" and Sandra Johnson's poem "The Modern Cheechako" took the prizes.

Yukon entries were topped by Solange St. Lawrence's "Klondike Travellers" and Nicole Bauberger's poem, "Willing".

Local entries were strong this year, but city councillor Wayne Potoroka's untitled short story about the dysfunctional lifestyle of a summer miner topped that category, while Ildiko Luxemburger's poem "Klondike Gold" won that prize.

Current Berton House writer-in residence Mark Zuehlke took a few minutes to talk about the importance of Pierre Berton in creating the publishing category we call popular history. Previously, he said, Canadian history had mainly been the province of academics who were writing for each other. When Berton published Klondike in 1958 and then went on to write a bookshelf full of best selling history books on every subject from the Canadian Pacific Railway to the Dionne Quintuplets and the battle at Vimy Ridge, he proved that there was an market for something else.

Zuehlke has gone on to write books on military history himself, inspired by the success of Vimy, and has also written mysteries and The Yukon Fact Book, in his way continuing the importance of the printed page to the spreading of information about the Yukon as a destination.

top.gif

Tubbers Do it For the Fun of It

by Dan Davidson


These strange craft plied the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson. Photo by Dan Davidson

A computer crash led to a confusing state of events at the closing banquet for the 12th Annual Yukon River Bathtub Race, but emcee Lake Laberge Marj (Eschak) is one who can make chaos seem like the normal course of affairs, so the evening at the Downtown Hotel proceeded much as it might have if everyone had known exactly what they were doing.

According to the tales told during the evening "the mother of all bathtub races" was plagued by a number of upsets this year. In fact, some contestants were upset more than once, and one tub vanished entirely under the pressure of the waves on Lake Laberge. The tubber couldn't really see where it ended up, in spite of the fact that his eyelids were peeled backwards over his eyes.

Still, almost no one got hurt (there was one arm in a sling - one of the Varga brothers) and everyone made it to Dawson one way or another,, though some of them were out of the official running by the time they arrived.

There were two teams who actually had winning times and ran the entire race (though the fastest time from Minto to Dawson was held by a team that didn't do either).

In the "B" class, running with stock (unmodified) 8 horsepower motor, Team Campion won the day. Pilot Dale Pantyshen chugged into Dawson with a total running time of 15 hours, 46 minutes and 9 seconds. For that effort they won $1000.

In the "C" Class the winner was the Takhini Transport entry, piloted by Bill Bloor with a time of 14 hours, 57 minutes and 18 seconds. Bloor ran a 9.9 horsepower stock motor. Their prize was $1100, including fastest time and first into Minto.

The award portion of the evening began with a tribute to the late Brian Campion and Brian Beck, two tubbers who had a lot to do with the success of the race.

Nothing else was at all serious, as each team came up to tell part of their story and take a good natured (and often ribald) ribbing from Marj and the rest of the room. Apparently everyone in the race had a great time and most, whether from Chilliwack, Hay River, or closer to home, seem determined to run it again.

It must be a labour of love, because the total purse of $4000 no one can be in it for the money. Of the eleven teams that started out, nine managed to finish. Two tubs ran into problems early in the race, one with an engine that kept falling off and the other with a support boat in trouble.

Four entries were disqualified for various reasons, but went on to Minto and finished the race from there just for fun. From there on it seems the going is easier, as the most strenuous portion (Lake Laberge) is behind them.

More fun was had as Marj and her two companions (Tricky Vicky and Gold Claim Lorraine) and put on what has to be the most energetic snowshoe dance routine ever. There were two routines actually, one fast and one "sultry", after which the ladies inveigled two of the tubbers into donning dancing dresses and shedding their Cheechako status.

Will there be a 13th bathtub race? The organizers and the contestants say yes, though the race really could use a few well heeled sponsors.

For more information about the race, its history, past winners and complete results for this race see the society's web page at www.tubrace.com.

top.gif

Yukon Arts Festival

by Palma Berger


This chair was among the items on display during the Yukon River Arts Festival. Photo by Palma Berger

This was the third annual Yukon Riverside Arts Festival. The tents were up along the dike. The artisans were in them to show how to do their particular craft. The people milled along the dike in numbers. The Art Market tent was full of diverse wares and creations from artists.

In the tents one could see artists painting with watercolours, acrylics pastels, or demonstrating encaustic painting. There were print makers at work. The artists came from Whitehorse, Watson Lake, Mayo, Inuvik, Faro, Tsiigehtchic, N.W.T., plus Dawson City. There are many who call Dawson or other parts of the Yukon 'home', but originally came here from much further away. They all gravitated to the Yukon.

One could have his portrait sketched. But not with pen or pencil. It was done with stitches. The artist had acquired a 1959 sewing machine that did chain stitching only. She guided the needle from under the table with her hand, looking only at the face in front of her or her work. Her brain had to tell her hand what to do and the hidden hand responded by directing the 'handle' to guide the needle. She said it was like contour drawing.

There were interests for the Kids. A tired pottery maker begged the enthusiastic kids near the end of the day, 'Just give me a break. I'm tired'. Another artist, new to the festival, expressed surprise that the kids were so enthusiastic, and kept coming back for more instruction or to have more questions answered.

The book binder has run out of materials, but is promising a customer that she will make her the booklet in the colours she wants and send it up from Whitehorse.

The artist making the colourful beads and ornaments from polymer clay has people crowding in on her so much that it looks as if the table might tip.

The spinner and weaver from Mayo, has the intense gaze of people marveling at the ease with which she spins her varied materials.

There was paper-making, print making, moose hair tufted jewellery, traditional beading, sketching, carving Another popular one with the young people was the custom made knife demonstration. Another real work of art.

There was so much interacting with the artists, one wished it could have gone longer. Festival organizer, Kendra Wallace was thrilled at how well it had all come together. Even the weather held out for the Festival organizers. The rain came only at night.

In the middle of all this on Saturday afternoon, the participants in the Whitehorse to Dawson boat race pulled into shore. Their colourful marine vehicles could have been part of the Festival, but no, they were doing their own thing, but really added to the colour.

There was music from the Gazebo. There was an Eastern dance workshop in the ball room at KIAC. Next day a Creative Movement workshop was held there.

There was Open house at the artists residence. The artists in residence, Pierre Dalpe from Montreal, and Shirley Wiebe from Vancouver were pleased to show their work.

On the Saturday night an art auction was held. The gallery co-ordinator, Mike Yuhasz, organized it as part of the fund-raiser for the Gallery. There were many beautiful and interesting pieces up for auction. As Yuhasz said, "The art scene is really blossoming". But he would really like to see more recognition of the arts in the Yukon.

John Steins was the auctioneer, who kept the interest up with some of his dead panned remarks. Yuhasz reported that between the Art Auction and the donations at the Odd Gallery itself, there was $3660.00 raised.

Altogether it was a colourful and productive week-end, and added much to the Discovery day Celebrations.

top.gif

The New Is Made Old and Viceversa

by Palma Berger


Shelly Hakonson stands by one of her faux artifact creations at the latest Odd Gallery installation. Photo by Palma Berger

'Stunning!' was the word one heard the most as the visitors entered the Odd Gallery and saw first the elaborate, colourful and intricate bead and fabric work of Shelley Hakonson. Then Wow! as their gaze turned to the creations of Scott Price. Hakonson and Price have a joint showing of their art at the Odd Gallery. What a contrast. Each have old stuff in their creations. With Hakonson it is made to look very, very old. With Price many of the found items used for his creations are still within the memories of our grandfathers or fathers.

The first of Hakonson's items is a heavily beaded denim jacket. The 1968 Time magazine at its feet shows the era.

On then to a beautiful but torn piece. The still, expressionless face of a female gazes down at a scroll. The figure is dressed in elaborate, colourful, beaded clothing. So old one thinks. Reading the explanation that goes with it one finds it is 'fabric unearthed at Ankara, Turkey, revealed by a recent earthquake, and dated as fourteenth century' One must read the scroll, ..'twas brillig and the slithy toads…etc.'. Lewis Carroll? Further checking shows the title to be "Jabberwocky". We have been duped?

Likewise 'Tattered Remnant', which 'was found in a store room of Potala Palace, Lhasa" "It wasn't sacked during the 1960's by the Chinese, unlike so many other Tibetan religious structures". The title also refers to the state of Tibet after the Chinese invaded in 1959.

"Royal Daughter' shows the lovely remains of a yellow jacket rich in embroidery and jewels. The explanation tells that the "Royal Scythians were a bloodthirsty lot…The women had to kill three enemies before they married. They had excellent riding skills." This child's jacket (circa 6th century) was found on the shores of the Black Sea along with the remains of four horses

The Elizabethan masks are almost 'authentic'. "Pan", the seducer is a mask held by a cheeky, fresh faced beauty. "Greenman", represents irrepressible life, the ever returning energy of vegetation, the rebirth cycle. His laughing face emerges from behind a mask surrounded by leaves of many greens.

"Roswell" is the remains of a space suit. The metal has the sheen of an abalone shell, and is loaded with hundreds of small metal pieces.

The cloth showing "The Etruscan Dancing Girl" is still attached to a board and is in the crate in which it arrived. A bystander warns "Don't touch it." It is so delicate. Just like any museum piece. It "managed to survive the looting of the Museum in Baghdad."

Adding to the feeling of antiquity of the displays are two glass covered show cases, each with 'old' beaded cloth, small "artefacts" , tools jewellery from some time past.

Each exhibit shows the wonderful creativity of Hakonson with her beads, metallic objects, colourful fabric that has been torn or burnt to show its 'antiquity'. But one is also drawn into the story accompanying each piece.

Hakonson has researched .the ancient religions, and has woven her own story to accompany each creation. One begins to smile as one recognises times, places and events in these stories of her own creation.

After observing what must have been hours and hours of detailed stitching, beading, hammering of some metals, one can allow for and appreciate Hakonson's sense of humour coming through. Who minds being duped?

Hakonson has been a resident of Dawson City since 1970

The opening of the show was preceded by a showing of slides by Scott Price. He is an "assemblage sculptor working with found objects. The materials include an assortment of natural elements and cast-offs of manufactured goods". Items that you see lying around in the grass, that may look interesting , but your practical mind tells you they cannot be of use to you, so you leave them. Not so Price. His imagination fits these items with other items to make an interesting assemblage.

One of his slides showed his first dwelling when he first moved to Whitehorse, nearly two decades ago. It too was an assemblage. A plastic sheet was thrown over to keep out the rain. A bath tub was added. He began to collect items. Not that he was just a collector. In 1982-84 he attended the University of Guelph where he studied sculpture, drawing and print making.

Beginning with his period clay work, and then jewellery making , he began combining the material with found objects.

But the pieces on show are all found objects. Whether they be metal, twine, tin, or vegetation. "Legacy" looks like a wall clock. The 'face' is a plate from an old light meter, with three dials of figures. Carved spindles support both sides. At the base are two small shafts with cogs. A 'metronome' stands up from the base.

His "Birds Nest" was created after watching goshawks building and nesting on his property.

'Vessel" was created after studying long tall ships. Old spindles make the masts. The furled sails were fabric bound up with wire. Wire attached them to the masts. White curved pieces of bone delineated the bottom of the open sails. The sails billowing out were large curved pieces of bark. The swell of the waves was an undulating piece of metal grid.

Another item that looked like a ship in sail has the curved metal leg from an old wood stove as the prow.

The handle for the organ grinder is the handle from a meat grinder. Carved staircase posts support the side of the organ.

"Tapestry" looks believable. It is canvas stitched in several areas with the addition of a piece of old, old linoleum making the pattern in one section. Twine looped through the holes in the canvas to the wood frame keeps it stretched.

"Nature's abundant material resources" provide him with much inspiration. The work is there. Just your imagination will put it altogether to become something. One piece made of willow which he thought was a fish, becomes a bird, a spruce beetle and its shadow on the wall showed it to be a lobster to different others.

"The work is about converting found materials into the metaphors for the forest, contemplation, escape from the urban conditioning and measurements of time."

After viewing this you will never again be able to leave that interesting piece of something in the grass, just because it has no practical use for now.

This show runs until September 28th.

top.gif

Dawson's Literary Lions #3: Pierre Berton's Klondike Muse

by Dan Davidson


Pierre Berton bought back his boyhood home and turned it over to the Yukon Arts Council. Now it's a writing retreat for southern Canadian writers. Photo by Dan Davidson

Pierre Berton grew up across the street from Robert Service. Well, okay, Service had been gone for eight years by the time Berton was born in Whitehorse in 1920, but Frank and Laura Berton had known the poet, and the two room cabin, which was already becoming a tourist attraction, was right there out the living room window.

Young Pierre spent most of his first 12 years in Dawson City, much of it in the house which is now the Berton Home Writers' Retreat, co-managed by the Yukon Arts Council and the Klondike Visitors' Association. It is safe to say that these were formative years and Berton banked still more memories when he returned to the Yukon in the summers to work at mining on the creeks while putting himself through university.

All of this northern exposure contributed to an undying curiosity about the region. It had him writing stories, adapted and combined as The Mysterious North (Governor General's Award, 1956) , when he was with newspapers in Vancouver and with MacLean's magazine in Toronto. It made him research and write Klondike: The Life and Death of the Last Great Gold Rush, which brought him his second Governor General's Award in 1958.

The skills he developed writing this book would eventually assist him in the production of a whole shelf full of historical works on subjects as diverse as the short biographies in My Country and The Wild Frontier and as detailed as the two volumes on the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway or 1967: The Last Good Year.

But he kept coming back to the Yukon: revising Klondike in the 1970's; publishing Drifting Home in 1973; The Klondike Quest photo essay collection; half a dozen volumes in his adapted history books for youngsters; extensive sections in his two volume autobiography. One of his most influential projects was the National Film Board production "City of Gold" in the late 1950's. Part history and part autobiography, this film was instrumental in spurring the creation of what is now called the Dawson Historical Complex, the rebuilding of the Palace Grand Theatre and the establishment of some of the key attractions in the Klondike's tourism industry.

Berton's boyhood chum, John Gould, had long had the notion that Berton Home should become an attraction of some sort on its own. After all, Berton's multiple careers in writing and television had made him one of the country's best known names and faces. John kept pitching the idea to Pierre. In 1989 Berton took out his chequebook and paid $50,000 for the house, which had gone through many owners and some changes since 1932 when his father sold it for $400 ($100 less than he had paid for it). He turned it over to the Yukon Arts Council, which formed a committee to develop a program for the house. The Klondike Visitors Association took on the physical plant itself, investing more than $100,000 to bring it up to an acceptable standard,, while the Berton House committee outlined the beginnings of the writer's retreat style program which Pierre himself favoured.

He'd rejected outright the idea of a Robert Service or Jack London type of commemoration to himself. As he said in 1996 when the building opened, "Dawson has enough museums ... I thought it didn't really need another ... and that's when I thought up the author's retreat. I know, as much as anybody, how important time is, how important it is to be alone, if you're a writer. You cannot brook interruptions. I'm not easy to live with when I writing, which is a lot of the time."

The importance of this free gift of time has been proven again and again since that August when Russell Smith became the first resident. Several years later Vancouver resident Luanne Armstrong wrote, "A kindly Providence has provided me with three months of peace, quiet and security."

Originally open for half the year, the house is now occupied year round when there are applicants available to fill the four annual spots. Guests have included novelists, short story writers, poets, playwrights and children's writers. In 2001 the Canada Council celebrated Berton's 50 year career by creating a $2000 per month stipend and picking up the travel expenses to and from the residence. After just 5 years in operation, Berton Home had achieved national recognition.

Not all writers manage to stay the full three month term. When George Fetherling, the most recent resident, could only stay a month, he immediately began to talk about buying a small cabin so he could return. One resident, playwright Sally Clark, has returned twice at her own expense, to babysit the house when the changing schedules of some other writers left it vacant for a few weeks or months.

The main job of the guests is to write and to learn about the North so they can educate the rest of the country. They are also expected to give a public reading in Dawson and one in Whitehorse. Some have organized wider reading tours. Some have taught creative writing courses through the local campus of Yukon College or through the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture.

It takes time to see the results of such a program, but a growing list of books now mention Berton Home and Dawson somewhere in the acknowledgements or on the flyleaf. Michael Kusugak, Julie Lawson, Andrew Pyper and the writing couple of Andrea and David Spalding have all produced books inspired by their time in Dawson.

You can't tour Berton House, but there is a nice viewing platform in the lane between 7th and 8th Avenues and the lawn is an inviting place to sit and contemplate the way in which words can shape the future of a town.

top.gif

No More Political Debate on the Waterfront

by Dan Davidson


The Tribute to the Miner now stands alone, all other signs and posters having been removed. Photo by Dan Davidson

The final decisions regarding the future of either placer mining or fish habitat may be on hold until next April, but for the moment, all signs of the debate have vanished from the Dawson waterfront. The bronze Tribute to the Miner statue sits alone on the greensward in front of the dyke, accompanied by only an empty frame where there has been a sign protesting the cancellation of the Yukon Placer Authorization since January 28.

Dawson's town council, which had authorized the erection of that sign, and, in fact, had it prepared in the city works department, felt that the sign had served as a call to arms to the citizens of Dawson, had helped to mobilize the energy that went into the Black Wednesday protest in March, and had helped to show that the mining industry was supported by the town.

But council also felt that the need for the sign had passed and that it was time that it came down, to be stored away in the event that things take a turn for the worse, or perhaps simply to be preserved as an historic artifact.

All this discussion about signs was, however, prompted by a request from the Yukon Conservation Society to post its own sign a few weeks ago, just in advance of the visit of the Honourable Robert Thibault, the federal Minister of Fisheries. The YCS wanted to erect an eight foot salmon with the inscription "After the gold is gone, future generations will still need fish."

Though the town's planning board, which regulates the size and style of signs (though not their content), had approved the YCS request, town council, which has the final say in such matters, did not approve it, and the salmon was removed.

Council was generally unanimous in feeling that this type of debate on the issue needed to stop at this point, having had a couple of other additions to the signage in the time since the call to the citizens of Dawson was first set up.

On Black Wednesday, for instance, a selection of wooden grave markers were set up around the big sign and the Tribute statue. Mayor Everitt said he was later distressed to find that some of the headstones had the names of real people on them, people being accused of killing the placer miner. These were removed. Later, a large pink pig was mounted on an enormous heavy equipment tire and dropped off in the same location, an obvious personal dig at a community member who sits on a number of government boards related to environmental issues. Council had that removed.

Councillor Wayne Potoroka felt that the polarization represented by these signs ought not to be encouraged by further exchanges of posted messages.

Councillor Byrun Shandler went further and said that the council, by not speaking out on the issue of fairness, had tacitly encouraged some people to go too far in their opposition to the Department of Fisheries, to the point where anyone who did not express the politically correct view of the day might actually have felt threatened to be anything less than gung-ho about mining.

"By error or omission maybe we didn't do enough to go the other way," Shandler said, referring to the need for balance in the debate, and championing the right of each person to hold her or her own opinion on the issue without feeling threatened.

There was mention of the fact that the council had not taken the plans for its original sign to the planning board back in January. Everitt admitted that this was the case, that though the sign had conformed to all the proper guidelines, it had not gone to the board. Council hadn't really seen a need to do this, he said, on land that it controlled, when it had the final decision any way, but the mayor pledged to take any further signs to the board, just to remove any cause for complaint.

top.gif

Not Much Opposition as Smoking Bylaw Under Discussion

by Dan Davidson

The only smoke in the air on the evening of August 12 came from some distant forest fires as Dawson's council sat down to discuss its year old Smoking Bylaw with the public.

The gallery was a bit thin: 1 pub owner, 1 restaurant owner, 2 reporters and two members of the general public. There had been a number of written submissions, however, and Mayor Glen Everitt read these into the record to begin the meeting.

Six of the nine letters spoke in favour of the actions taken by Dawson's council and proclaimed into law on July 1, 2002. Three, submitted by owners of eating establishments, spoke against the bylaw.

The operators of the Midnight Sun, New China Restaurant and Klondike Kate's all cited a loss of business as a result of the ordinance and requested that it be removed or modified. Each cited a substantial loss of commerce this summer, which they blamed on the bylaw.

One other business, Bombay Peggy's Victorian Inn and Pub, wrote in favour of the bylaw. Co-owner Wendy Cairns wrote that she appreciated it personally and that she felt the future was on the side of the non-smokers.

Father John Tyrrell (St. Paul's Anglican Church) wrote to congratulate council on moving Dawson into the new century and urged that the ban be extended, warning that public health and workers' compensation rulings were likely to do this anyway if council did not.

Father Tim Coonen (St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church) also urged a widening of the bylaw's authority to include bars, a step which he wrote would not only be to the public's benefit, but would also level the playing field in the food service sector so that no one lost business because of the bylaw.

Everitt had also received 17 voice mail messages: 15 in favour of the bylaw and two against.

Councillor Byrun Shandler had had similar discussions, with a tally of 13 in favour of leaving things as they are, 4 wanting a stronger bylaw and 4 wanting it rescinded.

Everitt said that he did not think there was any chance that this council would rescind the bylaw, but neither did he have any intention of expanding its scope to include bars at this time, though he did note the existence of such a ban looming in the future of Whitehorse and felt that Dawson would eventually move there too.

In his own mind there are two basic amendments that need to be made to the current document. One would deal with the issue of smoking in premises owned by the city and leased to other organizations. Presently there is a prior city bylaw banning smoking in all municipal buildings. Both the Legion Hall and Diamond Tooth Gerties are city property leased to other organizations, and the Smoking Bylaw does not allow for them to be exempted.

Since neither of these buildings are frequented by persons under the age of 18, which is the key element in Dawson's no-smoking restrictions, there is no reason at present for them to be included.

The second matter relates to the potential for unfair advantage that some businesses may have over others as a result of the way the bylaw reads. It is possible for a hotel with a bar to offer a breakfast service in the bar, which would allow smoking. Everitt would rewrite the bylaw so that smoking in bars would only be permitted during times when the establishment's liquor licence is active, which would then have the effect of excluding teens and children from the place, or leave owners with the option of only allowing smoking during their bar hours.

Council's move to amend the legislation does come partly from a threatened legal challenge by an unnamed business person in the community. Everitt is not anxious to have the bylaw taken to court because he fears that the legal response would be to force the town to make it tougher. While that may happen by degrees over time, he feels the town is not ready for more restrictions yet.

Wade LaMarche, co-owner of Klondike Kates, was on hand with some tough questions for the council. He reminded Everitt that one of the original reasons given for the bylaw was to protect workers from workplace second hand smoke. Nothing in the current bylaw addresses that, he said. Aside from that LaMarche, himself a non-smoker, still feels that it should be up to business people themselves, without government intervention, to decide what activities they will or will not permit on their premises.

Barb Hanulik, a concerned citizen, ventured that the real smoke danger in Dawson comes not from cigarettes, but from the volume of vehicle exhaust fumes which assault the unwary citizens everywhere they go, summer and winter.

Bill Bowie (Arctic Inland Resources), a former smoker, felt that all such bylaws were simply pandering to the public mood, regulating a legal habit for the sake of political correctness. To worry about regulating smoking in bars where alcohol, a far more dangerous drug, is being served, was, he said, just foolishness.

Everitt reminded him that no one was talking about banning smoking in bars at this point. Draft amendments will be ready for public viewing and posted before the regular meeting on August 26.

top.gif

Liberal Caucus Enjoys Dawson

On behalf of the City of Dawson, Mayor Everitt would like to extend his appreciation to MP Larry Bagnell for bringing the Rural Caucus Meeting to Dawson City. 850.00 dollars was donated by rural MP's to the Mayor Youth Sports Equipment Fund.

A dinner was held with 70 people at Mama Cita's. the menu offered was used to indicate votes for the Federal Liberal Leadership. The menu choices were as follows:

It was a great event and everyone appeared to have a good time.

top.gif

Klondike Sun Home Page