Friday, April 25, 1997

Editorial cartoon

City's plans already drawing fire

Already there are grumblings of discontent over how Yellowknife is deciding what to put in the future $6-million multi-use recreational complex.

At least two interest groups are calling the city short-sighted in its consultation process, something that has only just begun.

To be fair, Yellowknife residents should give the city a chance to come up with some solid plans before they start poo-pooing the entire process.

Sure, the city doesn't always come up smelling like roses, but it's only been a week since administrators took the first step toward gathering public input into what the complex should house.

Presumably the city will take all of the information gathered from committees prior to this week's consultation meetings, along with new suggestions, and come up with a priority list that closely reflects what residents are looking for.

If the city is way off track, that would be the appropriate time to start crying foul and calling for heads to roll.

However, some groups are quite correct in saying that the facility must be accessible to rich and poor, skaters and non-skaters, alike.

City administrators should realize what fury they will face if the building ends up housing nothing more than a sports complex, which would be limited in use and scope and certainly would not reflect the community's recreational needs.

A climbing wall, a tot's play area, an indoor track, and a hall of fame are just a few of the suggestions we have heard from Yellowknifers that don't have anything at all to do with twin ice surfaces, but they are all legitimate ideas.

A shot across the bow at this point is perhaps premature, but those in charge should now know for sure, if they didn't already, that Yellowknifers are taking this project seriously and watching city hall's every step.

Jobs jobs jobs

Governments everywhere have decided that citizens are responsible for the economy. And so we are. In part.

The GNWT, like its federal and most provincial counterparts, says that individual entrepreneurs will be the job-creation engines of the future, and many Yellowknifers have heard that call by setting up home-based businesses.

But the self-employed only employ themselves. Real economic contribution only comes when someone hires someone else. Yellowknifers, like all Canadians, have the right to expect their governments to help out, particularly in the North, where unemployment is so much higher than elsewhere.

Slow down

Every year right around this time the number of vehicle accidents around Yellowknife seems to skyrocket.

There are a number of weather-related factors that contribute to this: slippery night conditions, dusty day conditions and that uncontrollable urge to drive fast because spring is in the air.

There are also a number of people-related factors that contribute to this: children playing and riding their bikes in the streets, adults out for a walk around the neighborhood in longer daylight hours and older kids horsing around in the warmer climate.

Pedestrians, motorists and cyclists must all remember they have to look out for one another and share roads and intersections. If everyone slows down a little and looks both ways, we just might make it through to summer.