Wednesday, August 20, 1997
Milking a never-ending story
The sight of milk being sold from the back of truck isn't the most encouraging sign for Yellowknife's beleaguered dairy.
Myer's Family Dairy, until recently known by the Tuaro name (and before that Agriborealis), hasn't had an easy time of it these past few months. Its financial problems were compounded by an obvious conflict of interest by one of its major shareholders, who just happened to be the finance director of its major creditor, the city. Then some of its milk had to be recalled after antibiotics accidentally found their way into shelf-bound cartons.
Now the new manager, Neil Myers, is predicting collapse if Yellowknifers don't start buying his milk -- and soon.
Although we at Yellowknifer have regularly argued against pouring money city money into the dairy, that doesn't mean individual taxpayers shouldn't support it.
Myers claims he can supply milk to Northern consumers substantially cheaper than can those who truck it in from Alberta. He's almost certainly right. Hauling anything hundreds of kilometres isn't cheap. So why aren't more shops stocking local milk?
The fact is, there is no real excuse, economic or otherwise, not to buy Myer's milk -- so long as he can guarantee safety and quality. And, though the recent recall should not be dismissed, an isolated example is not evidence of a serious problem.
In a market in which high prices are the norm, Yellowknife milk consumers deserve the best price they can get, and they should demand local retailers give them at least the choice of buying local.
There's also a bigger issue at stake here than simply cheap cream. When consumers buy local, the profits inevitable return to the community, rather that flow south. And that alone should be reason enough to keep the Myers dairy in business.
Once again city hall finds itself embroiled in controversy. Hot on the heels of the Tuaro dairy deal and the Northland Utilities buyout botch, council finds itself holding the bag on a $10-million twin-pad arena that's been put on hold indefinitely.
Yellowknives Dene informed city council last week that the proposed site -- Twin Pine Hill -- is under its jurisdiction and won't be given up without compensation. That's just as well, because we've yet to understand just how council chose Twin Pine Hill in the first place.
Understandably, however, the Yellowknives Dene are upset with council's handling of the site proposal. Let's hope city council has enough foresight to apologize before our relationship with the Yellowknives is destroyed.
Yellowknife RCMP have drawn a line in the dirt and are holding their own against a wave of violent crime that has gripped our city over the last month.
As difficult as it is, police have been collaring suspects and making progress investigating crimes that have been happening with brutal abandon at all hours of the night, many witnessed by only the victim.
This is not New York City or Toronto, where battalions of detectives are assigned to track leads and search for clues. We have only a small contingent of specialized Mounties doing their best.
We owe them our gratitude and our assistance for what they can do in the future to ensure that Yellowknife's downtown streets are safe.