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WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is calling for immediate action to address the unacceptable status quo in the vicinity of the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter. Business owners in the area have had enough with what one business called the ‘ruinous conditions’ within a few block radius of the shelter.
Despite the many reports, emails from stakeholders pleading for action, and suggested solutions this summer from the Leader of the Official Opposition, Currie Dixon, the Liberals have ignored the very public issues. It took the closure of an award-winning local business publicly embarrassing the Premier enough for him to return his attention to the Yukon.
“It took the owners of a local business announcing they were closing for the barriers to be immediately removed from outside the shelter, despite the recommendation being made over a year ago,” said Dixon. “The Liberal government has received letter after letter, email after email, and report after report outlining the concerns of residents, neighbours, businesses, and even shelter clients about the problems at the shelter. Now, the Premier is promising more reports, more meetings, more timelines, and more plans, which is unfortunately more of the same for the Yukoners who have been pleading for help for years.”
The serious issues and problems in downtown Whitehorse became more prevalent after the Liberal government took over the shelter in 2019 and changed its operating model to allow for drug and alcohol use. Area residents and businesses say property damage, vandalism, harassment, open substance use, and general crime and illegal behaviour have become the norm in the core of Whitehorse.
“The Mayor of Whitehorse even suggested in a letter that the City is willing to be a part of a solution to the problem,” said Dixon. “The time for talk is over. As we heard in two reports, downtown residents and businesses, and clients and workers at the shelter are tired of the lack of action from this Liberal government.”