Dawson City, Yukon Friday, February 7, 1997

HAN SINGERS...The Han Singers were once again a feature of the annual Christmas Concert, an ecumenical community event held each year at Saint Paul's Anglican Church. Photo by Ros Vijendren

Feature Stories

Council Hopes to Encourage Development
Price relief in sight for valley dwellers
School Suspended: A Local Vet Makes Her Case
Fiction: Dogs Mushing
Who is the Klondike Centennial Society and what is it all about?
Snowmobilers Arriving Soon

Council Hopes to Encourage Development

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Dawson's city council is saying that it has compromised as far as it feels able in its desire to reduce development costs in the community, and has passed a bylaw which it hopes will address the needs of most potential developers over the next five years.

This does nothing for Haine Wing, the owner of the Midnight Sun Hotel, who started this debate last autumn when he threatened to cancel a 30 suite project if something was not done to moderate the $40,000 sewer and water loading charge that his project would face before he could receive his first guest. He has announced from Vancouver that his expansion will not go through.

Council, which had introduced a draft bylaw to meet Wing's demands last October, has backed away from complete acceptance of his arguments after what Councillor Denny Kobayashi, who championed that bylaw, calls a thorough study.

Certainly a portion of that study had to do with the fact that 11 other rental projects in the area have gone through in the years since the first Westmark expansion became the reason why the loading charge was added to the development costs.

In that time, the city has had to spend enormous sums upgrading and extending the underground system. The council of the day had adopted a "user-pay" philosophy with respect to developments which would increase the load on the system, and the present council, with its plans for metered water and greater cost recovery, really hasn't backed away from that stance during its term.

Council accepts the fact that a substantial advance payment before a business even opens can be a burden, so it is shifting the payment schedule and trying to lighten the load, but not doing away with it. Kobayashi says the amended bylaw will offer a 15 year amortization of the loading charge to any commercial residential projects, with the first 5 years offered interest free.

For the Wing development as it had been proposed, council calculated that this would cost him $1 per room per night over a 15 year period.

Kobayashi said: "We felt that if this (small charge) on a project was going to make it fail that project was probably questionable at best anyway. We feel this is as far as council can go to create a positive investment climate. We're willing to carry them, instead of the bank, interest free. And to make sure that someone else in the community isn't paying for them.

"If we were to lower that fee, in fact, the other residents - the taxpayers of Dawson - would be subsidising that hotel development on their personal water and sewer bills and taxes. We didn't think it was appropriate for private residents to subsidize commercial buildings, and we don't think the taxpayers would support that."

The bylaw offers any developers interested in hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and new staff housing units the same deal. The five year time limit for beginning projects isn't absolute. This is just the year when the bylaw has been flagged to be examined again, assuming nothing else comes up first.

"There are people looking," Kobayashi said, "because there are demands on the rooms they already have." Last summer saw 100% of the accommodation in the area booked solid for 80% of the available nights and the known advance bookings for next summer are even heavier.

Kobayashi admits to the need, but feels others will rise to meet it. The Eldorado hotel is looking at a further expansion. Klondike Kates currently operates a few cabins, but its owners are said to be examining the possibilities. In addition, John and Gail Hendley, who already operate several bed and breakfast units in town under the White Ram name, are looking into a substantial hotel development.


Price relief in sight for valley dwellers

by Dan Davidson
Sun Staff

Eight Klondike Valley residents who received letters from the territorial government over the Christmas holidays should soon be feeling better, according to executive council assistant Marie-Louise Boylan.

The letters, sent to 8 of the 34 residents dwelling on inactive placer claims in the Dawson area, seemed to offer them the right to purchase a portion of the land on which they have been living, for prices that ranged from 20 to 23 thousand dollars for lots which the residents had essentially developed themselves.

They were outraged, and kept the line Mayor Glenn Everitt's home buzzing until after New Year's with their complaints, apparently thinking that the City of Dawson had something to do with the pricing.

It didn't. Neither the mayor nor councillor Denny Kobayashi, who had been involved in early discussions about closing out placer claims in the Klondike Valley, could recall any talk of charging full market prices for undeveloped land.

Boylan says that wasn't the intention at Community and Transportation Services either. The letters were not supposed to have been interpreted as containing purchase prices.

"It was market value, not a sale price," she said. A correcting letter will be sent out and the matter will be clarified.

Residents can expect to pay less than the full market rate for their land, the reductions being based on the amount of work they have done to improve the places over their years of residency. Money spent on roads, power lines, telephone access, etc., will all be considered in the calculation of a final price. Residents will need to offer proof of their expenses.

In addition to letters explaining the actual process more clearly, the department will be carrying out an advertising campaign to clarify and promote the project. Of the 82 residents currently living on placer claims in this area, only about three-quarters have actually applied so far to become legitimate land owners under the new policy.

On hearing that the matter was being cleared up, Denny Kobayashi was enthusiastic, saying that he was always happy to see the government give the little guy a break.


School Suspended: A Local Vet Makes Her Case

by Jen Edwards
Sun Staff

ADES SCHEER...Our local vet tech hopes to become a real vet.Photo by Jen Edwards

A few years ago, if your pet was afflicted with any kind of pain, your treatment options were pretty slim. Basically, you had three choices: travel down to Whitehorse, wait for a vet to make the community rounds, or, if you were really pressed for assistance, visit the local doctors at the medical clinic.

Times have changed however, and Dawson can breathe a little easier, since Aedes Scheer came to town.

Scheer didn't always dream of living in a town whose predominance of dogs meant that they would make up about 80 to 90% of her cases. Her first love she says is cows, a penchant which undoubtedly has a lot to do with the formative years she spent on a cattle farm east of Calgary.

Cows, pigs, cats, and dogs who wandered in off the highway, are counted amongst her first pals. Exploring and discovering their ways became an every day part of life. "My dad was less than thrilled when I would sit down at the dinner table with cow manure caked under my finger nails," she admits with a laugh.

Inevitably, her passion became reality and in 1986, she completed her studies and became a certified Animal Health Technician. She went on to study Physiology at the University of Saskatchewan and after graduation, degree in hand, she headed north to Whitehorse.

She sought out any opportunity she could to get some work assisting the town vets, but to her dismay, there was nothing to be had. So, she took a job teaching at a local public school.

It was during the summer of 1994 that she packed her bags and headed up the highway to Dawson. Immediately upon her arrival, the word was out and she was inundated with requests for her services.

Scheer's skills were in high demand and she was happy to oblige, but her new job was anything but old hand. "As an Animal Health Technician, you learn how to assist a veterinarian, you don't necessarily see how to get from point A to point B," she says.

Thanks to her own research, help from other vets, and the specialized knowledge of local mushers, she's been able to fill many of the missing links.

She longs to do and know more however, which is why she now seeks to continue her studies and strive towards a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. A feat which, based on a technicality, may not be so easily come by. She has her sights set on a four year program at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon - the regional school for the western provinces and the two territories. All prospective students must meet the residency requirements of the school's assigned region. The condition has become Scheer's biggest hurdle.

Although she grew up in Alberta, Scheer does not qualify for residency there because their definition of residency claims that a person has to have lived in the province for 12 consecutive months in the past five years. Scheer has been in the Yukon for seven.

According to the Yukon's Student Financial Assistant Act, a person will qualify as a resident only if they are under 19 years of age and have completed two years of high school in the territory. "So," she says with a hint of exasperation, "even if you have lived here for 5 or 10 years, in the eyes of the Student Financial Act, you are not a Yukon resident."

Nor does it seem plausible to her that anyone seeking to pursue Veterinary Medicine would meet the age stipulation. "If you go through a vet tech. Program, there would not be too many people under the age of 19, who would be ready to go." Indeed, she has learnt of only two such students in the territory. Two, whom she believes, were either subjected to different requirements or else must have been incredibly gifted students to have finished high school, gone on to Vet Technical School and be ready to apply to Vet Medicine all before reaching the tender age of 19.

With these clauses in place, Scheer does not fit the definition of a resident anywhere. Nor do many other people in the territory who by any other definition would call themselves Yukoners. As she collected signatures of support, she met many people who could sympathize because at one time, they too had been in the same boat. This has encouraged her even further to write a letter to Lois Moorcroft, the Minister of Education, in hopes that they "amend the Act so that mature students and long time residents of the Yukon can qualify."

Not only does residency permit entry consideration to the school, it also provides financial assistance to students furthering their education. "In Canada students are heavily subsidized by their regions, tuition is only part of the payment" she explains. "I can pay the tuition, it's just that remaining amount that has to come from your sponsoring region and, as it sits right now, I don't have a sponsoring region so I would have to pay the full amount."

She has collected many signatures and received letters of support from the organizers of the Percy DeWolfe Memorial Race and Peter Jenkins, the Klondike MLA.

The bottom line remains however, and Scheer will be out of luck if she cannot find a sponsoring region. She maintains that that should be the Yukon. "This is where I live, this is where my work is being done, and this is where I want to stay."


Fiction: Dogs Mushing

by Jack Fraser

(Have you ever wondered what the dogs talk about when they are on the trail? Well Jack eavesdropped on part of their conversation. Jack's story was submitted to the CBC's dog story contest, where it won first prize in the adult category.)

"Come on, Ralph, let me get by, let me break trail for a while."

"No, I can't do that, Sparkey. You know it is my job to go ahead. If I let you lead we'll end up in Granville instead of Dawson, unless we hit a fresh moose trail. Then God knows where we vcould end up. Hurry up, Walter. Don't lag behind like that.We've got a long way to go yet."

"Gee, I don't know if this is such a good idea. My feet are getting cold, and I'm hungry, and George is going to skin us alive when he catches up to us."

"Don't worry about George. With all that racket coming from the cabin last night, he won't be up for hours. The moon was already going down, and they were still singing."

"That was neat, Ralph, how you figured out how to bite open those snap locks. Now we can travel around whenever we like!!"

"Are you sure those girls are all going to be intown, Sparkey? How do yu know?" "Never mind how I know. I just know, that's all."

"Gee, then, I hope Molly will be there. She's nice."


Who is the Klondike Centennial Society and what is it all about?

by Kathy Donnelly & Elizabeth Connellan
for Klondike Centennial Society

The Klondike Centennial Society was formed in July 1991 to organize activities that celebrate a decade of centennials for the purpose of promoting Dawson City as a tourist destination.

The Board of Directors are all volunteers and all live and work in Dawson City. The current KCS Board of Directors are: Bill Bowie, Peggy Amendola, Boyd Gillis, Sally Robinson, John Gould, Giovanni Castellarin, Suzanne Saito, Peter Menzies, Jon Magnusson, Wendy Burns and Shirley Pennell. The KCS meets at 7:30 pm on the first Wednesday of every month at the KCS building on Third Avenue. These meetings are open to anyone interested and we invite you to come down and participate.


The Klondyke Centennial Society employs Kathy Donnelly as Administrative Officer on a full-time, year round basis and Elizabeth Connellan as our Ton of Gold Event Coordinator until the end of August 1997. Elizabeth was hired through the "Ready, Aim, Hire" program which is an employment initiative program promoted by the Yukon Chamber of Commerce.

During the summer months local residents; Madeleine Gould, Joyce Caley, Donna Close and Gail Selch staffed the Klondyke Centennial Center on a part-time basis to assist with souvenir sales and to provide information to the traveling public. This service is provided each year from June to August inclusive. Our residents are hospitable and very knowledgeable about the Klondike and the visitors love to talk with them.


The KCS Board of Directors and staff re-established a positive, working relationship with the Yukon Anniversaries Commission. Wendy Burns, Community Liaison Officer, shares office space at the Klondyke Centennial Center and, more recently, two of our board members (Bill Bowie & Giovanni Castellarin) have been appointed to the YAC Board of Directors.


1996 saw the completion of the Ridge Road Recreation Trail, which was endorsed as a KCS Centennial Project in 1993. KCS coordinated and hosted the Ridge Road Trail Opening on July 13, 1996 which proved to be a huge success.


KCS successfully acquired Discovery Claim from the estate of the late Art Fry in July of 1996. On August 17, 1996 KCS coordinated and hosted the "Honor the Miner" event which was attended by over 1000 people. Also in attendance were descendants of the original discoverers of gold as well as local and national celebrities such as Audrey McLaughlin, John Ostashek, Judy Gingell, Pierre Berton, "Straight, Clean & Simple", and the Tagish Dancers (to name a few). This event took five months to plan, coordinate and finalize.


The Klondyke Centennial Society, through the dedicated efforts of Jon Magnusson and with the assistance of the RCMP, KVA and YTG, can be credited with the continuing success of this extremely popular visitor attraction. Responsibilities included sponsorship solicitation and recognition, submission of funding applications and final reports, media coverage, brochure development & distribution and scheduling of appearances.

A Red Serge Hitching Post was constructed by the KCS in June of 1996 and is located beside the Klondyke Centennial Center on 3rd Avenue.


KCS designed, produced and distributed 40 historically correct canvas banners to heighten awareness of the Centennial Celebrations and provide visual enhancement to the community of Dawson City.


In February of each year, the KCS plans, coordinates and hosts a Casino Night and Centennial Ball. This is achieved with the assistance of a volunteer committee. Both of these events are well attended and, more specifically, the annual Klondyke Centennial Ball is recognized as one of the "gala" events of the year. This years ball is on February 15th at Diamond Tooth Gerties. Tickets are $60.00 per person and may be purchased by coming into the KCS building or by calling to reserve them at 993-1996. Yes, we take Visa and by the way, we only have thirty tickets left!

The Casino Night is on February 14th, admission is five dollars and the dress code is "Yukon Quest".


This is an ongoing KCS project that includes retail sales of Scrooge McDuck products and promotion of McDuck's link to the Klondike Gold Rush (Scrooge struck it rich on Agony Creek in the Klondike gold fields). The series of Scrooge McDuck Comic Books can be purchased at the Klondike Centennial Center.


KCS is extensively involved in Discovery Days on an annual basis. A KCS representative attends all Discovery Day Committee meetings and we are actively involved in the planning & coordination of this event. The opening ceremonies are hosted by the KCS at the Klondyke Centennial Center.


The KCS hosted the reception for this event and assisted Parks Canada with the set-up and tear down of tables, chairs, etc.


In July 1897 the SS Portland steamed into Seattle. Sixty-eight Klondike miners and their ton of gold onboard sparked the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. One hundred years later the Klondike Centennial Society will host the Ton of Gold Reenactment. The journey begins in Dawson City on July 5, 1997. We have a series of activities planned to launch a floatilla of boats to escort the Ton of Gold Flagship enroute to Whitehorse. Many activities are planned for July 5th and 6th in Dawson including a gold pouring demonstration, parade and the ceremonial loading of the Ton of Gold.

The Klondike Placer Miners Association are involved in supplying Klondike Gold which will be loaded on the Ton of Gold Flagship in Dawson City on July 5th where it will travel via the Yukon River to Carmacks and Whitehorse. The Ton of Gold will be on display in communities enroute from Dawson City to Seattle.

Once in Whitehorse the Ton of Gold will travel via the Whitepass Railway to Skagway, Alaska where the Klondike Millionaires will participate in Skagways' Ton of Gold festivities. On July 13th the Ton of Gold is loaded onto the MV Spirit of '98 cruise ship which will take descendants of the Klondike Gold Seekers down the coast to Seattle, Washington arriving on Saturday July 19, 1997.

Seattle hosts a Gold Rush Gala from July 18th - 20th. The famous Seattle Post - Intelligencer newspaper of July 1897 will be reissued heralding the arrival of the Klondike Millionaires and the Ton of Gold.

The Ton of Gold Reenactment promises to be a feature event of this 1997 Centennial Year celebrating Transportation. We'll be looking to involve lots of Dawson area residents and businesses in the Ton of Gold Reenactment. For more information on the Ton of Gold Reenactment call Elizabeth at 993-1997 or stop by the Klondike Centennial Center.


The design phase of this project was completed in 1996. The "River Overlook" and associated Interpretive Panels are two of the components of this project that were also completed.

The KCS has full responsibility for the administration of this project which is funded by the Centennial Events Program through the Dept. of Economic Development (YTG). The KCS also has responsibility for administering the "Han Cultural Center" component of this project, although the Dawson First Nation will be responsible for the design and construction elements.


The KCS has been providing ongoing administrative assistance for this event which is scheduled to take place on March 23, 1997 at the Corel Center in Ottawa. The Dawson City Nuggets comprised of Damsons' own Oldtimers Hockey players will play a grudge match against the Ottawa Senators Alumni hockey team. The 1905 Stanley Cup Reenactment has already received national and international media attention with Pat Hogan and Kevin Anderson traveling to Ottawa for press conferences.

The Dawson City Nuggets depart Dawson City March 1, 1997 on dogsleds and bicycles beginning this historic expedition. Make plans to come and see the boys off on March 1st.

For those of you that want to travel to Ottawa for the game, there is a Fan Package with Atlas Travel . Call Lana collect at (403) 667-7823 for details.


As you can see, The Klondike Centennial Society is very involved in promoting our community. We invite you to drop by the Klondike Centennial Center where the coffee is always on and we have lots of information and Centennial souvenirs on display. And if you'd like to get involved? Please, we'd love to have your participation.


Snowmobilers Arriving Soon

by Eric Zalitas
Trek Organizer

This is just an update on the upcoming 1997 TREK OVER THE TOP weekends.

This year three weekends will be happening beginning with February 20 1997. This will be the second annual "Destination Tok".

This year the cut off is fifty participants. To date we have confirmed registrations from the N.W.T., British Columbia and a group from Ontario which will include the President of the Canadian Council of Snowmobiling Organizations. The snowmobilers will depart Dawson on Thursday morning and ride to Tok returning Saturday February 22. On there return a dinner banquet will be held and then they will enjoy the festivities at Diamond Tooth Gerties.

The following two weekends the "Yukons Premier Snowmobile Event" will begin. Over 450 snowmobilers will be visiting Dawson over the two weekends of February 27/March2 and March 6/10. The snowmobilers will be arriving on Thursday and will stay three nights returning on the Sunday morning. We will be planning numerous events for them to enjoy Dawson's Hospitality. Over the three weekends approximately 500 snowmobilers will be visiting Dawson, this definitely makes Dawson the "SNOWMOBILE CAPITAL OF THE YUKON".


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