Yukon Weekly

Old Crow’s water delivery is understaffed

Key Takeways:

  • Water from the community treatment plant is delivered by truck to residences and businesses, but on Nov. 2 Whitehorse-Centre MLA told the legislature that staff are struggling to keep up with problem.
  • Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Annie Blake sent a letter to the Minister of Highways and public works regarding the issue on July 14.

New Democratic MLAs, including the member for Vuntut riding, have said more government workers are needed to keep up with water delivery demands in Old Crow.

Water from the community treatment plant is delivered by truck to residences and businesses, but on Nov. 2 Whitehorse-Centre MLA told the legislature that staff are struggling to keep up with problem.

“This ongoing staffing shortage has a direct impact on the community. this is often a Yukon community where people have to prioritize water use or risk running out altogether,” said Tredger.

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“Citizens know to conserve water to make it last, but still, it’s not rare to have a home run out of water — typically for days at a time. Let me repeat this: we’ve got a community in the Yukon where people don’t have consistent access to running water. what is the minister doing to repair this unacceptable situation?” said Tredger.

Answering the question on the floor of the legislature, Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn said it “is a problem that we have to handle and i will get more data.”

Vuntut Gwitchin MLA Annie Blake sent a letter to the Minister of Highways and public works regarding the issue on July 14.

According to Blake, the old Crow treatment plant is staffed by 2 full-time workers who work up to 6 days per week to deliver water. She described how {they are|they’re} currently operating extra hours on-call and are unable to take holidays, get out on the land or go on medical leave.

In the letter, addressed to Minister Nils Clarke, Blake notes that housing shortages exacerbate the matter. Not only does overcrowding increase more water usage, but there’s little housing available for new potential workers.

“With the ongoing pressure of constantly being prepared to deliver service, the 2 main workers, who are citizens of old Crow, are at an increased risk of burnout and exhaustion,” reads Blake’s letter.

Staff for the treatment plant are utilized by the Yukon government. Technically water delivery falls under Community Services, but Mostyn said they’re contracted through the department of Highways and public works.

Kelly Howie, who looks after the co-op in Old Crow, has said the business is affected by the water problems. The Co-op building includes the shop in addition to housing for Howie’s family and 2 hotel rooms for guests in the community.

Her water tank, with 750 gallons capacity, isn’t always enough to fulfill the demand of the amount of people using the building.

“We limit our water. other than that, it’s hoping and praying,” she said. “It’s not simply just. If it was, that will be fabulous. but [the delivery staff] have 75 homes and the other businesses, the school and therefore the government.”

“There have been 2 workers members delivering water in old Crow for a very long time. Nothing has modified there so I’m not extremely sure why this is suddenly a problem,” he said.

“I don’t think people in old Crow are affected by a lack of water. i think there’s occasionally, perhaps, delays, but I haven’t even heard specifics that,” he said. “The water in old Crow meets or exceeds all water quality guideline necessities. thus they’ve got good water up in old Crow and it simply comes down to the staffing, and as I said, nothing has changed in the staffing for several years,” he said.

Mostyn said staffing and coaching is often a challenge in small communities but to his knowledge, the 2 staff are able to be backfilled by other highways department workers in Dawson city.

Source-CTV News

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