Ranch cleanup
Work well under way at Rocking Horse Ranch

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Nov 18/98) - The Rocking Horse Ranch is looking more and more like a ranch, and less like a salvage yard, these days.

Johnnie Rocher, who holds a long-term lease on the property, said he's been hauling truckloads of material from the Highway 3 property to the dump.

"Some of it I can still use, but we're hauling away the junk," said Rocher Monday. Material to be reused is being moved to part of the property that is out of site from the highway.

The road is the only land route into Yellowknife. One of the reasons given for the termination of the lease is the unfavourable impression it gives tourists and others driving into town. The lease requires the property to be used for a game farm.

The patriarch of the Rocher family said the marshy property is not yet firm enough to bring in the heavy equipment that will be needed to move some of the old cars and buildings there, but, he said, it likely won't be too long before that can be done.

"We should be finished up in two weeks or so," said Rocher.

Last month, the city suspended a clean-up order for the Highway 3 property, but gave the 12 months notice required to terminate the long-term lease Rocher holds on the property.

Though it was not made part of the motion to terminate the lease, council said it would, if requested, reconsider its decision if significant progress was made on the cleanup.

Rocher has leased the property since 1987. During that time, he has used it to store recyclable and salvaged materials, machinery, old vehicles and small buildings.

Rocher told council he still intends to put it to that use, but needed it to store recyclable material he was left to hold when the market for it collapsed.