Editorial page

Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Pay for play makes sense

The recent decision by parks and tourism to get more aggressive on campground regulations makes sense.

Along with small changes to the fees charged for camping, the department is introducing for the first time day-use permits for people using Fred Henne Park at Long Lake.

At $10 a season per vehicle, this doesn't seem too outrageous.

As the parking lot can be regarded as an amenity, why not charge people who throughout the summer spend time enjoying the sun and surf at Long Lake?

As for campers, it's good news for people who decide at the last minute to head out for a night under the stars. Walk-in campers will now be charged $10 per night, instead of the $12 paid in the past.

RV hook-ups will increase $5 a night to $20.

All of the fees are on a per-vehicle basis and are dependent on what kinds of sites that are being used.

The department says the decision to become more aggressive comes as a result of an increase in park use and no increase in the parks budget.

Considering the wonderful array of parks and campgrounds we have, both within city limits and along the Ingraham Trail, campers can hardly complain.

With many Yellowknifers unable to afford a cottage, camping and heading to the beach is a popular and still relatively inexpensive way for families to enjoy the summer.

Surrounded by lakes and rivers, we have premier camping opportunities compared to our southern neighbours.

The department's new pay for play scheme is so reasonable, it probably won't even be noticed by users.

A positive step first

In the bureaucratese about "combining support functions" and finding "efficiencies" that accompanied word of a senior management shuffle at city hall lies a nugget of wisdom.

It is that you can do the same work with fewer people and save money along the way.

The re-organization will only save about $20,000 a year -- a small sum from a $30 million budget -- but the significance is the willingness to change. The city could just have easily hired someone to replace the retiring human resources director.

Instead, for the third time since September, a senior management position has been cut and departments re-organized.

It's a positive step that we hope will only continue because the city should always be on the lookout to "save money without affecting service levels."

Future plans

A recent meeting of architectural minds spent the day trying to figure out how to turn the city's downtown core inside out. Ideas that were put forward included making Franklin Ave. a permanent pedestrian mall, rooftop gardens on streetfront establishments, and turning a parking lot and a bank into a plaza.

Such cosmopolitan flights of fancy are certainly fun to think about, although they have a ring of improbability to them.

There is, on the other hand, a need for a real vision for the city's future, a vision that incorporates housing, retail, schooling, recreation and transportation. We need a practical, constructive plan that goes beyond mere zoning laws to consider things such as tourism and environmental conservation.

Exploiting the future begins with a plan.

Ringing endorsement
Editorial Comment
Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News

Community effort appreciated It is good to see so many individuals getting involved with worthwhile activities to make the communities stronger.

The success of the recent Pakallak Tyme celebrations in Rankin Inlet and other surrounding events is a prime example of what can be accomplished with a little determination and hard work.

Contrary to rumours circulating around the community, Bob Foster is contemplating coming back as co-ordinator of the Rankin Inlet Snowmobile Association race next year.

Foster admits he might not have volunteered for the job had he known how much work was involved, but his performance was second to none in making the event highly successful, and he should be praised for his efforts.

Grassroots solution

It was also good to hear Aqsaaraq Addiction Projects co-ordinator Beth Thomas talking about Aqsaaraq becoming more proactive in addressing addictions.

The key to lowering addiction rates across the Kivalliq Region rests with a grassroots approach to increasing awareness and education.

There is no better place to start battling addictions than in classrooms across the region.

The more our kids understand addiction, the better armed they will be to fight the inevitable temptations to come their way.

But like so many issues when it comes to our youth, the original battle line starts in the home.

Without support, guidance and direction at home, today's youth will simply repeat the mistakes of the generation before them instead of learning from those mistakes.

Coping with illness

It took strength and courage for Rankin's Lynn and Chris Rudd to speak so openly during the past week about the affliction their six-year-old daughter, Alexandra, lives with.

Lynn has spent time as a counsellor at Aqsaaraq and is an active member of the Inuksugait Committee, which helps the physically-challenged and shut-ins of her community.

As knowledgable as Lynn is in helping those facing problems or challenges, it takes a special courage and strength to speak openly about a family member, especially when it's your child.

Lynn and Chris have been striving to raise awareness of neurofibromatosis, a genetic disorder affecting about 3,000 Canadians.

Our communities need more leaders willing to step up and work to improve the quality of life in our region.

And, as with most things in life, increased awareness and education is a great place to start.