Category: Wade Istchenko Letters

Core Infrastructure

Wade Istchenko, MLA for Kluane

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, July 12th, 2013
by Wade Istchenko, Minister of Highways & Public Works

Maintaining safe and reliable infrastructure is one of the most important priorities for Canadians.

It’s an issue that impacts not only government’s bottom line, but everyone’s day-to-day lives from the water we use to brush our teeth in the morning to the roads we drive on to get to work.

One only has to look at recent events around our country to see the impacts on daily life that occur when the quality and safety of our infrastructure is affected.

It is infrastructure that provides the foundation for our lifestyle through amenities such as highways, hospitals and recreation centres, and it is integral for present and future economic development and diversification.

With Territory’s lifestyle, safety and economy in mind, the Government of Yukon continues to invest in the development and maintenance of the infrastructure sustains us.

This year, the Government of Yukon is making hundreds of millions in investments in a number of key areas across the territory, including:

  • Upgrades to bridges;
  • Highway repairs;
  • Maintenance of highway equipment;
  • Airport upgrades;
  • School maintenance and construction;
  • Health care infrastructure construction and maintenance;
  • Land development;
  • Seniors housing construction;
  • Flood mitigation;
  • Weather station replacements;
  • Solid waste site upgrades;
  • Water and sewer improvements;
  • Rural water supply systems;
  • Building repairs;
  • Maintenance of historic sites; and
  • Recreation centre upgrades.


Ensuring that core infrastructure such as roads, bridges and airports can move people and goods in and products out will remain important part of not only Yukon’s future, but that of every region of Canada.

From Newfoundland and Labrador to Yukon, the importance of infrastructure development and maintenance has been highlighted as a key element of success.

As the most advanced territory in the North, the Government of Yukon will continue to play its part in infrastructure development and maintenance.

Through continued investment and partnerships with the Government of Canada, First Nations and municipalities, we will ensure that the territory’s water is clean, roads are safe and that Yukon continues to be a great place to live and invest.

Bogus assertions deserved an aborted take-off

Wade Istchenko, MLA for Kluane

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Monday, May 10, 2013
by Wade Istchenko, Minister of Highways & Public Works

Having seen Yukon government employees clearing runways at -30C, I must take offense to recent assertions by Opposition members of the Legislative Assembly that there have been issues related to employee negligence and public safety at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

I find it irresponsible to try to score political points at the expense of the reputation of members of the public service.

To be clear, we are not aware of any complaints from industry, regulators or citizens as a result of runway conditions. Neither have there been any delays as a result of our international airport’s runways.

Transport Canada, the federal authority whose safety standards Yukon’s airport must and does comply with, keeps records of any incidents of concern and their databases do not list any incidents of overruns, near misses, maintenance issues or any other runway-related safety concerns.

To ensure that Whitehorse airport’s runways comply with the runway friction index – a measurement system used to ensure that runways provide the appropriate amount of friction for aircraft on their approach – surfaces are assessed at least every eight hours in icy or snowy conditions. They are assessed more often when conditions are changing.

Investments in wireless technology are also being made that will further improve monitoring efforts by sending up-to-date information directly to carriers.

I would like thank the members of the public service at the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport for their continued dedication to service in keeping our runways clear and our travelers safe.

Your efforts are appreciated.


Wade Istchenko
Minister of Highways and Public Works
Government of Yukon

Procurement and Contracting

Wade Istchenko, MLA for Kluane

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, April 12, 2013
by Wade Istchenko

One of the most important responsibilities elected officials have is ensuring that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely.

This is a serious responsibility that requires a careful review of society’s needs and a financial plan that allows government to ensure that the quality of life citizens expect is respected and that their needs are responsibly met.

In its most recent budget, the Government of Yukon demonstrates that it remains committed to maintaining and improving the quality of life that has made the territory the envy of the nation.

From housing, to health care, to core infrastructure that supports the economy, the 2013/14 budget that was recently tabled in the legislative assembly includes a number of capital projects.

Millions of dollars will be invested in housing projects in the coming fiscal year, including the replacement of MacDonald Lodge in Dawson City, new seniors’ housing complexes in Mayo and Whitehorse, and the completion of second stage housing for women and children fleeing abuse.

A new fire hall, Emergency Medical Service, and Search and Rescue facility will be constructed in Beaver Creek. Two new ambulances will be purchased as will a new pumper-tanker for Yukon’s territorial fire service.

A new recreational facility will be constructed in Ross River.

Strategic investments will be made in transportation infrastructure, including pavement overlay on the Haines Road, rehabilitation of 10.7 kilometres of the Alaska Highway, reconstruction of sections of the Campbell Highway and Atlin Road, and surfacing and erosion control on areas of the Dempster Highway.

Airfield improvements will be made in Burwash Landing, Dawson City and Mayo.

Upgrades will be made to water treatment and/or delivery systems in Faro, Haines Junction, Deep Creek and Mendenhall.

To move forward on the government’s commitment to the environment, millions of dollars are being allocated to the continuation of the Faro mine reclamation project with the help of Canada, and further investments are being made to upgrade solid waste management, recycling and composting systems in Yukon communities.

Many of these projects will be undertaken and completed through the use of contractors and consultants who bid in competitive processes to ensure that the Government of Yukon receives the best value for its dollars.

In all, there are approximately 6,500 contracts issued by the Government of Yukon annually accounting for 40 percent of the territorial budget. The vast majority of these contracts are completed on time and on budget thanks to the diligent work of both contractors and members of the public service.

This year, in an effort to further improve competitive bidding and contracting processes the Government of Yukon is opening a Procurement Office. This office, designed in consultation with suppliers, will provide centralized procurement support, introduce easy-to-use electronic tools, and provide increased training to government employees.

The office officially opened at the beginning of this month and will be fully operational on April 1, 2014.

The projects in this year’s budget will go a long way to maintaining and improving one of the best areas in Canada in which to live.

As government moves forward with its budget and its projects, it remains committed to the principles of responsibility and accountability thereby working toward the best outcomes for Yukoners.