Sometimes when I write these articles, and I’m experiencing a little writer’s block, I start to picture life in the North through the eyes of the tourist.
I like to imagine the look of confusion and dismay on their faces as they glance at a headline in one of the local newspapers about the current lot shortage crisis plaguing the City of Whitehorse.
And they do this as they drive by the — still vacant after 2.5 years — old Canadian Tire lot.
Yes, the same Canadian Tire lot that you drive by daily and think to yourself, Boy that place has been for sale for far too long, if only it were in a prime location … say, at the corner of 4th and Cook. (OK, maybe that’s just me.)
Their confusion grows even more so while they spend at least 20 minutes waiting in line at the KFC drive thru.
“Carl, yuse just gotta bes patient cuz I want some popcorn chicken!” she says while honking the horn furiously, her stomach growling in unison with the beeps.
“I don’t know, Doris, it seems there’s no one about.”
Perhaps that was the conversation, maybe not.
And say this couple is on a return visit to Whitehorse following a stop a few years back.
Imagine their dismay when they pull into the Esso … check that … pull into the vacant lot on 2nd Avenue where the Esso used to be, to fill up their motor home only to find yet another empty space.
Sure they’ll be disappointed, but not to worry, they’ll just head up the road to the Shell station next to the KFC.
Oh wait, nope, that one’s empty, too, and has been that way for more than two years as well.
While they try to comprehend the lot shortage issue, they’ll head to the grocery store by the liquor store and Subway.
Nope, nothing there either.
I guess what I’m trying to say is Whitehorse has a lot of prime space that is sitting dormant.
Just think how great an IKEA or brand-new movie complex would look next to the Qwanlin Mall.
Or even better, one of the vacant lots being host to the first ever year-round carnival to be held in northern Canada.
Kids eating cotton candy, locals employed, vacant space filled.
We know what a hit it was last month.
And if that doesn’t work, heck, why don’t they just fill all the space with dozens of tents?
We partially solve the housing issue, while reducing the empty space.
Yukoners, after all, are used to large cement parking lots being taken over by temporary homes in the summer.
I can see the conversation now.
“Carl, what’s with all the tents scattered about the city?”
“It’s a gold rush town, Doris, that’s how they do things up here.”