DAWSON CITY, Yn – Unseasonably warm weather in Yukon is cold comfort for residents of Dawson City who depend on an ice bridge across the Yukon River to connect the community during the winter months.
The territorial government’s plans to create an “ice Band-Aid” to the Yukon River outside the community have been suspended because balmy conditions are thwarting efforts to freeze a 90-metre gap of open water between Dawson and West Dawson.
Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn announced $200,000 last month to spray ice water over the gap in an effort to promote freeze-up.
A social media post from him on Monday says warm weather has impeded the project.
Daytime temperatures did not fall below freezing on several days last week, although Environment Canada lists the average January high for the community at -22.
A ferry connects Dawson City in the summer and the river usually freezes shortly after the ferry stops operating, but the ice has not formed for the second year in a row, forcing at least 100 residents to make a 10 to 15 kilometre detour by foot, ski or snowmobile.
At the time the ice bridge plan was announced in December, Mostyn said he was “fairly confident” of success but offered no guarantees, saying the territory would have to be innovative because “the climate is not what it once was.”
Mostyn’s latest update on the project says the government will have more details about it in the coming days. (CKRW)