Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for December 24, 2013

Work on Peel plan will be over in three weeks, minister says

The moratorium on staking mineral claims inside the Peel River watershed has been extended to Jan. 21.

By Chuck Tobin on December 24, 2013 at 2:38 pm

photo

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Environment Minister Currie Dixon

The moratorium on staking mineral claims inside the Peel River watershed has been extended to Jan. 21.

Environment Minister Currie Dixon said Monday the Yukon government and four affected First Nations are on the cusp of concluding a final land use plan for the Peel watershed but just need another three weeks.

“We are almost there, we are very close,” Dixon said following Monday’s announcement of an extension.

“But we felt we needed an additional three weeks, and we feel we can conclude that process by that time.”

The moratorium was scheduled to end Dec. 31. It was first implemented in February 2010 for one year, and has been extended several times since.

The committee of senior representatives from all the parties have been meeting.

Most recently, Dixon, Premier Darrell Pasloski and Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Scott Kent have been meeting with the First Nation leaders, he said.

Dixon said they’re hoping to have a land use plan in place before the moratorium comes off.

The moratorium was put in place as a means of preventing any further mineral staking that could affect future land use designations.

Also instituted was a moratorium on the collection of annual fees required to keep mineral claims in good standing.

There are more than 8,000 registered quartz claims in the Peel watershed.

The Peel planning process has been extremely adversarial.

The First Nations are pushing for maximum wilderness protection of the area, along with many Yukoners and others around the world.

Pasloski, on the other hand, insists there must be a fair balance between environmental protection and opportunities for economic development.

The issue has prompted several public demonstrations in support of maximum protection.

Even industry left its usual seat behind the scenes at one time and organized a letter-writing campaign, just like the one organized by the one of the environmental protection groups.

On Monday, the government also announced a new moratorium on staking mineral claims inside the traditional territory of the Ross River Dena Council, for legal reasons (see separate story).

The Ross River area is 63,000 square kilometres, or a shade smaller than the 68,042 square kilometres that make up the Peel.

Taken together, there is now a moratorium on mineral staking in 25 per cent of the Yukon.

CommentsAdd a comment

Angela Sabo

Dec 25, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I think the Government will make a big mistake not respecting the land use plan.
It would look like the greatest disrespect towards the 4 involved First Nations as well as disrespect for the opinion of over 90% of the Yukon citizens.
Are willing to repeat similar mistakes as were done during the times of residential schools? Disrespect on a different level?

Frank Fister

Dec 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Lets Peel away the hypocrisy- this is all about protecting the interests of mining companies which contribute to the Yukon Party’s campaign contributions.

What an insincere government.

scott herron

Dec 30, 2013 at 9:07 am

The Cathers-Pasloski government should be given the recognition it deserves. It is no easy feat of accomplishment to be so incompetent that they have destroyed working relationships with industry (25% moratorium on staking, in addition to the current oil and gas moratoriums); first nation government; supporters of the UFA (myself included here); and conservationists.

anne

Dec 30, 2013 at 6:57 pm

wow…..is the whole population of Yukon made up of nothing but namby pamby politicaly correct lefties?  Is anyone out there in favour of responsible development?  Where are the people with good jobs in mining?  I can hardly stand all the whiners out there.

yukoner

Jan 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm

@Angela where do you get 90% of the people? Do you just pull that out of the air? 25 people like your comment and 25 don’t so it’s a fifty fifty split with the people that read your comment.

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