The Yukon government has so far spent $285,767 on Outside legal fees defending its position on the Peel land use case.
Megan Foreman of the Department of Justice said last Thursday $232,496 was paid to Torys LLP of Toronto for the appeal.
As well, $53,271 was paid to Hunter Litigation Chambers of Vancouver for the initial trial in the Yukon Supreme Court.
There were in-house legal costs incurred by the department but those costs are not recorded specifically, she said.
Legal fees incurred by the two First Nations and two environmental organizations who sued over the government’s handling of the Peel land use process have not yet been made available.
The First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, the Tr’ondek Hwechin, the Yukon Conservation Society and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Association joined forces to sue the government.
The coalition won in Yukon Supreme Court, prompting the government to file an appeal with the Yukon Court of Appeal.
As a result of the Court of Appeal decision handed down in November, the coalition has asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal, though there are no guarantees the highest court will agree to hear it.
The Supreme Court of Canada typically hears between 10 and 15 per cent of the cases that seek leave to appeal.
After several years of planning, the Yukon government rejected the land use plan recommended by the planning commission and implemented its own plan.
At the initial trial, Yukon Justice Ron Veale found the Yukon government did not conduct itself properly during the planning process.
He ordered the government to throw out its plan and adopt the land use plan recommended by the planning commission. It called for 80 per cent wilderness protection over the Peel region with very restricted road and rail access.
While the Court of Appeal also found the government acted improperly, it set aside Veale’s order and instead ordered the parties back to the planning table.
Forcing the government to adopt the planning commission’s recommendation would not be in keeping with the spirit of reconciliation intended in the Yukon’s aboriginal land claim agreements, the Court of Appeal ruled.