Photo by Whitehorse Star
Photo by Whitehorse Star
The Yukon Liberals want to turn this territorial election into a walk in the park. McIntyre Park, to be precise.
The party announced Wednesday afternoon it wants to permanently protect the McIntyre Creek area – which is already a regional park.
The announcement was made more as a vision statement than a plan with details by incumbent Porter Creek candidate Ranj Pillai during a streamed news conference.
Pillai referred a number of reporters’ questions to a 2020 study on the area. Those questions included the extent of land under consideration, which Pillai didn’t know.
The report pegged the land at roughly 4,600 hectares.
“Most people know where this land is,” Pillai said, noting it runs from Fish Lake down to the Yukon River in the Porter Creek and Takhini areas.
Pillai also couldn’t say what type of park the party had in mind – untouched or having a trail network people could enjoy.
Those key details would only come after extensive consultations with other levels of government, he said.
“As part of our plan to protect the Yukon’s environment, a re-elected Yukon Liberal government will create McIntyre Creek Park,” Pillai said, reading from a prepared statement that was also part of a news release.
“Working together with Yukoners, the City of Whitehorse, Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Ta’an Kwäch’an Council, and Yukon University, a Yukon Liberal government will set aside land to permanently protect McIntyre Creek for present and future generations of Yukoners.
“The creation of McIntyre Creek Park will benefit all Yukoners. This area has tremendous historical, cultural, and academic importance for the residents of Whitehorse and they have been asking for protection for decades.
“McIntyre Creek and its surrounding lands include significant wildlife areas and unique wetlands that support biodiversity in our territory.”
Paolo Gallina, the Liberal incumbent/candidate for Porter Creek Centre, also commented.
“McIntyre Creek is an important recreation area for Yukoners to connect with nature. Establishing a park in this area will provide a permanent place to enjoy nature within the city and protect important habitats that support a variety of plants and animals, including rare and threatened species,” Gallina said.
The release stated the “creation of McIntyre Creek Park will help slow biodiversity loss in the Yukon by protecting important wildlife areas.
“The park will also provide a permanent outdoor recreation space that people of all ages and abilities can access by walking, cycling, public transportation and other means.”
No figures were provided as to how much it would cost to create the park.
The release also promised a re-elected Yukon Liberal government would continue to take action by developing both species at risk and animal protection legislation to ensure that the Yukon’s wildlife and animal populations are adequately protected.
“The Yukon Liberal Party is committed to protecting Yukon’s environment and taking real action on the climate crisis,” the party said.
“By taking real action, the Liberals will make sure fragile ecosystems are protected, the land planning process continues to move forward, and Yukoners can enjoy our pristine wilderness safely and respectfully.”
The discussion of the park came on top of some discussion about the Liberals’ climate change policies.
“Climate change is one of the most important issues facing our world today, and the Yukon is front and centre when it comes to the impacts of a changing climate,” Gallina said.
“Our Liberal team is committed to continuing our work to mitigate and adapt to climate change. These are also concrete steps to protect the Yukon’s environment,” Gallina said.
A re-elected Yukon Liberal government would:
• continue to take action by developing both species at risk and animal protection legislation to ensure that the Yukon’s wildlife and animal populations are adequately protected;
• continue the fracking ban in the Yukon;
• work with Yukon University to consider the development of a building science program tailored to northern climates;
• partner with the City of Whitehorse to improve public transit;
• create recreation infrastructure across the Yukon in an ecologically sensitive way for both motorized and non-motorized vehicles;
• complete the wetlands strategy within the first year of a renewed mandate;
• include carbon intensity targets for mines and large industrial projects; and
• introduce legislation for the development of geothermal projects.
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