Don’t pander to the special interests

Don't pander to the special interests The Peel Watershed Planning Commission has done a great job of identifying areas of concern and value based on a single question, "What areas need to be protected?" This is a land mass one-seventh of the total size

The Peel Watershed Planning Commission has done a great job of identifying areas of concern and value based on a single question, “What areas need to be protected?”

This is a land mass one-seventh of the total size of Yukon; when added to the currently protected lands we would have one-third of Yukon removed from development of any kind. With other planning regions yet to be done I’m sure we will find more lands that need to be protected. Let’s take the Peel report and the generalized comments to protect 100 per cent of the Peel region.

Protect the Peel region 100 per cent Ð no development, no exploration, no tourism (including ecotourism), no trapping, no hunting, no air traffic, no research, no human traffic or activity of any sort on/under the land, or within its airspace.

The region will only be observed and protected from space through passive remote sensing and constant and committed boundary patrols.

Are we happy now?

As soon as the report was published some special interest groups and political parties commented “we fully support the recommendations” without defining that statement, or even having time to read more than the cover page.

It is easy for them to do this as they will never be held accountable and can, and most likely will, change their position depending on who asks the question and when the question is asked.

In the report, I noticed the Turner Wetland boundary is quite different from that used by most other organizations and extends oddly to the west and includes a very large dry hill as part of the wetland. Within this comprehensive report, what other generalizations and interpretations are being made?

The government has developed a regulatory process, which is constantly under review and improvement by each successive government. The YESAA process has proven itself to be practical, functional and successful.

The Umbrella Final Agreement is in place and is tested and understood by all parties. Through these, each development request is evaluated and assessed on its merits, public and First Nation concerns, environmental issues and land-use planning recommendations.

I support adding all regional planning reports as tools for the regulatory and review process, but not as an exact unquestionable absolute.

How the Peel or any section of Yukon should or should not be developed is a delicate, difficult and complicated question with ramifications beyond the immediate environmental and economic issues of the day.

I support a slow, deliberate review process that looks outside the immediate area of interest, beyond the concerns of one or two special interest groups and looks as far into the future as possible.

To make a decision based on all available information and in good faith does not preclude one from altering that decision when new information becomes available.

David Laxton

Whitehorse