I have recently read and re-read the article in the July 5, 2013, Yukon News titled “Dunes development causes controversy in Carcross.”
Firstly, I should state that as a resident of Carcross I entirely support Daphne Mennell’s efforts to oppose development in the dunes.
The dunes are an integral part of the community, contributing to the many special features that make Carcross unique. There are threatened species of plants and invertebrates that are found in very few places other than the Carcross dune system.
As well, I have seen the result of building a single structure on the edge of the dune system and the impact that has had on the surrounding area.
To state that developing a 400-metre area on the lakeside that barely reaches into the dunes to my mind demonstrates a profound lack of understanding about how the dune system develops and sustains itself.
To suggest that “plans have been widely publicized and received plenty of public input so far” is somewhat misleading as there has only been one public meeting in November 2012 to address the rezoning application. While there may have been further consultation, to the best of my knowledge it was not widely publicized. Further, I would like to state that the general consensus at the meeting that I attended was that development in the dunes was not widely supported by those present.
Mr. Ferbey’s response to opposition was essentially that this is Carcross/Tagish First Nation (CTFN) land and they will do what they want on it. I do respect his right to make these statements. But to then suggest that people have a romanticized notion of what First Nations should be is at odds with the usual public statements that the First Nations are “protectors of the land.” Development in the dunes is hardly “protecting the land.”
I would also like to suggest that Jerome McIntyre’s statement that “Carcross needs new housing and the First Nations plan is a good way to help provide it” neglects the fact that there is land available that is less environmentally fragile.
CTFN has a number of lots in the Watson River subdivision that have never been developed. As well, there is considerable room for further development in the Watson River subdivision Phase 2, as planned when the subdivision was originally developed. Also, at present, there are lots available at Spirit Lake that have been on the market for over a year, as well as two private properties that have been on the market for a significant period of time in Carcross.
What has been left unsaid is that some parties want “waterfront” property in Carcross and that is not available without development in the dunes.
I would strongly urge the public to oppose development in the Carcross dunes and protect this area for future generations. It is a very special piece of our world and should be treasured by all.