Open letter to Minister Brad Cathers, re: West Dawson and Sunnydale local area plan:
While much of the public’s attention has been focused on the Peel watershed, another land use exercise has quietly been unfolding in Dawson City where the West Dawson and Sunnydale local area plan has been stalled for two years by your government.
Local area planning is a type of land use planning that is done in unincorporated communities for private land and Yukon land. It can also include First Nation settlement land if it is done jointly with First Nations. Local area plans include policies and maps that designate different areas for different uses. They are developed with the help of a steering committee usually made up of residents from the area being planned.
Planning helps to define a community’s vision for the future and how it can move forward in that direction. A local area plan provides guidelines and policies to minimize land use conflicts, and to make sure that future development and growth occurs in an orderly manner.
A draft local area plan has been prepared for West Dawson and Sunnydale (2011).
In the fall of 2012, and again the spring of 2013, we exchanged letters regarding the plan. Your letter of November 28, 2012 confirmed that the Tr’ondek Hwech’in First Nation is prepared to support the plan as recommended and the last remaining step is for the Government of Yukon to sign off.
Residents I have spoken with are concerned about the long delay in this plan becoming finalized. They fear the government does not support the plan and wants changes made. Similar to the Peel situation residents have spoken and they worry the Yukon Party does not like what it has heard and may want to go another way.
Why is your government delaying this local area plan, and what are the reasons behind your refusal to sign off on it?