Keeping Peel options open

Keeping Peel options open A quote from a Feb. 1 article about the Peel Watershed plan: "There's a lot of ways you can protect an ecological region without locking it up and throwing away the key," said (Darius) Elias. "I don't want to handcuff Yukoners 5

A quote from a Feb. 1 article about the Peel Watershed plan: “There’s a lot of ways you can protect an ecological region without locking it up and throwing away the key,” said (Darius) Elias. “I don’t want to handcuff Yukoners 50 years from now.”

If this was speaking theoretically, fine. No one wants to do that. If it was referring to the Peel plan, then the quote gets it backwards.

One of the key strengths of the Peel plan is that it does not “handcuff Yukoners 50 years from now.” A major moral feature of the final recommended plan is to preserve the options of society to make choices about this landscape in the future, since society is clearly divided about it at present.

Twenty per cent of the watershed is recommended for resource access right now. Another 25 per cent is for interim protection, to be reviewed by society every 10 years. Fifty-five per cent - an area that the commission was told matters to Yukoners and Canadians as a whole Ð was recommended for “special management area” protection. Even these areas can be reviewed if society believes it is important to do so.

This is anything but handcuffing Yukoners or “locking it up and throwing away the key.”

A more apt analogy is that of a family deciding how to handle an inheritance with unique assets. Some of the relatives want to get at it and sell it off right away. Others say:

“Not so fast. We don’t need to use it right now so let’s put it into a trust account and manage it for the long term. We can rethink later if we need to.”

When people disagree, we believe it is sound public policy and it is fair to preserve options. Especially when it is evident that we don’t need to “develop” this landscape immediately. Developing now will indeed handcuff Yukoners 50 years from now, as it will deprive them of options that can’t be reclaimed.

David Loeks

Chairman

Peel Watershed Planning Commission