The position of the Peel Watershed Planning Commission, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Yukon Conservation Society on the proposed Peel Land Use Plan is not only hypocritical, but based on false information and scare tactics.
For example, they say they want to protect 80 per cent of the region, and yet they allow guide outfitters to swarm throughout the region and kill animals for money.
They have failed to follow the wisdom of the now-complete North Yukon Land Use Plan, which states “existing site-specific best management practices, used in combination with the direction provided by the plan, are considered adequate to mitigate potential impacts of mineral activity.”
The Peel plan totally fails this. The Peel commission’s proposed plan is a tool for prohibition by excluding mineral prospecting to 80 per cent of the area. The Yukon now has more protected area than any other province in Canada, and more than what’s recommended by the United Nations.
Only one in over 1,000 mineral occurrences will ever become a mine. Even if only one or two mines were ever discovered in the Peel, over 99 per cent of the region would remain undisturbed. Remember one rich mine could pay for all our expensive health care programs that we take for granted in the Yukon.
Someday, there will be a university course using the example of the Peel as how not to conduct land use planning. It is for this reason the Umbrella Final Agreement has a clause in it that states the democratically elected Yukon government has final say on land use planning. The Yukon government’s intent to appeal the plan proposed by the Peel commissioners is the right thing to do.