Open letter to the Peel Land Use Planning Commission:
I am writing to express my concern, as a Yukon citizen, for the current land-use planning process in the Peel area.
• Fully protect at least 50 per cent of the Peel, including the Hart, Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume watersheds, and important cultural areas along the northern Peel main stem.
• Do not allow road access – summer or winter – in the above areas. Access for mining exploration is not acceptable (exploration access has almost all been by air to date, so there is no need for road access for exploration); impacts from road exploration would be very detrimental to tourism, wildlife and cultural values.
• Wide buffers along all rivers need to be clearly defined; they need to be the entire glacial valley, up to the toe of the mountains on each side of all rivers.
• Protect viewscapes along all rivers.
Also, I support the commission’s proposal to end staking of new mineral claims in the Hart, Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume watersheds. There needs to be a moratorium on free-entry staking in these watersheds now, before more claims are staked.
More than 10,000 claims have been staked in the Peel area since land-use planning began. Please do not let the Yukon government’s statement that there will be no compensation for, or expropriation of claims influence your plan since it is not up to the commission to deal with existing claims, but rather to produce a strong plan that the Yukon public and First Nations can support.