Promoting progress

Promoting progress The Power of Progress Ð Opportunities North, a Yukon Chamber of Commerce conference held recently in Whitehorse, highlighted game changers that are or will affect our northern economy. The first game changer is energy. Our territory's

The Power of Progress Ð Opportunities North, a Yukon Chamber of Commerce conference held recently in Whitehorse, highlighted game changers that are or will affect our northern economy.

The first game changer is energy. Our territory’s current hydroelectricity capacity is not going to be enough as the Yukon experiences population and industry growth. What seems like a problem is actually an opportunity. First we need to be more energy efficient and secondly, given there are paying customers, Yukoners need to decide on the type of clean energy solutions we want to pay for and leave to future generations. It won’t be diesel. Instead we need to decide on a mix of energy conservation, hydro, natural gas, biomass, wind, waste to energy, and geothermal.

The second game changer is infrastructure. Interestingly, Alaska’s Skagway port is in the process of being refit to receive Yukon’s resources, although, the time is coming when we could develop King Point, a Yukon coastal port, to ship both the Yukon’s and the Northwest Territories’ resources to market. Airports and roads need to be improved to assist both the tourism and mining industries. And, there soon may be scheduled air traffic to Mayo, Faro and Watson Lake as a benefit of regional economic activity.

The third game changer is resource development. A shift is occurring in this industry. Yukon is moving from exploration which is exciting, to production which is real. Not only do we have three operating mines in the Yukon (Capstone, Alexco, Yukon Zinc) more are on their way and one called Casino is so large, it could be a 30- to 50-year operation and thus, a stabilizing economic force for Yukon and First Nation governments and businesses.

The fourth game changer is tourism product development. More is coming on line. Mt. Sima is acquiring a new chairlift and the WildPlay Yukon Element Park which includes the longest free-falling zip line in North America and an amazing adventure course high in the trees called a Monkido.

White Pass continues to benefit from cruise ship traffic and is pleased to see Disney Cruise Lines enter the Alaska market. Carcross/Tagish Development Corporation is actively promoting a downtown Carcross land development project. And Whitehorse is seeing more waterfront development and a new Kwanlin Dun cultural centre.

The fifth game changer is investment attraction. First Nation investment and business ventures are changing the Yukon economy. Business with First Nation investment like Air North, Castle Rock, and Northerm are expanding and becoming stronger. Principles of sustainability and social responsibly are also exercised by First Nations when they invest and do business, thus, demonstrating a high standard for all businesses to match.

A special feature of our conference was the perspectives of three previous Yukon premiers: Dennis Fentie, Pat Duncan, and Piers McDonald. They spoke to the maturity of Yukon’s governance and the economy. In particular, how important devolution and land claims have been for creating our own sense of identity and place within Canada. Moving forward new challenges include finding energy sources and the provision of housing, career-advancing education, and social services.

Thanks to all the game changers who attended the conference. Presentations can be found online at

Darielle Talarico

Yukon Chamber of Commerce, chair

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An avalanche warning sigh along the South Klondike Highway. Local avalanche safety instructors say interest in courses has risen during the pandemic as more Yukoners explore socially distanced outdoor activities. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)
Backcountry busy: COVID-19 has Yukoners heading for the hills

Stable conditions for avalanches have provided a grace period for backcountry newcomers

Several people enter the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 26. The Yukon government announced on Jan. 25 that residents of Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne areas 65 and older can now receive their vaccines. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Vaccine appointments available in Whitehorse for residents 65+

Yukoners 65 and older living in Whitehorse are now eligible to receive… Continue reading

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read