Open letter to the Peel Planning Commission:
I would like to submit another letter on the draft Peel land-use plan.
I know that the most important destroyer of wilderness ecosystems (which support tourism values) and cultural values is the development of access – be it for winter or all-season use.
It is not acceptable to me that a publicly appointed commission would consider approving a land-use plan that protects only 11 per cent of the area from industrial development and access.
I agree with the commission’s proposal to not allow new mineral claims to be staked in the Bonnet Plume, Hart, Snake and Wind watersheds. I support an immediate moratorium on staking mineral claims in the heart of each of the four watersheds referenced above.
My first preference is to protect 100 per cent of the Peel Watershed. Period.
This will allow the continuation – and potential expansion – of tourism and other nonindustrial uses of the land. It will also properly protect aboriginal cultural values.
My second preference is to see an ecologically and culturally intact core area that encompasses each of the watersheds within the Peel. This core area must be chosen carefully so as to protect the area’s habitat, cultural and tourism values.
If 100 per cent of the Peel watersheds are not protected – in addition to the core area – all major rivers in the area must have buffers that protect the ecological, cultural and viewscape values – across valleys and from the tops of the mountains to the valley bottoms. The viewscapes of the Dempster Highway must also be protected with appropriately wide buffers.
I believe that it is the job of the Peel Planning Commission to consider mining in a larger context than the Peel River Watershed. There are many other areas where mining is more publicly acceptable and more economically viable than in the Peel. I don’t think it is the job of the commission to make mining work in the Peel.