Like many Dawson residents I have been involved in trying to resolve the issues of mining in municipalities, addressing the conflicts between the municipal and mining acts and seeking a resolution to the Slinky mine issues in the community.
These matters have really come to the fore since the Yukon government announced its decision to relocate sections of the Dome Road and Mary McLeod at taxpayers’ expense ($1.3 million) to allow Darrell Carey, the owner of the Slinky claims, to mine under the existing highways.
Residents have put in an enormous amount of work over the past five years trying to assist governments and the community to identify long-term solutions to the problems we face. In the past couple of weeks I have received an email from Energy, Mines and Resources stating that it has “no comment” and “won’t take a position” on questions I raised in relation to the Slinky mine.
A couple of days later the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board emailed to say “it is unlikely the executive committee will respond” to an inquiry about the need for an assessment for the project. To date, Yukon’s Department of Community Services has failed to address any of the concerns or solutions we’ve raised nor even provided a single piece of advice. Now we discover that department will not take up residents’ numerous offers to meet. Residents are being stonewalled and ignored.
If this wasn’t bad enough, we only discovered an agreement between governments and Mr. Carey had been signed, weeks after the event. Not even city staff or council thought it worthy to advise us.
This agreement not only confirms the road relocations paid for by the Yukon government but that the costs and damages Mr. Carey owes the municipality need not be paid. The government recently held a public meeting in Dawson to “inform” residents of the proposals with just five days notice and at one of the busiest times of the year. It’s no surprise residents are feeling ignored and disregarded.
It is in everyone’s best interests to engage the community and find a way to truly resolve the issues for the long term benefit of the Yukon. But that’s never going to happen when the expediency of tenders and bailing out ailing mining outfits takes precedence over the rights and needs of communities and residents.
The Yukon government has been fully behind Darrell Carey every step of the way – even after he was found guilty in the Yukon Supreme Court for permit infractions. Residents have received absolutely no support or advice in the years we’ve been actively involved in this.
So who does represent us, and who do we look to for support?