Yukon land surveyors shocked at cuts

The federal budget has reduced the staff of the Natural Resources Canada's Surveyor General Branch office in Whitehorse from nine people to three.

The federal budget has reduced the staff of the Natural Resources Canada’s Surveyor General Branch office in Whitehorse from nine people to three. We were shocked and concerned for these friends and professional colleagues of ours.

We are also very concerned with the inevitable reduction in service for the Yukon.Firstly, we would like to offer our sincere gratitude for all of the excellent work done by this group over the past many years.

This group has largely been the same people for some 15 years or more and has skillfully managed the many challenging requirements of their jobs.

A few of their recent accomplishments include successfully managing some $50 million of land claim contracts; creation and maintenance of the essential digital cadastral fabric of the Yukon; and the non-stop professional support and advice to the private sector’s professional land surveyors, all levels of public and First Nation governments and the public.

Secondly, we are concerned not only for the loss of a professional home but also for the impact that these job losses will have on families who have been significant contributors to the health of our community over many years.And lastly, while we understand that cuts may be necessary at times, the depth of these cuts is too deep.

The Surveyor General Branch has been serving the Yukon behind the scenes since the days of William Ogilvie at the turn of the previous century. The proper development of the Yukon requires the orderly management of our land base and its supporting cadastral information fabric.

At this time the Yukon is growing quickly and there are many land transactions occurring and our land-titles system is under review for modernization.

All of these activities need the support of a strong and healthy Surveyor General Branch. We urge the Yukon government and the public to express dissatisfaction with this action to Yukon MP Ryan Leef and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, House of Commons, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1A 0A6.

Carl Friesen, Gabe Aucoin, Bruce Underhill

Whitehorse