Minister Currie Dixon’s Nov. 5 comments in the legislature about the Peel land use plan consultations implied that there was little input from Yukon people. Since he also said that the opinions of Yukoners who provided thoughtful, constructive input matter, and that the Yukon government is accountable to Yukoners, I would like to remind him of the unprecedented number of responses by local people to the Peel consultations.
In total, 2024 written responses, including petitions, came from the Yukon and N.W.T. residents. Of these 80 per cent supported the Peel planning commission’s final recommended plan or protecting the entire Peel watershed. There were 941 written submissions (not petitions), from Yukon and N.W.T. residents; 82 per cent of these submissions supported the final recommended plan or protecting the entire watershed. At least 380 people supporting either the final recommended plan or full protection of the Peel packed the consultation open houses in affected Yukon communities and Fort McPherson and 300 people attended a public meeting in Whitehorse in support of the Final Recommended Plan.
Compare these numbers with other recent consultations: the draft water strategy received 126 formal submissions and had 145 attendees at open houses. The Animal Health Act consultations received 71 completed surveys and three email responses. The Select Committee on Off Road Vehicles received the highest level of input to a recent consultation that I have found – there were 2,489 responses to a survey – but only 25 written submissions.
I repeat: there were over 2,000 recorded responses to the Peel consultations from Yukon and N.W.T. residents, of which a resounding 941 were written submissions, not petitions.
The numbers show that local people care deeply about protecting the Peel watershed. I look forward to the Yukon government demonstrating that they are indeed accountable to Yukoners, by following the wishes of the vast majority of Yukon people and adopting the Peel commission’s final recommended plan for the Peel watershed.
Karen Baltgailis, executive director
Yukon Conservation Society