New residential lots are being developed in Watson Lake.
The green space on Frances Avenue at the north-west side of town will be transformed into 43 residential lots.
The Yukon government and Liard First Nation signed the Frances Avenue and Land Distribution Agreement after more than a year of discussion, according to a Yukon government press release.
The two governments have been discussing land planning and fish and wildlife management since August 2021, the press release says.
This is the first agreement to come out of the negotiations.
Eighteen of the 43 lots will belong to the Liard First Nation. They are lands that were protected from development under the Umbrella Final Agreement as potential settlement land.
The remaining 25 lots will be available to the public via the Yukon government.
The Town of Watson Lake will also build a lift station with its federal funding, which the Yukon government will oversee.
New infrastructure will make space for an additional 73 lots in the future, the government says.
Development will begin in winter 2023 pending a review by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board (YESAB).
The deal is part of a “broader set of negotiations,” the government says.
The talks have been positive for the Liard First Nation, according to a written statement by Chief Stephen Charlie.
“It is about time for us to work together for the common good of the community,” Charlie said.
“This is what Liard First Nation has wanted.”
Charlie continues that he hopes this deal will be the “first of several agreements” between the three levels of government.
In his comments, Watson Lake Mayor Christopher Irvin references housing challenges in the community.
“This project is arriving right when we need it,” Irvin said. “We look forward to absorbing this new neighbourhood into our municipal operations and welcoming new neighbours to town.”
Contact Gabrielle Plonka at firstname.lastname@example.org