A view of east of Dawson City from the top of the Midnight Dome on July 21, 2022. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

A view of east of Dawson City from the top of the Midnight Dome on July 21, 2022. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

YESAB decision bodies reject less than 1% of projects in 2022

Breaking down the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board’s 2022 statistics

The territory’s independent body responsible for neutrally assessing projects with potential environmental, social, economic and cultural ramifications rejected less than one per cent of projects last year.

According to 2022 assessment statistics available on the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) website and further details by email, 0.63 per cent of projects were rejected, 54.09 per cent were varied and 45.28 per cent were accepted.

In total, 3.77 per cent of projects did not proceed, 71.7 per cent proceeded with terms and conditions and 24.53 per cent proceeded based on the designated office recommendations.

An assessment under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act needs to be done when a project’s activity requires a permit or authorization, a transfer of land or federal funding. The assessment process begins when an individual or organization puts through a project proposal to YESAB.

The total number of projects submitted was slightly more in 2022 than in 2021, and 90 more comments were received in 2021 than in 2022.

YESAB received 201 project submissions to the designated offices in 2022, and 161 projects were completed. An assessment is considered complete when the evaluation report has been finalized. A decision is made after a recommendation is sent to decision bodies.

Comments help inform the outcome of the assessment. Close to 1,100 comments were uploaded to projects that were in seeking views and comment period during the year.

Projects submitted to the designated offices are organized by traditional territories. Projects can be located in one or more overlapping traditional territories.

A third of projects were set for the Dawson area.

Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation saw the most submissions at 66. The First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun saw 47 submissions and the Kwanlin Dün First Nation saw 39.

Projects are classified by sector. YESAB provided to the News a table of all sectors and projects submitted to the designated offices.

Sixty-five placer mining projects were submitted, compared to 16 for quartz mining and 13 for other mining, like coal and aggregate. There were 23 projects submitted for residential, commercial and industrial land development; 19 for tourism and recreation and 18 for transportation purposes, such as roads, access roads and trails, as well as projects across other sectors.

For example, the comment period on draft project proposal guidelines for the Golden Predator Exploration Ltd.’s proposal to reactivate the Brewery Creek Mine opened for public comments on Dec. 22, 2022 and closes on Feb. 23. That proposed project has seven comments, as of Feb. 9. The proposed project is located on the traditional territories of the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. It is going through the executive committee screening process, which is intended for larger projects.

Contact Dana Hatherly at dana.hatherly@yukon-news.com

Clarification: This story’s original headline indicated the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) rejects projects. In fact, YESAB makes recommendations to decision bodies. Ultimately, it is the decision body who accepts or rejects the recommendation.