The Yukon government’s action in Supreme Court seeking the removal of some cabins near Dawson City is ongoing, but they have seen the removal of one of the cabins and secured a promise to remove another.
The government had court cases open against Simon Tourigny, Chloe Sergerie and Matthew Clarke since this spring. The subject of the cases are cabins located south of Dawson City along the Yukon River.
A department of Energy, Mines and Resources employee says one of the cabins has been removed and the area restored to its natural state. The others have been abandoned and boarded up to prevent entry. The cabin that has been removed was the one Sergerie lived in. The government representative said Clarke has agreed to dismantle and remove his cabin and any other materials at the site by the new year as specified in a court order dated June 8. The government will be applying to the court for an order to remove Tourigny’s cabin.
The court action against Sergerie was discontinued as of July 28.
The action against Tourigny is still open but the government representative stated that it has been adjourned because he is no longer occupying the cabin.
“Our cabins are unauthorized by the government. That means we didn’t ask permission first, we didn’t purchase or otherwise obtain legal tenure, we simply took responsibility for our own lives and went ahead and built them. We are literally living the dream of millions. We are the real thing, an independent, self-sufficient community out in the bush,” Tourigny wrote in a fall 2021 letter to the News.
“We are too much of a good example of an alternative way of living, I guess,” said Sergerie, quoted in Tourigny’s letter.
“We have so much value to add to the world, if only someone would listen. It’s not that we’re purposely disobeying authority for the sake of it, it’s just that there is no existing paperwork for what we are doing. There is an obvious need. I have a personal limit, and to be denied our right to provide for ourselves goes well past mine.”
The court order dealing with Clarke’s property contains one provision that goes beyond the simple removal of the cabin. Clarke had been documenting the building of his cabin and life in the Yukon bush on his Youtube channel, Skote Outdoors. Clarke has been ordered to create and post a video to the channel explaining the regulations surrounding cabin building in the Yukon backcountry by the end of next March.
“While the creative content will be his own, the video will include a statement that everyone must seek and obtain permission from the government of Yukon prior to occupying territorial lands,” the order reads.
Hosted on the channel with more than 5,600 subscribers, Clarke documented life in the cabin over the course of six approximately 10-minute videos posted in the spring and summer of 2021. Some of the log-cabin videos have been viewed upwards of 30,000 times. Newer videos on the channel chronicle a similar backwoods excursion in Labrador.
The court order against Clarke states that if he doesn’t make the Jan. 1, 2023 deadline for the cleanup at the site, he will forfeit all property remaining there and be on the hook for all costs incurred by the government in removing the structures. The government’s petition against Tourigny contains a similar provision.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org