A controversial section of the Dome Road in Dawson City will be rerouted this summer.
The Yukon government, the City of Dawson and Darrell Carey reached an agreement last month. The territory has agreed to pay for the $1.3 million project and Carey, who owns placer claims in the area, has agreed to finish mining and give up his claims by December 31, 2017.
Carey’s claims have stalled the town and the territory’s plans to develop new lots in the area.
In 2009 the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board recommended against renewing Carey’s permit to mine the area because of the conflicts over land use. But Energy, Mines and Resources overturned that recommendation and issued the permit.
In 2012 Yukon Supreme Court found that Carey owed the city more than $28,000 for clearing trees and excavating gravel too close to the road, in breach of his mining permit.
Some Dawson residents strongly oppose Yukon government paying for the roadwork so that Carey can access his claims. Two dozen people wrote to mayor and council appealing the development permit for the project.
Jim Taggart said in an interview this week that residents are “bitterly disappointed” that their pleas have been ignored.
“We’ve really been stonewalled,” he said.
The issue for Taggart, who does not live in the immediate area in question, is about the municipality not having the authority to govern and make decisions about land use planning within its boundaries, he said.
“There are real conflicts between the municipal act and the two mining acts.”
Unless those conflicts are addressed, issues like this will continue to come up, he said.
“They’ve come up with a little Band Aid solution to a major issue. And it’s going to keep coming back.”
It’s not a good use of public resources to spend $1.3 million to help a miner access his claims, he said.
“It’s been five years and this is the best that the Yukon government could come up with, to pay to relocate a road. It certainly gives you an idea of what their priorities are.”
The only true solution would be for Yukon to update its archaic mining laws, but officials have shown no interest in doing that, said Taggart.
A public meeting about the project has been scheduled for June 25 in Dawson.
Taggart is not hopeful that concerns will be heard, he said.
“It seems it’s a done deal, and we’re effectively being told what they’re going to do.”
Residents are considering other courses of action to thwart the project, he said.
The reconstruction will affect about one kilometre of the Dome Road, just below Mary McLeod Road.
The intersection between those two roads will also be rerouted.
Construction is expected to take place from early August to late September.
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at