Company sues city over Raven’s Ridge development

A local company is suing the City of Whitehorse over mining claims under the Raven's Ridge subdivision. H. Coyne & Sons Limited owns subsurface rights for quartz mining near Mt. McIntyre.

A local company is suing the City of Whitehorse over mining claims under the Raven’s Ridge subdivision.

H. Coyne & Sons Limited owns subsurface rights for quartz mining near Mt. McIntyre.

Now a subdivision is being built on top of those claims, and Coyne & Sons says it should be compensated because it can no longer access those claims.

Both the city and Raven’s Ridge Developments Limited are listed as defendants in the statement of claim filed in the Supreme Court of Yukon earlier this month.

The company is owed for loss of mineral value in the claims, costs for exploration and consultants’ reports, taxes, loss of opportunity, legal costs and interest, according to the statement.

No dollar value is given.

The claims in question were originally given to the Whitehorse Copper Company in 1905 and 1906 as Crown grants.

Crown grants are a holdover from the early 20th century. When the federal government administered the territory’s land, it would issue grants for both surface and subsurface rights.

Sometimes, the subsurface grants gave rights to everything under the surface, and sometimes they were more specific. In this case, the grants in question are for quartz mining.

No Crown grants have been issued since the 1940s, when the territory’s Lands Act was created. But they still exist here and there.

Coyne & Sons bought the claims in question in 1999.

The City of Whitehorse expanded its limits in 1970 to include the area where the claims are held.

In 2010 the area was designated as a green space by the city’s Official Community Plan, and in 2012 the zoning was changed again to allow for the expansion of Raven’s Ridge.

Jim Coyne brought his concerns over the project to city council in May of last year.

“I think the mining rights in those Crown grants have to be recognized, otherwise we’ll want some compensation from probably everyone, including the city, ATCO and Raven’s Ridge,” Coyne told council at the time.

Raven’s Ridge Developments bought the land for the first phase of the development from ATCO back in 1998, but that company is not named in the recent lawsuit.

“Coyne & Sons has been forced to take action as the City of Whitehorse and Raven’s Ridge Development did not consult with the company prior to the zoning change last year and the subsequent subdivision,” according to a company press release.

“The Coynes have been excellent corporate citizens and good neighbours to the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club for over 30 years and are committed to negotiating with the parties rather than being required to pursue legal action.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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