Culture clash in Tagish

The recent Tagish Advisory Council meeting was a “clash of cultures,” according to Tagish resident Claudia MacPhee.

The recent Tagish Advisory Council meeting was a “clash of cultures,” according to Tagish resident Claudia MacPhee.

On one side were those lured to the community because of its lack of regulations and the freedom that offers.

On the other were those who wanted to see the implementation of a local area plan.

“We have to have these rules,” one man said at the meeting.

“A guy is going to put in a turkey farm! Can you imagine what that would do to the quality of life?”

The comment did not have its intended effect.

“Would they sell them at Christmas?” asked another resident excitedly.

“A community has to have a plan in order to look at where it’s going to go,” said Tagish resident Art Dell.

“I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing. If a community thinks about going forward at all they have to have a plan.

“I can’t see how you would do it without one.”

But Tagish has nowhere to go, said MacPhee.

“There’s no more land for Tagish to grow on — this is it, it can’t grow any more,” she said.

“It’s worked this way for 20 years, why do we need to change it now?”

The issue is one that goes back more than 20 years, said MacPhee.

“A lot of us came up in the ‘70s looking for the Yukon lifestyle — we wanted to be independent, able to have livestock and dog teams,” she said.

“Then other people, some from YTG, began to come out here on weekends.

“They were used to ruling through the government, and now they want to rule us here.”

Anyone that owns land in the community is able to vote on issues, she said.

Regardless of where their permanent residence is, be that another city or another country.

For years, certain residents tried to impose regulations, such as disallowing chicken coops and dog teams.

One resident even went as far as suggesting that Tagish become a covenant community, where everything from the number of dogs allowed to the colour of your house was laid out and agreed on.

The advisory council was formed in order to help these types of rules go through, said MacPhee.

Community Services land-use planner Jerome McIntyre seemed surprised at the amount of opposition at the meeting, she said.

He had received a letter from the Tagish Advisory Council telling him that everyone was in favour.

At a previous advisory council meeting, McIntyre said that if the majority of the residents were opposed to the plan it wouldn’t happen.

On Tuesday night, he denied having made the comment.

But minutes recorded of the previous meeting proved him wrong.

A vote was suggested at the end of the meeting.

“We wanted to send a clear message to the minister of Community Services,” said MacPhee.

“Eight people were for the plan, six abstained, and 37 people were against,” she said.

“I’d say that’s a pretty strong majority.”

Even if the local area plan goes through, its proponents won’t get what they want, said MacPhee.

“It doesn’t make any difference. All of us are grandfathered in.”

Community planning also informed the meeting that local area plans don’t put limits on the number of dogs allowed.

It’s good news for mushers.

“The reason I moved to Tagish was because I was being bounced around in Whitehorse because of zoning and my dogs,” said Tagish musher Ed Hopkins.

“So I moved 100 kilometres away from the nearest zoning area.

“I bought the biggest property I could find so I’m not bugging anybody.

“Now the zoning has followed me here.”

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