Dawson plan reaches first milestone

The Dawson Regional Planning Commission released its first report on Tuesday. The Interests and Issues Report is a preliminary record of the feedback it has received from governments and stakeholders so far.

The Dawson Regional Planning Commission released its first report on Tuesday.

The Interests and Issues Report is a preliminary record of the feedback it has received from governments and stakeholders so far.

While not as contentious as other land-use planning that’s been done in the past – such as that of the Peel Watershed – there are a wide range of ecological, cultural and economic interests in the region.

Mineral exploration was obviously one of the main concerns raised by governments and stakeholders.

Placer miners and the Yukon Chamber of Mines argued for their interests and drew upon the renowned history of mining in the area.

However, there were also some concerns raised about the amount of activity in recent years, and whether this much mining and exploration is sustainable.

Another major issue confronting the planning commission will be the Yukon River corridor, given its wide range of uses and vulnerabilities.

“We’ll be accepting new issues and new interests right up until the time of the writing of the final plan,” commission chair Scott Casselman said yesterday.

“But this gives us a starting point.”

The commission was created about a year ago.

Planners received feedback from both the Yukon and the Tr’ondek Hwech’in governments.

Public consultation began in June in Dawson, Whitehorse and Old Crow.

Attendance was quite good, said Casselman.

About 25 people attended the Whitehorse meeting.

More than a dozen people showed up in Dawson and Old Crow.

The commission also received a number of written submissions from the public and various groups.

The commission’s mandate does not deal with anything within the municipal boundaries of Dawson.

This means that issues such as the Slinky placer mine along the Dome Road will not be covered.

However, the commission will look into the possibility that Dawson might need to expand and perhaps set some land aside for this purpose.

Tombstone Territorial Park will not be covered by the plan, either, because it already has a park management plan in place.

The same goes for national historic sites in the region, like Dredge No. 4.

At this point, the commission still isn’t completely sure how far into the future it will be projecting.

“The number of 50 years down the road has been tossed out,” said Casselman.

But given the change that’s occurred in the past 50 years, perhaps planning that far into the future may be too difficult, he said.

“Perhaps 25 years will be a little bit more reasonable.”

The commission and its staff are trying to complete their recommended plan by December 2013.

Other board members include Bill Bowie, Roger Ellis, Will Fellers, Chester Kelly and Steve Taylor.

Taylor is the only board member who has land-use planning experience, having worked on the Peel Watershed Planning Commission, said Casselman.

“This is all new to me, but I’m learning quickly.”

For more information, visit www.dawson.planyukon.ca.

Contact Chris Oke at

chriso@yukon-news.com

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