Dawson City viewed from West Dawson. The land use planning process for the Dawson region that was put on pause in late 2014 is slotted to start back up this fall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Dawson regional land use planning commission to be restored by fall

Plans were suspended while the Peel planning commission case worked its way through the courts

The land use planning process is starting back up in the Dawson region after a nearly four-year hiatus.

Both the Yukon and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in governments will be selecting members of a new planning commission by this fall. The former commission’s members were only on three-year terms and those have expired, said Jim Bell, the Yukon government’s manager of regional land use planning.

The process was suspended in late 2014 while the lengthy Peel river watershed land use planning case worked its way through the Canadian court system.

“Since we now have clarity from the Supreme Court of Canada regarding land use planning, we’re pleased to be moving forward and working with the Government of Yukon to implement this portion of our final agreement,” Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief Roberta Joseph said in a statement.

“The council looks forward to our citizens being involved in creating a land use plan in our traditional territory.”

Bell said work by the previous commission will be part of what’s being done by the new incarnation.

“Given where they left off, they were very close probably to getting to a draft plan stage and I suspect you’ll see work coming towards that,” Bell said.

Once it’s formed, the planning commission will be deciding on timelines for what happens next including more consultation with the public, he said.

The Government of Yukon and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in will each nominate three people to be members of the six-person commission for three-year terms.

More information on how to apply can be found on both governments’ websites.

The Dawson planning region covers about 46,000 sq. km in the northwestern part of the territory.

According to a report from 2015, the commission cannot make recommendations about land that is within the City of Dawson municipal boundaries, land that is already managed under a local area plan like West Dawson or Sunnydale, or existing protected areas such as Tombstone Territorial Park.

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation will no longer have representatives on the commission.

Earlier this year the Vuntut Gwitchin and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in signed an agreement settling a dispute over overlapping portions of their traditional territories in northern Yukon.

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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