The Town of Dawson City and Slinky mine owner Darrell Carey were in Yukon Supreme Court this week.
The town has charged Carey with trespassing.
During the one-day trial, the town’s lawyer, James Dowler, repeated numerous times that this was a “simple case” despite the numerous binders of legislation, licences, maps, surveys and documents.
Before opening arguments began, Justice Ron Veale even joked that he had rarely seen a case with more past and previous legislation that still applies and still conflicts.
But this is “a simple case of trespass,” Dowler repeated, and the town is looking for minimal damages.
The controversial mine is situated on Dawson’s Dome Road, which winds up the Midnight Dome above the Klondike Highway.
Carey’s placer claims were grandfathered in because they were staked before the town forbade the staking of claims within its boundaries and before the road was included within the municipal boundaries.
In the past, the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development regulated the road under the Canada Highways Act.
In 1993 the town’s boundaries were expanded and in 1995 Dawson City took over control of the road.
As per his mining licences, Carey is supposed to respect the town’s right-of-way and the fact people still use the road to get to the top of the Dome and to their homes.
His licence, granted in 2001, included the 60-metre right-of-way, consisting of 30 metres in either direction from the centre line of the road. It also included another 10-metre “leave strip” in addition to that 30 metres on either side, a “leave strip” meaning an area that should be void of any mining.
In 2010, Carey got new licences that decreased that right-of-way to 15 metres.
Since he began working his claims in the past few seasons, Carey has cleared and moved soil and cut down trees in what the town alleges to be a part of its right-of-way.
When he did that work, Carey did not have the city’s permission nor did he compensate the city nor post any security for the work, Dowler told the court.
The town is asking for $2,000 to reseed the trees and another $26,000 to $45,000 to replace the soil. The price will depend on where they get the soil from, on or off the site.
Veale has reserved his decision in the case.