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Federal government funding heavy machinery companies in Dawson and Burwash Landing

Both initiatives are being put forward by First Nations development corporations
Burwash Landing will benefit from federal funding to heavy machinery companies. (Yukon News file)

The federal government is providing $3.6 million to two business expansion projects led by Kluane First Nation in Burwash Landing and the Tr’ondëk Hwëchin in Dawson.

Yukon MP Brendon Hanley made the announcement ​​alongside the federal Minister of Northern Affairs Dan Vandal on March 8.

Around $2.1 million will go towards a three-year project by the Kluane Community Development Limited Partnership to purchase heavy machinery and a shelter to expand their operations to better participate in construction activity, mining activity and clean energy production in Burwash Landing.

“We’re a small jurisdiction, a small First Nation, but this will be felt for generations,” said Tosh Southwick, speaking on behalf of the company.

“We’re going to be able to take advantage of projects that we wouldn’t normally be able to take advantage of. We’re going to build capacity in areas that are going to allow our citizens and our families to really live and thrive in our traditional territory,” she said.

Southwick said this program will create more training opportunities and more jobs in the small community located on the shore of Kluane Lake in western Yukon. The government estimates it will result in four to eight full-time jobs.

Long-term, Southwick said it means more people can remain in Burwash for training and work, support their families and bring people back home.

“It means you don’t have to leave your home. You don’t have to leave your community where maybe you’re looking after your auntie or uncle, your grandma, where you’ve got a support network, where you have a house,” she said.

Southwick noted that it also means Kluane workers can be employed on Kluane projects – including a new school planned for Burwash Landing.

“We’ll be looking to build capacity so that when we do build a new school, when we do build new buildings, that we’ve got people who are locally employed. It will help us on so many levels,” said Southwick.

Around $1.5 million will go to Tr’ondëk Heavy Equipment, part of the Chief Isaac Mechanical group of companies, in Dawson City. The Tr’ondëk Hwëchin is the sole shareholder in the company.

The three-year funded program will expand an existing building at Tr’ondëk Heavy Equipment Ltd.’s automotive, truck, transport and heavy equipment repair operations. Funding towards this project will maintain six full-time jobs and expand four full-time jobs.

McGarry Selbee, the co-chair of the Chief Isaac group, said the funds will help build capacity not only for heavy equipment and skills training but also for management to gain more experience in managing projects.

“As you know, the announcement with the Coffee [Gold] project will create a lot of opportunity in Dawson in the next number of years and this is really going to help us get in a position to be able to take advantage and build some true capacity,” he said.

The funds will come from the federal government’s Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) jobs and growth fund.

Contact Haley Ritchie at