Government files response in Atlin campground case

Government files response in Atlin campground case The government insists it did properly consult with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation regarding a campground on Atlin Lake.

The government insists it did properly consult with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation regarding a campground on Atlin Lake.

Government lawyers filed a statement of defence in Yukon Supreme Court this week as part of a lawsuit launched by the First Nation in February.

“The defendant says that it did properly engage in consultation with the plaintiff regarding the proposed campground, but that the plaintiff did not articulate with any specificity the nature of its asserted rights and title or the adverse impacts of the proposed campground on those asserted rights and title,” the document says.

The government goes on to list more than 60 letters and emails between the two sides that it says occurred between May 2013 and January of this year.

Lawyers also point out that the project was subject to an environmental assessment process under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act.

Through that process the government says it did respond to concerns raised by the First Nation.

“The defendant modified the proposed campground project and imposed terms and conditions on it as a result of the direct consultation with the plaintiff and the YESAA assessment,” the document says.

“The plaintiff did not make any further suggestions as to other specific concerns it had other than to ask that all activity proposed to be carried out on the lands in question be stopped until a transboundary claim was negotiated.”

The government says the First Nation’s title and rights to the land in question “has not been established to be a strong claim.”

No land claims negotiations between the two sides have been started, the government says.

Only a small portion of the First Nation’s claimed traditional territory is within the Yukon, the government says. Its primary claim is in British Columbia.

The government denies “having engaged in conduct adversely affecting the plaintiff’s asserted aboriginal title or rights to or in the lands in question.”

The First Nation has seven days to file a reply to the government. Or they can let their original claim stand as is.

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