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Government land plan disappoints college

College officials are angry about a smaller-than-expected endowment from the government.The college expected to receive about 80 hectares of land…

College officials are angry about a smaller-than-expected endowment from the government.

The college expected to receive about 80 hectares of land surrounding the campus in the McIntyre Creek area for expansion and research purposes.

It is now getting much less.

“The board felt the land offered is not sufficient to expand for future use,” said board chair Clarence Timmons.

“Some of this land might not be developed for 10, 20 or 30 years, but we want the land put aside so as the college moves forward, it has the ability to grow.”

The college discussed the government’s plan for the 320-hectare piece of land south of Porter Creek last week.

No reason was given for the reduced endowment, promised by the NDP government in 1992.

“The extra land the college is looking at — and we realize the city needed some land to develop, and we’re not opposed to that — there’s enough acreage to make everyone happy,” said Timmons.

Expanding the college has been on the agenda for some time, and the extra land would go a long way to accomplish that, he added.

Land could be used for research purposes, especially if the college develops a climate research centre, and to expand infrastructure, like residence spaces.

The college also hoped to grab a chunk of land across from the Kopper King to develop residential lots, which would also be used as projects for the trades program.

A new report based on several rounds of public meetings and surveys concludes the area can sustain development of new lots and a college expansion while adequately protecting wildlife.

Owned by the territory, the 320-hectare piece of land in question sits between the Yukon College’s campus and Porter Creek, bordered by the Alaska Highway on the west and Mountainview Drive on the east.

The protected park area is used by bird watchers, hikers and bikers.

Students are routinely taken there to study nature.

The wetlands and ponds are home to beaver and waterfowl. Fish can be found in the creek.

The college had been asking the government for the report for several months. Cabinet learned of the report in March.

It didn’t help that the college learned of the decision from opposition Liberal MLA Don Inverarity, who also informed the Porter Creek Community Association.

The association is also opposed to the plan.

College and government officials will meet in January to continue negotiations.

“As the Yukon grows economically, the college would have to grow,” said Timmons.

A number of issues — such as whether the land was to be held in perpetuity or could be sold off to raise funds for the college, and whether the land would be chosen as part of First Nation land settlements — complicated the endowment.

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