Gravel: the new gold

Whitehorse's gravel supply is low. And demand is growing. The city has two main gravel deposits: McLean Lake and Stevens, out by the junction of the Alaska and Klondike Highways, near the Takhini River and Hot Springs Road.

Whitehorse’s gravel supply is low.

And demand is growing.

The city has two main gravel deposits: McLean Lake and Stevens, out by the junction of the Alaska and Klondike Highways, near the Takhini River and Hot Springs Road.

For decades, the latter has stood virtually untouched while the McLean Lake site has turned into a busy pit. Eight different contractors grab gravel from sites there and a concrete plant has been approved.

“That disturbance is already there and has been even since before the housing was there because there was mining in the area and the area has been used for gravel for decades,” said Mike Gau, the city’s manager of planning and development services.

The McLean Lake area already has roads and industrial traffic, so it’s been easier to just build another driveway than make a whole new development, said Gau.

But the McLean Lake Residents’ Association has done its best to change that.

“We packed city council chambers repeatedly, there was a petition with thousands of names on it that indicated residents wanted the area to be a park area – not to be developed,” said Skeeter Miller-Wright, an executive on the association’s board of directors. “Over 200 people paid – they actually put money in this – to have their names put in a full page newspaper ad to city council stating the same thing -objecting to the batch plant and quarry development around the lake. Signatures came from all over the city.”

City council just ignored it all until the association took them to court, he said.

The case was heard in 2008 and appealed in 2009. The association won.

The city never conducted the testing when they should have, the judge said, according to their own legislation.

This month, work began on developing Stevens.

The city put an application to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment to test the quality and quantity of the gravel at the site.

But the application is not the result of the McLean Lake association’s opposition.

“There’s enough demand and contractors needing gravel that we need both. We need all of them,” said Gau, adding there could have been contractors up at Stevens already.

“We’ve been very busy over the last five, 10 years with development and it all requires gravel. It’s an essential building block and we need it for our roads.”

The lack of gravel north of Whitehorse also puts a strain on the city’s supply, said Gau.

There is still no closing date in sight for McLean Lake and a building permit has been given for the cement plant, meaning it could be built at any time.

Miller-Wright and the Association still hold to the fact that when, or if, the McLean Lake quarries are exhausted, the city is obligated to reclaim the area. But it is a stretch to believe it could turn into a protected park area.

In the city’s official community plan it is zoned as an industrial area for future use.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at

roxannes@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Your furnace and your truck need to go

Perhaps the biggest commitment in the NDP deal with the Liberals was boosting the Yukon’s climate target

XX
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Family pleased youth will be able to get Pfizer vaccine

Angela Drainville, mother of two, is anxious for a rollout plan to come forward

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Most Read