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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read