Crews work at clearing vehicles off the Kwanlin Dün First Nation property in Marwell. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News)

KDFN begins clearing decrepit cars off Old Village land

First Nation filed suit against man living on site

Kwanlin Dün First Nation has begun clearing dozens of decrepit vehicles from a plot of land set aside for development after a Whitehorse court order declared the citizen who allegedly left them there was trespassing.

The order stemmed from a civil suit filed by KDFN Aug. 2 against Tim Smith, a KDFN citizen who had allegedly made “unauthorized use” of Lot 226, colloquially known as the Old Village, for years by “using the property to restore derelict vehicles,” “storing personal property” and possibly sleeping in an unsanctioned structure on the land in the summer.

KDFN, the registered owner of the lot, has the land set aside for development and needs to clear it and clean up any environmental contamination before any work can begin. Multiple requests for Smith to remove his belongings went ignored, the suit said.

The court order, granted Aug. 29 and filed the next day, declared Smith was trespassing on Lot 226 and ordered him to “cease any occupation” and to remove any belongings “including any structures and their personal contents” within a week. The order also said KDFN would be “at liberty to dispose of any and all personal property on Lot 226 allegedly belonging to Mr. Smith … without providing any notice or compensation” should he fail to do so.

Crews were seen moving several vehicles — many of them missing doors, hoods, windows and paint — on the lot earlier this week. KDFN communications manager Chris Madden confirmed the First Nation was starting to clear the lot, although it was too early to tell when that work would be done. An environmental assessment will also need to be performed on the land following the surface cleanup.

“With the cleanup of Lot 226 underway, the door for future commercial development planning is opening. The preferred approach is to identify a development partner that can help us bring the land to market,” Madden wrote in an email, adding that while KDFN has a “conceptual plan” for the lot, “nothing concrete” has been established.

Smith could not be located for comment. A family member listed as a contact on court documents declined to comment on the situation.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com