Kwanlin Dun crafting plan for unused city land

A second administration building, a recreation centre and more housing are among the suggestions from Kwanlin Dun citizens on how to use the First Nation’s settlement lands.

A second administration building, a recreation centre and more housing are among the suggestions from Kwanlin Dun citizens on how to use the First Nation’s settlement lands.

The Kwanlin Dun is the biggest landowner in Whitehorse, and it’s in the final stages of public consultations to decide the best use of those lands.

The First Nation, which owns 24 square kilometres of land within the city and a total of 1,042 square kilometres throughout its traditional territory, has held meetings and workshops with its citizens since December.

The goal is to get feedback on the best uses of that land, whether it’s for wildlife, heritage, traditional activities, residential use or economic development.

The latest meeting was held last Tuesday at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre.

Citizens were invited to map specific areas of interest and attach values to them.

For example, Michie Creek and Fish Lake were identified as areas with heritage importance, while most lands within the city were identified for economic development and residential purposes.

About 10 sites outside the city have also been identified for a new general assembly site.

Kwanlin Dun councillor Sean Smith said the intent is part of a bigger picture to establish a vision to guide future work on those lands.

“We wanted to identify where opportunities exist today and how we can focus on making sure those opportunities persist,” said John Meikle, senior lands and resources planner for the First Nation.

But before more detailed planning can take place, the First Nation will continue to gather feedback with smaller groups.

Then, the responses can be presented to council for final revision and approval, he added.

Upcoming meetings are scheduled with the elder and youth councils, and the goal is to present the information to council by the end of April.

“This work is needed, it helps us (council) in our work to develop the things we need to be able to manage our lands,” Smith said.

“We want to give ownership of the land back to the people.”

Contact Myles Dolphin at myles@yukon-news.com

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