Land question in Teslin sends government to court

A paperwork snafu decades in development has forced the Yukon government to court over a piece of land including a baseball diamond in Teslin.

A paperwork snafu decades in development has forced the Yukon government to court over a piece of land including a baseball diamond in Teslin.

The application to the Yukon Supreme Court focuses on a piece of land that includes the community’s airport, some homes and the baseball diamond.

The land was first surveyed in the 1980s when the airport was built, but it was never officially titled, explained Ron Billingham, spokesperson for Energy, Mines and Resources.

About a year and a half ago, the government wanted to transfer the parcel of land over to the Village of Teslin.

Instead of just slicing off the small piece of land where the ball diamond sits, the government wanted to hand over the complete larger land parcel.

Having a larger plot of land was meant to be helpful in the future, Billingham said.

“A big thing that the government is working on now is working with communities in their future planning.”

If the Yukon government wants to give, lease or dispose of land, the plan has to be based on a correct title.

Billingham said when officials with the territory’s lands office checked, they realized a piece of land in question overlapped with Class A settlement land near the Alaska Highway that actually belongs to Teslin Tlingit Council.

Now the government needs to go to court to get approval of the new map, with a new border for that particular parcel of land that does not overlap with the First Nation’s land.

It has taken about a year to accumulate all the necessary paperwork so the issue could be brought before the court.

The court file includes more than 100 pages and multiple maps that trace the ownership of the land back to 1930 when the land was part of the Teslin Post lndian Band Reserve.

Billingham said that while the change will not affect anything on the ground in Teslin, and there isn’t any dispute over what needs to happen, it is important to have any questions cleared up in case any work needs to be done on the land in the future.

Lawyers for the case are next in court at the end of the month.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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