Miner demands millions in compensation for lagoon ground

DAWSON CITY A series of 13 claims in the Klondike Valley may be on richer ground than miners anticipated.


A series of 13 claims in the Klondike Valley may be on richer ground than miners anticipated.

That’s because the claims overlap the land the Yukon government has designated for a sewage treatment lagoon for Dawson City.

On Monday, Klondike MLA Peter Jenkins said a miner wants the government to pay $9 million to give up his mining rights.

“I’m given to understand the conflict of mining will necessitate $9 million — that is what the miner is looking for to give up his rights to not mine that ground — it’s very rich ground,” Jenkins said in an interview.

The 13 claims, which overlap a 20-hectare property designated as Site A, in the Callison subdivision, are registered to Wayne Hawkes, Walter Hinnek and Cam Sigurdson.

The land sits at the south edge of Callison, west of Bonanza Creek Road.

Hawkes has the rights to mine eight of the claims, Hinnek four and Sigurdson, one.

Hawkes said a business partner, Gary Crawford, has been negotiating with the government.

Hawkes has claimed the land for 30 years, he said in an interview.

“My claims were staked for mining and that’s what they’ll be — mined.”

He considers the land wealthy, he said.

“It is definitely mineable property.”

Hawkes also said he has an active water licence and a five-year land-use permit from the government.

He did not discuss any negotiations Crawford has had with the government on behalf of the miners, noting Crawford is out of the territory until Sunday.

The government should consider another site for a sewage lagoon because the proposed Callison location is upriver from Dawson City, said Hawkes.

“This shouldn’t go anywhere upstream from Dawson City,” he said.

“Something like that should go down from Dawson City and then you never have to worry. They do have earthquakes up here, and a pipeline could rupture.”

With the proposed government plan, untreated sewage would flow along a five-kilometre pipeline from Dawson along the Klondike River to Callison and then be transferred to the sewage lagoon for treatment.

The treated sewage would then follow another pipeline back to the Dawson City screening plant where it would be disposed of in the Yukon River through the force main.

Building the lagoon downriver would only require one pipeline, said Hawkes, and Dawson would not be threatened with untreated sewage in its drinking water aquifer if the pipeline broke.

“It’s a one-way pipeline that way, and there is way less cost.”

The government’s preliminary capital cost estimate for the lagoon system is $14 million.

Jenkins also questions the logistics of building a lagoon upstream from Dawson and the cost of acquiring the land from the miners.

“The aerated lagoon appears to be reasonable until you look at land and what you have to do acquire right-of-way,” he said.

But building a standard mechanical plant is also not a reasonable option for the municipality, said Jenkins.

Epcor and GJ Bull have offered mechanical sewage treatment plant options for Dawson City since its water licence expired in January 2000.

But these plants are grandiose for Dawson because the town does not produce enough sewage to feed the bacteria necessary to operate the plant, said Jenkins.

“The (sequential batch reactor) is not an option. There would be a need to import sludge in order to make the sewage work, let alone the cost, which, I’m given to understand, is $20 million.”

Jenkins proposes the government find a better solution to the problem by performing further research into filtration systems used in Europe and in cruise ships for smaller populations.

If a cost-effective solution is not found soon, Dawson will be faced with operating an expensive mechanical plant, he said.

“I’m afraid if no solutions are presented that are viable, the courts are going to instruct the government of Yukon to install an SBR, which, on the surface, would meet the law,” he said.

“It wouldn’t work and the costs of operation are prohibitive.”

In 2003, Judge Heino Lilles ordered Dawson to have a sewage treatment plant in place by September 2004, or face heavy fines.

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

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Chief Superintendent Scott Sheppard of the Yukon RCMP speaks to media in Whitehorse on Nov. 19, about Project MUSKRAT which has been ongoing since December 2017. Yukon RCMP have charged five Whitehorse individuals and seized $450,000 in cash along with drugs, prohibited weapons and stolen goods after acting Nov. 4 on search warrants obtained during the three-year-long investigation. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Yukon RCMP seize $450,000 and stolen goods in Whitehorse drug bust

Five individuals have been arrested and released on conditions.

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read