Miners seek compensation from Raven’s Ridge

Plans to expand the Raven's Ridge subdivision in Whitehorse are encountering some unexpected opposition. Jim Coyne, whose company H. Coyne and Sons Ltd. owns subsurface rights in the area.

Plans to expand the Raven’s Ridge subdivision in Whitehorse are encountering some unexpected opposition.

Jim Coyne, whose company H. Coyne and Sons Ltd. owns subsurface rights in the area, told city council on Monday he wants compensation from the owners of the McIntyre Creek development.

“I think the mining rights in those Crown grants have to be recognized, otherwise we’ll want some compensation from probably everyone, including the city, ATCO and Raven’s Ridge,” Coyne told council.

It’s a unusual situation, said manager Dennis Shewfelt.

“I don’t think we’ve ever come across a situation where we’ve had one private owner owning the surface rights and another private owner owning the subsurface rights,” he said.

Crown grants are a holdover from the early 20th century. When the federal government administered the territory’s land, it would issue grants for both surface and subsurface rights.

Sometimes, the subsurface grants gave rights to everything under the surface, and sometimes they were more specific. In this case, the grants in question are for quartz mining.

No Crown grants have been issued since the 1940s, when the territory’s Lands Act was created. But they still exist here and there.

“We’ve got pockets of them all over the place,” said Bryony McIntyre, manager of mineral plans and development for the Yukon government. “Those rights still exist, especially if they’re held by a third party.”

To complicate matters, when land changed hands the surface and subsurface rights could be sold separately.

“Sometimes, surface would just be transferred and subsurface would be retained by the original owner,” said McIntyre. “So you can have various combinations of ownership.”

This is relatively common to the south, but it’s a rarity in the Yukon.

Coyne and Sons bought the Crown grants from Hudson Bay Mining in 1998 to explore for minerals. “We had about 25 of them altogether,” said Coyne.

When Raven’s Ridge Developments bought the land for the first phase of their development from ATCO back in 1998, they also acquired the subsurface rights.

When they sold those lots, the new owners got the subsurface rights as part of the deal.

“Although they might not be aware of it, each and every one of them should own the mineral rights underneath their properties,” said Mark Radke, one of the directors of Raven’s Ridge Developments.

“We did that because we thought they were basically of negligible value given where they’re situated, being in the heart of the city of Whitehorse.”

While Radke knew that H. Coyne and Sons owned Crown grants, and there was some overlap, he didn’t think it would become an issue.

“We met with them four years ago,” said Radke. “They conveyed that they had these rights and they were opposed to any development happening on the surface of the land without their consent.

“We met with them and their lawyer and representatives of ATCO, but the meeting didn’t really lead anywhere.”

Since that meeting in 1998, Raven’s Ridge hadn’t heard more about the issue, until Monday’s city council meeting.

“I didn’t realize that they were actually intent on pursuing the development of a mine in the city of Whitehorse.”

Radke doesn’t intend to block access to the subsurface, he said. And he’s open to negotiating compensation.

“Certainly we think we’re prepared to pay fair compensation to purchase the mineral rights, but I suspect we have a very different view of what would be an appropriate amount.”

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

A proposed Official Community Plan amendment would designate a 56.3-hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. Whitehorse city council will vote on the second reading of the Official Community Plan amendment on Dec. 7. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
Future area of Whistle Bend considered by council

Members set to vote on second reading for OCP change

The City of Whitehorse’s projected deficit could be $100,000 more than originally predicted earlier this year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City deficit could be just over $640,000 this year

Third quarter financial reports presented to council

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speaks during a COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on Oct. 30. Masks became mandatory in the Yukon for anyone five years old and older as of Dec. 1 while in public spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
As mask law comes into effect, premier says $500 fines will be last resort

The territory currently has 17 active cases of COVID-19

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Ranj Pillai, minister of economic development, during a press conference on April 1.
Government rejects ATAC mining road proposal north of Keno City

Concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun were cited as the main reason for the decision

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Dec. 2, 2020

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Submitted/Yukon News file
Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to the unsolved homicide of Allan Donald Waugh, 69, who was found deceased in his house on May 30, 2014.
Yukon RCMP investigating unsolved Allan Waugh homicide

Yukon RCMP’s Historical Case Unit is seeking information related to an unsolved… Continue reading

A jogger runs along Millenium Trail as the sun rises over the trees around 11 a.m. in Whitehorse on Dec. 12, 2018. The City of Whitehorse could soon have a new trail plan in place to serve as a guide in managing the more than 233 kilometres of trails the city manages. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2020 trail plan comes forward

Policies and bylaws would look at e-mobility devices

Snow-making machines are pushed and pulled uphill at Mount Sima in 2015. The ski hill will be converting snow-making to electric power with more than $5 million in funding from the territorial and federal governments. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Mount Sima funded to cut diesel reliance

Mount Sima ski hill is converting its snowmaking to electric power with… Continue reading

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Most Read