No questions allowed at Peel pitch

Ministers Brad Cathers and Currie Dixon did not allow any questions during their presentation on the Peel watershed consultations at the Yukon Geoscience Forum this week.

Ministers Brad Cathers and Currie Dixon did not allow any questions during their presentation on the Peel watershed consultations at the Yukon Geoscience Forum this week.

That didn’t stop Charlie Snowshoe, an elder from Fort McPherson, from standing up and saying his piece.

He wanted to know why the government was telling him what the Peel land use plan should look like, instead of listening to the voices of the people who have been involved with the planning process over the past several years.

“I feel like a student here, telling me what you’re going to be doing,” said Showshoe.

He has worked on land use planning since 1988, and he received a lifetime achievement award for environmental impact assessment in 2007.

“These land use plans are made by the people that lived on it and remember what is there. On top of that they know what has happened in other areas, and they don’t want to see what’s happening in other areas happen in the Peel watershed.”

“Thank you, sir,” responded Cathers. “We’re not really taking questions here. We’re doing a presentation.”

The purpose of the presentation was to guide conference attendees through the government’s ideas to modify the plan recommended by the planning commission.

The commission’s final recommended plan called for protection from all new development in 80 per cent of the region. Existing claims could be developed by air access only.

The government has included the final recommended plan’s vision for the Peel on their consultation website,, but has made it clear that they want to steer the conversation in another direction.

In fact, in the walkthrough of the website presented by Cathers and Dixon, they at no point clicked on the tab that shows the commission’s recommended plan.

While the government’s maps are bathed in green, the information on the website provides little detail on how strict protections will be across their proposed land use designations.

One obvious gap is the lack of clarity on where and under what conditions roads would be permitted.

The commission’s plan called for a total ban on roads in 80 per cent of the watershed, while the government doesn’t rule out road access anywhere.

Dixon mentioned twice that in the government’s new proposed restricted use wilderness areas, the level of surface disturbance would be limited to no more that 0.2 per cent of the total area.

“Even with the greatest amount of activity going on at any time, 99.8 per cent of that land management unit would be in its natural form, it’s natural state, pristine wilderness, whatever the term is.”

He failed to note, that is the same level of activity allowed in the Level 2 integrated management areas, which is one of the land use designations used outside of protected areas in both the commission’s and the government’s diagrams.

First Nation leaders were in attendance at the presentation.

Chief Eddie Taylor of the Tr’ondek Hwech’in told CBC News that he had requested to speak at the forum about the consultation process, but was denied.

In the legislature Thursday, Liberal Leader Sandy Silver called on the government to apologize for refusing Taylor the chance to speak.

Ed Champion, the newly elected chief of the Nacho Nyak Dun, was also in attendance. He plans to meet with other First Nation leaders about the government’s presentation, and would not comment on it until after he has done so, he said.

The government will hold an open house to receive comments on the Peel plan Monday through Friday next week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Gold Rush Inn in Whitehorse.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

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

Just Posted

Yukon Employees’ Union says a lack of staff training and high turnover at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter is creating a dangerous situation for underpaid workers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Employees’ Union says lack of training at emergency shelter leading to unsafe situations

Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost said the staffing policy “is evolving”

Justice Karen Wenckebach will begin serving as resident judge on the Yukon Supreme Court early next year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
All-female justice roster ‘a good step’ for diversity in Yukon Supreme Court

Karen Wenckebach is the third woman appointed to the Yukon Supreme Court in history

The Liberal government blocked a motion by Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers that would have asked the federal government to provide the territories with more than a per capita amount of COVID-19 vaccine doses during initial distribution. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon Party says a per capita distribution of vaccines would leave Yukon short

The opposition is also asking the government to release their plan for vaccine distribution


Wyatt’s World for Dec. 4, 2020

Dawson City’s BHB Storage facility experienced a break-and-enter last month, according to Yukon RCMP. (File photo)
Storage lockers damaged, items stolen in Dawson City

BHB Storage facility victim to second Dawson City break-and-enter last month

A sign outside the Yukon Inn Convention Centre indicates Yukoners can get a flu vaccine inside. As of Dec. 4, the vaccinations won’t be available at the convention centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse Convention Centre ends flu vaccination service early

Flu vaccinations won’t be available at the Whitehorse Convention Centre after Dec.… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Nominations continue to be open for Northern Tutchone members of the White River First Nation to run for councillors in the 2021 election. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News File)
White River First Nation to elect new chief and council

Nominations continue to be open for Northern Tutchone members of the White… Continue reading

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new councillor in a byelection held Dec. 3. (Wikimedia Commons)
Watson Lake elects new councillor

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new… Continue reading

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

Most Read