Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, centre, MP Larry Bagnell, left, and Premier Sandy Silver leave a press event after announcing federal and territorial funding for improving access to mineral-rich areas in the Yukon in Whitehorse September 2. (Joel Krahn/CP file)

No Resource Gateway construction work this season, YG says

‘We’re not as advanced as we would have liked to have been but we still are advancing’

No major construction work will be happening this season on the territory’s $360 million Resource Gateway roads project.

When the Yukon originally proposed the plan to Ottawa in 2016, the schedule called for some road construction work, including on the Nahanni Range Road and the Goldfields Road to happen in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

Paul Murchison, director of transportation engineering with the Yukon Department of Highways and Public Works, said agreements still need to be signed with the affected First Nations before work can happen.

“We are preparing to move into the assessment process to do work but our timelines, the actual timelines, will be dependent on those agreements.”

Premier Sandy Silver has said from the beginning that work won’t happen without the agreement of the First Nations. The Yukon’s application lists the Trondek Hwech’in, Selkirk, Little Salmon/Carmacks and Kaska Dena as First Nations that need to be consulted.

The government also hasn’t completed some of the environmental assessment work that is supposed to happen before construction.

Murchison said the government has been collecting early data on some projects but hasn’t submitted anything to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

The government will be working on getting some projects designed, prepared and permitted this year, he said. There could be some minor road work.

“We can do a lot of that work to get prepared in the absence of agreements because we want to be prepared and ready to go when agreements are in place,” he said.

“We’re not as advanced as we would have liked to have been but we still are advancing and ramping up to advance some more in expectation of the agreements when they are in place.”

Murchison, who is not involved in negotiating that agreements with the First Nations, said he doesn’t think there are any particular stumbling blocks.

Given the size of the overall project “the governments need to take the time to make sure they have the appropriate agreement for their citizens,” he said

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in the Yukon last September to announce the project which includes upgrades to infrastructure in the mineral-rich Nahanni and Dawson ranges.

In the end it proposes 650 kilometres of upgraded roads as well as the replacement of various bridges, culverts and stream crossings.

Along with the $360 million from Yukon and Ottawa, industry is expected to contribute another $108 million to the work.

Yukon won’t lose out on any money because it didn’t use the cash this year, Murchison said. The money is there to claim when the government needs it.

The project is scheduled to run until 2024-25. Murchison said it’s too soon to say whether the territory will have to ask Ottawa for an extension.

“As we get into the program, as we get agreements, as the program ramps up, decisions will need to be made about timelines. We’re looking at 2024-25 for completion,” he said.

“Now, at this point I can’t say, ‘Do we need more time or not?’ until we’re in a position where we have agreements and we look at how the project proceeds.”

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

infrastructureminingroadsYukon

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

Just Posted

An avalanche warning sigh along the South Klondike Highway. Local avalanche safety instructors say interest in courses has risen during the pandemic as more Yukoners explore socially distanced outdoor activities. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)
Backcountry busy: COVID-19 has Yukoners heading for the hills

Stable conditions for avalanches have provided a grace period for backcountry newcomers

Several people enter the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Coast High Country Inn Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 26. The Yukon government announced on Jan. 25 that residents of Whitehorse, Ibex Valley, Marsh Lake and Mount Lorne areas 65 and older can now receive their vaccines. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Vaccine appointments available in Whitehorse for residents 65+

Yukoners 65 and older living in Whitehorse are now eligible to receive… Continue reading

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read