Peel commission demands Environment document

The Peel Watershed Planning Commission has officially requested a 22-page document that was suppressed after Premier Dennis Fentie made an "irate" call to Environment's deputy minister.

The Peel Watershed Planning Commission has officially requested a 22-page document that was suppressed after Premier Dennis Fentie made an “irate” call to Environment’s deputy minister.

The document could still be used to develop the Peel Watershed draft plan, said commission member Dave Loeks.

But it would have been useful to get it sooner.

The commission could have used Environment’s technical report during consultations for the draft plan, said Loeks.

The commission was only given a four-page document devoid of any technical information.

“We thought it was very thin compared to the importance of the department and how good they had been to the point,” said Loeks.

“Nobody voiced that anything was being withheld.”

Energy, Mines and Resources was charged with co-ordinating the different departmental responses to the Peel commission’s scenario report, released in early spring.

But consolidating the different responses to the Peel plan proved impossible for the department’s staff.

The information from the various departments was just too stark, wrote Energy, Mines and Resources policy director John Spicer in an e-mail.

The 22-page Environment document was created for the Energy, Mines and Resources department only and it was up to them to decide its length, said Environment spokesperson Dennis Senger.

That’s contradicted by the document.

“You (Spicer) will find specific technical reviews from parks, fish and wildlife and water(resources) attached to this memo,” writes Environment’s policy director Ed van Randen. “These can and should be provided to the commission to assist in their next steps. We can send them to the commission directly if you wish.”

The commission never got those technical reviews.

All it received was the vague, four-page document.

The commission shouldn’t have to scrap the draft plan, as flawed as it is, said Yukon Conservation Society executive director Karen Baltgailis.

“I don’t think there’s a budget for the planning process to go on any further than it’s meant to,” she said.

“It’s incumbent upon the commission to use (the document) whether or not they get it from government,” she said. “They should use those comments in the recommended plan.”

The departments are currently preparing documents reviewing the commission’s draft plan, which was finished April 28. The final date for public consultation is June 30, while the government departments have until July 30.

The Peel Watershed draft plan is to be delivered to Yukon government and First Nation governments by September 30.

The withheld environment document is posted at www.yukon-news.com.

Contact James Munson at

jamesm@yukon-news.com.

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