Quarry threatens game sanctuary

The McLean Lake ecosystem is being threatened by industrial development, according to members of the McLean Lake Residents Association.

The McLean Lake ecosystem is being threatened by industrial development, according to members of the McLean Lake Residents Association.

The commissioner legally declared the area a game sanctuary in 1953, because of its high environmental values and unique wetland features, Bob Kuiper told council this week.

It was set aside by the Fish and Game Association as part of its plan to ensure strong fish stocks in local lakes.

But under a new zoning bylaw brought before council this week, a gravel quarry may be built in the environmentally sensitive region.

“We think this is inappropriate,” said Kuiper.

Although the protected designation seems to have been erased from the collective memory, residents say the lands should remain protected.

“No records seem to exist that the commissioner’s order was officially repealed,” said Kuiper. “And the habitat values that led to the creation of the sanctuary are just as important today as they were in 1953.”

Residents want the city to honour the historical designation and protect the land from industrial development.

“We’re not against quarries, let’s just make sure we locate them in the right place,” added Kuiper.

He suggested the area be considered for future residential development mixed with environmentally protected parklands.

Currently, two houses have been built within the contested area.

The city has asked the territorial Energy, Mines and Resources lands branch to investigate the area, said city manager Dennis Shewfelt.

The new zoning bylaw will come before council for public hearing on February 27. (LC)


Smokers one step

closer to butting out

Changes to the city’s contentious smoking bylaw passed first and second reading this week.

All councillors and the mayor voted in favour of the amendments except Mel Stehelin, who abstained.

Under the amended bylaw, it’s no longer the bar owner’s responsibility make smokers butt out. Charges will be laid by bylaw officers, who will also be responsible for enforcing the rules.

The bylaw, which prohibits smoking in public places like restaurants and bars, was sent back to the rewrite desk after it failed to hold up to scrutiny in Yukon court.

And charges against three bars found in violation of the bylaw — the Capital Hotel, the 98 Hotel and Sam McGee’s Bar and Grill at the 202 Motor Inn — will be dropped.

But charges against individuals will stand.

Stehelin, who also owns the 98 Hotel, called the bylaw a “flawed piece of legislation.

“Since commercial operators have been exempted, individuals who have been charged under this should be as well,” he said.

“Then we’ll start with a clean slate and carry on.”

That’s a moot point, said councillor Bev Buckway. If one part of the bylaw is found invalid that doesn’t negate all the other parts.

“If an section, sub-section sentence, clause or phrase in this bylaw is found to be invalid by the decision of any court or jurisdiction, such decisions shall not affect the remaining provisions of this bylaw,” she said reading directly from the bylaw.

“That kind of bafflegab is fine except that the individuals here are still being hung out to dry,” answered Stehelin.

The city hopes to have the amended bylaw in place before Rendezvous begins. (LC)