Shallow Bay land sale in limbo

Talk about making hay on Shallow Bay. On Friday, the Yukon Supreme Court threw a wrench into a controversial land disposition by granting a…

Talk about making hay on Shallow Bay.

On Friday, the Yukon Supreme Court threw a wrench into a controversial land disposition by granting a temporary injunction against the Yukon government.

Justice Ron Veale ordered the Energy Mines and Resources department and its minister Archie Lang to halt the privatization of a grazing lease on 24 hectares of land near Lake Laberge.

The lands branch recently agreed to sell the parcel to Len Walchuk, whose wife, Karla DesRosiers, owns the adjacent Laberge Ranch and Outfitters Ltd.

Walchuk and DesRosiers want to expand their hay farm. They hold three grazing leases on about 132 hectares of public land near Shallow Bay, and want to convert the leases to private title.

But the coveted land is within the traditional territory of the Ta’an Kwach’an Council.

Because of the pre-existing leases, it could not be included in the First Nation’s land claim settlement. But the Ta’an have long argued that they should receive right to the land once the grazing leases expire.

And environmental groups have lobbied against the sale, citing Shallow Bay’s status as a globally significant wetland.

The Ta’an requested a court injunction against Lang and the Resources department to prevent the sale.

Veale granted the temporary injunction until the Ta’an’s full argument can be heard, beginning March 31.

The Ta’an could not be reached for comment Friday.

Neither could Walchuk and DesRosiers, who were out of the territory.

Officials with the Resources department said the department and the minister do not comment on ongoing court cases.

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