Skiers want to drive a stake through staking

The city may choose to stop the long-held practice of allowing mineral staking within city limits. A city survey found 80 per cent of people aren't in favour of mineral staking.

The city may choose to stop the long-held practice of allowing mineral staking within city limits.

A city survey found 80 per cent of people aren’t in favour of mineral staking.

Mineral staking has long troubled recreation users, specifically cross-country skiers who would periodically find flags and stakes in the middle of their trails.

The survey results, filled out by 290 people using online and paper questionnaires, will be included in a package of land-planning information presented to the incoming city council in November, said Mike Gau, manager of planning and development services.

Over the last few years, the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club has asked council several times to prevent staking on their trails.

Currently, the ski trails are protected as recreation areas under the city’s Official Community Plan, but the Quartz Mining Act trumps city legislation, allowing miners to stake claims wherever they want.

Following a request to the city this past summer, the ski club received a letter stating it was discussing the issue with the territorial government.

“It’s encouraging news and because of the election we’ve decided to push the issue out to the forefront,” said Mike Gladish, the ski club manager.

It wants city council to convince Energy, Mines, and Resources Minister Archie Lang to stop staking on recreational trails.

The city may ask for a partial withdrawal of staking rather than a complete withdrawal, but it is only council that can make the request, said Gau.

The survey was not scientific, says Scott Kent, executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines, adding he is wary of the results.

The chamber has been involved in the Official Community Plan process and will continue to work to protect the rights of claimholders, said Kent.

Contact Vivian Belik at

vivianb@yukon-news.com

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