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The unstoppable Slinky

The owner of the Slinky mine has told Dawson City he will ignore the terms of the town's land-use permit and continue to mine his claims.

The owner of the Slinky mine has told Dawson City he will ignore the terms of the town’s land-use permit and continue to mine his claims.

The operation is located off the scenic Dome Road, which circles up the Midnight Dome. The mine’s impact on the road, and on people living along it, has provoked a running battle between miner Darrell Carey, the municipal government and residents.

It led Dawson officials to issue Carey a permit preventing work within a strip of land to either side of the road measured 30 metres from its centreline.

Work in this zone was the town’s biggest concern. And Carey now vows to work there in the near future, said the town’s development officer Micah Olesh.

“He and his lawyer have the opinion that his right to mine the area trumps the municipality’s ability to limit it,” he said. “I sent a query off to our lawyer, but he said that we can’t really do anything until the permit conditions are violated. A statement of intent wouldn’t really get us anywhere if we tried to prosecute on that basis.”

As soon as Carey violates the restrictions, the town will file a stop-work injunction and the court process will begin,” said Olesh.

While the town lacks the manpower to continually monitor Carey’s operation, the RCMP is being asked to provide after-hours support.

And residents will probably call as soon as Carey begins to get too close to the road, said Olesh.

“I think people have taken it to a personal level where it really shouldn’t be,” he said. “I mean, as far as Darrell Carey is concerned, it’s a business and he’s received legal advice that tells him he’s allowed to do this and the municipal office is telling him that he’s not allowed to do it. So really it’s just a case for the courts, at this point.

“It’s really just a pantomime. For all I know he’ll call me up and say, ‘Micah I’m about to violate your permit conditions, come on up and grab pictures and then we can finally go to court and get the issue resolved.’

“It would be nice if there was some way that we could just directly take it to court without all of the rigmarole.”

As far as the territory is concerned, Carey isn’t doing anything wrong.

His territorial mining land-use approval and water licence are still valid and their inspectors have not found him in violation of those conditions, which include a 15-metre setback from the centreline of Dome Road.

“So far he hasn’t gone outside of anything in our permit, but we’re keeping an eye on him,” said Jesse Devost from the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources. “But outside of that, we don’t have any jurisdiction. Anything he has to do with the city or the legal council is between the miner and those other parties.”

And violating another permit will not affect his territorial one, said Devost, adding it is up to the miner to follow the rules and it is up to the other parties to enforce them.

Local resident Jim Taggart has been monitoring the issue and, on word that Carey will continue operations, he wrote letters to territorial ministers and officials, his local MLA Steve Nordick, local media, the municipality and territorial opposition leaders Liberal Arthur Mitchell and New Democrat Liz Hanson.

“This is more than a municipal issue,” he wrote. “It involves powers under the municipal act; territorial legislation and a YG responsibility. Your lack of involvement in this issue has been disappointing to say the least. With very serious public safety issues facing residents and visitors, particularly with regard to highway realignments, I trust on this occasion you will be more supportive.”

By press time this morning, only Hanson had publicly responded.

“I know that on June 11, Mr. (Darrell) Pasloski will be up in Dawson to be sworn in,” she said in a release. “If he wants to demonstrate that his ‘Team Yukon’ approach isn’t just a ‘Team Yukon Party’ approach, he’ll be up the Dome Road talking to the operator and residents, getting to the bottom of the situation, and mediate a more positive path for the future - before Yukoners are battling it out in the courts and taxpayers are footing a hefty legal bill.”

Carey could not be reached for comment before press time.

Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at