Water board OKs Minto rock for construction

The Yukon Water Board has approved the use of Minto mine waste rock in Tatchun Creek. The board halted the bridge reconstruction in early June.

The Yukon Water Board has approved the use of Minto mine waste rock in Tatchun Creek.

The board halted the bridge reconstruction in early June after an application was filed by the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation.

Tatchun Creek is a productive salmon bearing stream, and the First Nation was concerned that not enough testing had been completed to ensure the Minto rock would not leach toxic metals into the water.

Highways and Public Works has insisted through the process that the rock is clean and safe.

After halting the work on June 4, the water board asked for extra testing of the rock to be done and for a management plan to be developed to monitor the stream conditions.

The board lifted the ban on June 20 after the department submitted new test results.

“Like we said from the beginning, if they had told us that this is what they wanted us to do from the start, we would have been happy to do it,” said Allan Nixon, assistant deputy minister with Highways. “I think it’s unfortunate that we had the two-week delay while all this went on, but at the end of the day we satisfied the board, we tested the rock again and showed that it’s fine for the use it’s being used for.”

The delay will likely add at least $250,000 in costs to the $5.5 million project, said Nixon.

The contractor has announced its intention to file a claim for increased costs as a result of the delay, but the department does not yet know exactly how much that will be.

There are also the costs of the additional testing and monitoring that the department has done and will continue to do.

“We had the consultants basically on 24-hour retainer for a couple of weeks, so that adds up in a hurry,” said Nixon.

Still, the issue was resolved quickly enough to allow the bridge work to proceed this year.

There is only a small window when the creek is free of fish and work can be done.

The crews recently completed the in-stream work, and are continuing to place the rest of the riprap, said Nixon.

Highways staff and contractors have gone to great lengths to ensure the work is done in the right way, he said.

“I think they all deserve some credit for the extra effort they put into making this work. We’re confident that there’s not going to be any impact to the fisheries resource.”

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

In a Feb. 17 statement, the City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology used for emergency response. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Three words could make all the difference in an emergency

City of Whitehorse announced it had adopted the what3words location technology

Jesse Whelen, Blood Ties Four Directions harm reduction councillor, demonstrates how the organization tests for fentanyl in drugs in Whitehorse on May 12, 2020. The Yukon Coroner’s Service has confirmed three drug overdose deaths and one probable overdose death since mid-January. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three overdose deaths caused by “varying levels of cocaine and fentanyl,” coroner says

Heather Jones says overdoses continue to take lives at an “alarming rate”

Wyatt's World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Wyatt’s World for Feb. 24, 2021.

Approximately 30 Yukoners protest for justice outside the Whitehorse courthouse on Feb. 22, while a preliminary assault hearing takes place inside. The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society, based in Watson Lake, put out a call to action over the weekend. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Courthouse rally denounces violence against Indigenous women

The Whitehorse rally took place after the Liard Aboriginal Women’s Society put out a call to action

The now empty lot at 410 Cook Street in Whitehorse on January 19. As developers move forward with plans for a housing development that would feature 16 micro-units, they are asking city council for a zoning change that would reduce the number of required parking spaces. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Parking problems predicted

Zoning amendment would create more on-street parking issues, residents say

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18.	(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

The Yukon government and the Yukon First Nations Chamber of Commerce have signed a letter of understanding under the territory’s new procurement policy. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
First Nation business registry planned under new procurement system

Letter of understanding signals plans to develop registry, boost procurement opportunities

US Consul General Brent Hardt during a wreath-laying ceremony at Peace Arch State Park in September 2020. Hardt said the two federal governments have been working closely on the issue of appropriate border measures during the pandemic. (John Kageorge photo)
New U.S. consul general says countries working closely on COVID-19 border

“I mean, the goal, obviously, is for both countries to get ahead of this pandemic.”

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Start of spring sitting announced

The Yukon legislature is set to resume for the spring sitting on… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

History Hunter: Kwanlin Dün — a book of history, hardship and hope

Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur: Our Story in Our Words is published by… Continue reading

Most Read