Whitehorse batch plant battle continues

Environmental groups, residents and First Nations still have serious concerns about the proposed McLean Lake concrete batch plant.

Environmental groups, residents and First Nations still have serious concerns about the proposed McLean Lake concrete batch plant.

Territorial Contracting’s proposed project is currently being reviewed by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board.

The deadline for public comments on the application ended yesterday.

The project is in the Kwanlin Dun’s traditional territory and it owns land nearby.

“They hold long-term future leasehold benefits for us, as they provide opportunities for country residential lots with close proximity to the city centre, a market that is in high demand,” wrote Kwanlin Dun land specialist Joclyn McDowell. “Part of the rationale for designating these parcels as residential, was the recreational, natural, and aesthetic amenities of the surrounding natural areas.”

The company’s estimated 40-to 50-year lifespan for the plant “will galvanize the industrial character of the area for the next half century,” said McDowell. “Existing quarries in this area, while also dusty and noisy, are small compared to the proposed batch plant operation, and are expected to be exhausted within a decade.”

Territorial Contracting plans to operate the plant “12 to 14 hours daily, six days a week … with rare work on Sundays.” The crusher will run less than two weeks a year.

“A batch plant may preclude the potential for residential development of these land selections,” said McDowell.

“We urge assessors to consider the impacts of this operation as they would potentially curtail our self-governing powers with respect to our own land use.”

McLean Lake resident Natalie Edelson is concerned the proposal does not take into account the cumulative impacts of the development.

“Similarly, the piecemeal, project-by-project nature of the YESAB process does not adequately take into account the cumulative impacts of numerous industrial projects upon an ecologically-sensitive region,” said Edelson.

She also raised concerns about traffic along the McLean Lake Road.

More than 2,000 citizens signed a petition opposing the development in the past, supporting a park instead, she said.

“It is time for regulators to heed the clear message for Whitehorse to ‘walk the talk’ and conduct planning for development in a manner consistent with its promoted image as a wilderness city,” she said.

The Yukon Conservation Society also raised a number of additional concerns, including the fact the board will not be reviewing the electrical transmission line leading to the plant.

Contact Chris Oke at

chriso@yukon-news.com

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