YESAB clears Mayo B

The Mayo B power project can be built without harming the environment, but it won’t solve unemployment woes in northeastern Yukon, according to the Yukon’s Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board. The release was Yukon Energy’s largest regulatory hurdle, with only a decision document from the Yukon Utilities Board left to go before it can begin construction on the project this summer.

The Mayo B power project can be built without harming the environment, but it won’t solve unemployment woes in northeastern Yukon, according to the Yukon’s Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board.

The release was Yukon Energy’s largest regulatory hurdle, with only a decision document from the Yukon Utilities Board left to go before it can begin construction on the project this summer.

Most of the recommendations in the board’s report, issued last Wednesday, deal with protections to spawning salmon in the Mayo River. The board advised no work be done in the river from late July to late August over the next two years – precisely the time when construction will peak at the site.

And while there were few other surprises in the boards’ 71 recommendations, the document did reveal the project to be an ill-fit for Mayo’s workforce. The village’s unemployment rate is roughly double the Yukon’s, on average.

While Mayo B will bring 65 to 120 jobs to the region, most specialized jobs will have to be filled by outsiders, says the report.

“But there will be some job opportunities for Yukon workers – particularly in less-specialized workers,” it says.

And while the Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation and Yukon Energy have signed an agreement covering employment promises, it’s not clear that local contractors will have much time for the project.

Most tradespeople are already working on local contracts and many will have to import workers from elsewhere to compete for Mayo B jobs, says the report.

Yukon Energy brought construction companies from across the territory to last week’s job fair on Mayo B, such as Pelly Construction.

Goods and services companies supplying the construction camp are expected to benefit the most from the construction of the powerhouse, says the report.

There is not expected to be a boom-and-bust effect because Mayo B isn’t big enough and it has a firm timeline for completion.

The project’s main economic impact will peak next summer and late fall, says the report.

Despite being justified by the energy needs of future mines, the rejection of Western Copper’s Carmacks mine by the Yukon Water Board last week won’t derail the economics of the Mayo B project.

Throughout last year, the expensive $120-million project has been justified by the fact it will lower diesel costs and will allow Yukon Energy to take on more lucrative industrial customers, like mines.

But even with less projected revenues from Western Copper, the project is still economically sound.

“Even if the Carmacks Copper mine load does not materialize, the project will continue to provide cost savings relative to diesel generation each year as demonstrated,” says Yukon Energy’s application submitted to the

Yukon Utilities Board to build the powerhouse.

Yukon Energy president David Morrison confirmed Mayo B is still a net benefit without Western Copper on Friday.

The public utility still hadn’t entered into negotiations with Western Copper over a power deal, he said.

The Yukon Utilities Board is expected to release its decision on the Mayo B project in the next few weeks. Yukon Energy will begin construction should the board give Mayo B a green light.

Contact James Munson at jamesm@yukon-news.com.

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

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

Local poet Joanna Lilley is photographed at the Beringia Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 20, where she will be hosting a poetry workshop on Jan. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Poetry for the ages

Workshop set for the Yukon Beringia Centre

President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris in the State Dinning Room of the White House on Jan. 21, in Washington, D.C. The administration announced plans Jan. 20 for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Gwich’in. (Alex Brandon/AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden halts oil and gas lease sales in ANWR

“Its great to have an ally in the White House”

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 22, 2021

Children’s performer Claire Ness poses for a photo for the upcoming annual Pivot Festival. “Claire Ness Morning” will be a kid-friendly performance streamed on the morning of Jan. 30. (Photo courtesy Erik Pinkerton Photography)
Pivot Festival provides ‘delight and light’ to a pandemic January

The festival runs Jan. 20 to 30 with virtual and physically distant events

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

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

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Yukon University has added seven members to its board of governors in recent months. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New members named to Yukon U’s board of governors

Required number of board members now up to 17

Most Read