Yukon chamber responds to Peel appeal

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce hopes the outcome of the Peel watershed court case will bring certainty to business in the Yukon, whatever the outcome may be.

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce hopes the outcome of the Peel watershed court case will bring certainty to business in the Yukon, whatever the outcome may be.

In a statement this week, the chamber said it respects the right of the Yukon government to appeal the case, but hopes to see a return to negotiation and dialogue so that future issues don’t end up in the courts.

Last week the Yukon government announced that it is appealing the Yukon Supreme Court decision that struck down its land use plan for the Peel watershed.

The legal challenge was launched by the First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun, the Tr’ondek Hwech’in and conservation groups.

Rich Thomson, chair of the Yukon chamber, said the organization does not have a strong opinion on the desired outcome of the case, since membership is divided on the issue.

“We’ve got mining companies who are our members, we’ve got tourism companies, we’ve got across the spectrum,” he said.

The chamber also does not have a strong opinion on whether it would have been better for business if the Yukon government chose to accept the ruling and move on, he said.

What the chamber would like to see is more co-operation between the government and First Nations in the future, he said.

“It’s bad for business when there’s a lot of litigation going on. Obviously it would be our hope that we would see a return to dialogue and respectful negotiation, as opposed to the courts being required to intervene to get things settled. That would certainly be applauded from us, is a return to that approach.

“We would prefer that these things not get into court in the first instance. Once things are in court, there are two guarantees. Regardless of the outcome, and regardless of whether people agree or disagree with the outcome, there’s two things that can be sure. One is it’s going to take longer to get decided, and the second is it’s going to be a more costly process.”

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