The Yukon government has hired another land planner to speed-up the creation of local area plans.
“Really, what this is about is expanding our ability to respond to the needs and interests of citizens in rural areas,” said Resources Minister Brad Cathers.
The department is responsible for making land-use plans for rural and unincorporated communities across the territory. Area plans are needed before zoning regulations can be put in place. Right now, the Yukon government is working on more plans for rural Yukon than ever before, said Cathers.
The population in rural Yukon has been growing, and citizens have been asking for these plans, said Cathers.
Local area planning has “really taken off” since land claims were finalized, said Jerome McIntyre, director of the land planning branch. This new full-time planner brings the number of planners to three.
But each plan is at a different stage. And once a plan is completed, it’s not uncommon for citizens to request more changes, said Cathers.
Plans for Marsh Lake and Carcross should be completed this year.
A draft plan for Carcross has been prepared, said McIntyre. The planning committee may be ready to make a recommendation to the government in about a month, he said.
Once the Carcross plan is complete, the planning branch can work on developing a local area plan for Tagish, said McIntyre. Municipalities all need official community plans, but there’s no law that requires plans for unincorporated areas. The one exception is in the Carcross/Tagish First Nation Self Government Agreement, he said. Staff decided to finish the plan for Carcross first before making one for Tagish, he said.
The government is also working on a local area plan for West Dawson and Sunnydale. This plan should be done this year as well, said Cathers.
The government is also beginning a plan for the Fox Lake area. There’s no local advisory council for the area, said Cathers, but citizens want a plan. At most, only 100 people live in the area.
A committee is being formed with residents and representatives from the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and Ta’an Kwach’an Council. “There should be significant ability for residents to be practically involved with the steering committee, he said.”