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Yukon government suing over Whitehorse’s purple cabin

The government is suing to get the cabin’s owner and his tenant off the property.
The Yukon Government has filed a lawsuit in an effort to get the owner and the occupant of the purple cabin in downtown Whitehorse off the property. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

The Yukon government is suing for the removal of a downtown Whitehorse cabin. The cabin’s owner and tenant are staying put, believing the lease of the cabin must be renewed.

The cabin located at the corner of 6th Ave. and Lambert Street is owned by Len Tarka.

Tarka has held the land through a lease with the Yukon government since the early 1990s. Tarka obtained the lease through the government’s squatter program, designed to allow residents of crown land to legitimize their occupancy of it. The government sent a notice to vacate on Sept. 30, saying the lease had ended.

Tarka now lives in British Columbia and the cabin has been rented by Eric DeLong for the past four years. DeLong is also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

In the Yukon government’s statement of claim they say the term of Tarka’s lease stating that it was for “30 years or the life of the leasee from Oct. 1, 1991” does not contain any right of renewal. It says that the federal Territorial Lands Act and the Yukon Lands Act were in force at the time and restricted leases to a maximum term of 30 years.

On Oct. 13, DeLong told the News that it was he and Tarka’s view that the lease must be renewed until Tarka’s death as it was referred to as a “life term lease” both in the lease and in other documentation.

In their lawsuit, the Yukon government details how Tarka was notified of the lease’s end date beginning in April of 2019. They also say that Tarka requested a renewal of the lease in late 2020 but was denied.

The reasons for the denial listed in the statement of claim are: the location of the property in a moderate geohazard zone, objections from the City of Whitehorse which cited the need for a geotechnical analysis and mitigation measures and the requirement for subdivision approval from the city to lease the entire property because the cabin’s driveway begins on a separate lot from the cabin itself.

The Yukon government is suing for a court order removing DeLong and Tarka from the property and declaring that any of their property, including the cabin itself and other structures, left behind 90 days thereafter is considered abandoned and disposable by the Yukon government. They are also seeking $23.17 in rent per day of occupation after Oct. 1 from Tarka as well as any costs of property removal and legal costs.

Tarka and DeLong had not filed a statement of defence as of Oct. 19.

Contact Jim Elliot at

Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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