Yukon may pay for Dome Road reroute

The Yukon government, the City of Dawson and Darrell Carey - who owns the Slinky claims - are close to a deal that would see the territory pay to have a section of the Dome Road rerouted.

The end of the Slinky placer mine saga may be in sight.

The Yukon government, the City of Dawson and Darrell Carey – who owns the Slinky claims – are close to a deal that would see the territory pay to have a section of the Dome Road rerouted.

Carey owns the rights to mine under that section of road. Under the tentative agreement, he would have three years to mine the area once the road has been moved and then give up his claims, said Bryony McIntyre, manager of mineral planning and development with Energy, Mines and Resources.

Carey bought the claims in 1998, after Dawson’s municipal boundary was extended to include the Dome area.

Since then, his efforts to pull placer gold from the ground have put him in conflict with the town of Dawson and Dome Road residents.

The claims are adjacent to, and in some cases overlap, properties in a 74-lot subdivision. Local residents have complained that the mine operations are disruptive and pose a threat to their safety and property values.

In 2009 the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board recommended that Carey’s placer mining licence not be renewed because of those potential adverse effects. But Energy, Mines and Resources went against that recommendation and renewed the mining permits anyhow.

In 2012 Yukon Supreme Court found that Carey owed the city more than $28,000 for clearing trees and excavating gravel too close to the road, in breach of his mining permit.

The town had argued that the work was not only in breach of the licence, but made the road unsafe for motorists.

Carey’s excavations “pose significant hazards to, and unreasonably interfere with, the integrity of the Dome Road,” said the statement of claim.

The Yukon government wants to see a speedy resolution to the Slinky mine conflict because it has plans to develop a subdivision on that same parcel of land, said McIntyre.

“Really that is the end goal, is that we get some lots made available for the city of Dawson residents.”

But as long as Carey maintains rights to his claims, the subdivision can’t be developed.

And Carey could sit on those claims indefinitely, so long as they are kept in good standing, until such a time as the value of the gold underneath the road justifies the expense of paying to have it rerouted.

So the Yukon government has stepped in to pay for the Dome Road to be moved itself. In exchange, Carey must agree to mine in a specified timeframe and then extinguish his rights to the area.

“Get in, get out, and that’s it: the land’s freed up,” said McIntyre.

Another benefit of the project will be to improve safety on that stretch of road, especially at the corner where the Dome Road meets the Mary McLeod Road, she said.

The government has estimates for how much the project will cost, but is not releasing them at this time because the agreement has not yet been signed off by the three parties, said McIntyre.

After it is finalized, there will be a public meeting in Dawson to discuss the specifics, she said.

The City of Dawson and Darrell Carey could not be reached for comment by press time.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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