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Yukon Supreme Court orders trucking firm out of gravel pit, owners say they aren’t ready to leave

Owners of Annie Lake Trucking were fined $2,500 each
Annie Lake Trucking owners Trevor Hunziker, left, and Richard Hunziker were recently court ordered out of the gravel pit at Ear Lake the company has leased from the City of Whitehorse. The Hunzikers say they aren’t ready to leave. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

The City of Whitehorse remains determined to evict the operators of a gravel pit leased on city land. The city was granted a court order that will fine Annie Lake Trucking, the company that has leased the gravel pit for decades.

The gravel pit in question is located beside Ear Lake. Representatives of the trucking company say their family’s business has used the pit for approximately 35 years, initially leasing it from the territorial government and then from the City of Whitehorse. The use of the pit has been in a state of limbo since the official end of the most recent lease. The company was first allowed to keep removing gravel on a month-to-month basis and then ordered to stop work at the property. The owners of Annie Lake Trucking say there is still work for them to do, removing valuable gravel and then removing their equipment and structures from the property.

The city’s Official Community Plan designates the pit as greenspace available for commercial recreation and parks.

Yukon Supreme Court Chief Justice Suzanne Duncan ruled on two applications from the city on Oct. 17, with the ruling published in November. The city was seeking a declaration that the company was in contempt of a court order dating back to this March and imposing a $5,000 fine on each of the company’s three partners. The second application was for an order allowing the RCMP or other peace officers to evict those who know about the court order from the property.

No one from Annie Lake Trucking appeared in court and Duncan imposed a $2,500 fine on each of the partners and also authorized police to enforce the earlier court order. Duncan stated that the court order from March makes it clear that the company should have left the property but also determined that $5,000 fines were too much. The court decision states the city gave up the pursuit of damages when they signed the consent order in March and are only seeking to get Annie Lake Trucking off the lands.

Court documents state that Annie Lake Trucking’s lease ran from November 2008 to December 2016. Following the end of the lease, the city allowed the company to stay with the understanding that the lease could be terminated on 30-days’ notice. The notice to terminate the lease came Aug. 23, 2021. Court documents detail the continued conflict that this created, but the trucking company didn’t leave the property.

The order was signed by both parties on March 22 of this year. It contained an agreement stating that the company would leave the gravel pit by June 30. When that date passed they were still there. Warnings in the following weeks also went unheeded.

The owners of Annie Lake Trucking remain at the gravel pit as of Nov. 15. Trevor Hunziker, who operates the company with his brother Richard Hunziker and his sister Charlene Armstrong, says there is still value to letting them stay a while longer.

“They bullied us right into signing a court order, they threatened to sue us, everything like that. And we’ve been in for 35 years. And listen, I’m almost ready, I’m ready to go, almost, like I have no grand illusion that I’m going to be here forever, like my father did,” Trevor said.

“I’m under no grand illusion that we’re going to be here forever, or 10 more years or anything like that. You know, I need two more years to move. This is a very big operation.”

Along with the large task of moving the structures and equipment on the property, Trevor says there is still work to be done extracting the gravel in the pit. He says it’s a high-quality resource that is important to the local concrete and construction sector. There is only five per cent of the gravel that was there when Hunziker’s family started quarrying and Trevor and Richard want an opportunity to get the remainder out. They say their supply of sand and gravel could allow another concrete company to start up, helping meet demand created by all the construction in the Yukon.

Annie Lake Trucking has purchased another gravel pit to relocate to, but Trevor and Richard say the gravel there requires a lot more work to make ready for use than the resource at the Ear Lake pit did.

The Hunzikers also have issues with how the legal proceedings have gone so far. Trevor says he and Richard didn’t sign the consent order agreeing Annie Lake Trucking would be off the property by June 30, but their sister did amid threats they would be sued.

Trevor added that the trucking company had difficulties getting a lawyer, largely due to the number of lawyers who would have been in a conflict of interest representing them against the city. After firing their initial lawyer, dissatisfied with the representation they had received, another one had health issues and could not appear for them leading to no one representing the company at the Oct. 13 hearing.

Trevor also acknowledged breaches of a variety of regulations on the property. He says some of them, including excavating beyond the boundaries of the gravel pit property, were accidents and some were performed by outside contractors. He said he is willing to fix them.

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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