Yukon Government Questioned Around First Nation Land Use Planning Processes

    The location of the Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation traditional territory (photo courtesy of Council of Yukon First Nations)

    Yukon NDP Party Leader Liz Hansen says it not clear if the territorial government is respecting all of their final agreements with First Nations when conducting land-use planning processes.

    NDP Party Leader Liz Hansen is questioning whether Yukon government is following through with completing a proper land-use plan process around construction of a 65-km road on Na-cho Nyak Dun First Nation territory.

    Hansen says the road is being built by a resource extraction company connect to a developing property in the Beaver River Watershed, however she says its unclear whether the government is following through on their chapter 11 clause respecting all land-use planning processes within First Nation final agreements.

    ""It's unclear whether the planning process associated with this road construction falls under the chapter 11 planning process set out in the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) and the First Nation final agreements. When asked, the (energy, mines and resources) minister has said at times this agreement "was either an implementation of specific chapters of the UFA", while in other occasions saying " only some elements of chapter 10 and chapter 11" have been implemented"".

    In question period earlier this week, Energy of Mine and Resources stated planning is occurring first before construction of the road, however he also suggested that government is currently involved in many more land-use planning process than in years past.

    "I would add that I don't believe that the chapter 11 process is a process that doesn't have the strength to do this type of work. But what we have found ourselves in  is almost every Yukon First Nation simultaneously has spoken to me asking me about land-use planning... We want to respect the planning process, but we don't have to leave it for 10 or 20 years to get things done".

    Despite the collaboration with First Nations,  Hansen says more clarification is needed around the operation process within the final agreements.

    "As the minister has outlined outside the chapter 11 process, the final agreement set out clear guidelines for how all regional land-use plans should be developed. Yet this government has decided those guidelines are apparently are not worth following."

    The Na-cho Nyak Dun is located in central Yukon near Mayo and their final agreement was signed in 1993.

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