Dawson, unlike other recent land-use planning regions, has a history of industrial development and a road network that resembles a spider’s web. The planning process here is going to look very different from those done in the North Yukon or the Peel. But it is not without its issues.
The Dawson Regional Planning Commission will have to assess the future need for conservation of the region’s natural resources, promotion of aboriginal cultural values, sustainable economic development and how to efficiently manage land, water and resource objectives. And, unlike the other regions, it will have to do so in the midst of viable, ongoing resource development.
As with any planning process, there will have to be frank discussion about what values and places are important in the region, and what tradeoffs will be acceptable to minimize land-use conflict into the future.
CPAWS Yukon supports the process of thoughtful, well-discussed planning that is just beginning in the Dawson Region.
Should the Yukon government decide to ignore the final plan recommended by the Peel Watershed Planning Committee, public confidence and participation in future land-use plans, such as Dawson’s, could be undermined across the territory.
If that were to happen, future planning would be difficult to accomplish. As well as undermining Final Agreements with First Nations, the failure of planning would imperil the territory’s remaining wild places, which would remain open to resource developers. But such an outcome would also undermine business certainty in the territory, as resource companies would essentially be operating in the dark, without clear public support for their exploration and development work.
CPAWS supports land use planning in the Yukon, and is working with aboriginal and local governments, groups, business and the public to foster participation in the Dawson Regional Planning Commission process.
It is also urging the Yukon government to adopt the final recommended plan on the Peel Watershed, restoring confidence and freeing up time and resources for sound planning in the Dawson Region.
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