Whitehorse, the capital of Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory, is considering how to accommodate land owned by the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.
The First Nation has several large parcels of land within city limits. Soon, council will vote on changes to the official community plan to reflect that reality.
Some of the First Nation’s land is located in prime recreational areas, such as Grey Mountain, Long Lake, and Chadburn Lake.
The First Nation is drafting its own lands act — legislation which will set out what the land can be used for.
On Monday night, city planner Pat Ross told council that, in anticipation of that act, council should amend its official community plan. In particular, Ross said it should focus on three pieces of land within the city’s Chadburn Lake Park area.
Kwanlin Dun won’t have to conform to city rules once it passes its lands act.
Council was also advised that it wouldn’t be proper for the city to designate the three parcels as green space since that is a decision for the First Nation.
City Councillor John Streicker said the city should tell residents what’s happening.
“I think we remain supportive of the First Nations respecting that ultimately these decisions are theirs on these lands. However, Whitehorse citizens would like clarity around what’s happening,” said Streicker
The matter comes back to council for a vote next week.