NGO community condemns Yukon Government Peel announcement
Whitehorse – The Yukon Conservation Society (YCS) and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) Yukon are condemning Yukon Government’s announcement today that they are throwing out the Peel Watershed Planning Commission’s Final Recommended Plan and instead implementing government’s own unilateral plan for the region. This new plan will see 71% of the region opened up for staking.
“We are appalled by this decision,” said Gill Cracknell, Executive Director of CPAWS-Yukon. “This is an affront to democracy, to the Umbrella Final Agreement, to proper land use planning, and to the people of the Yukon. It is an insult to the thousands of individuals and stakeholders from across the Territory who have been contributing to this planning process for years.”
Government representatives have repeatedly said in the legislature that the opinions of Yukoners who provided thoughtful, constructive input matter, and that Yukon government is accountable to Yukoners. CPAWS Yukon and YCS note there were over 2000 recorded responses to the Peel consultations from Yukon and NWT residents, of which a resounding 941 were written submissions, not petitions.
Karen Baltgailis, Executive Director of the Yukon Conservation Society, issued a warning to companies who may be interested in the Peel now that government has made a decision on the land use plan, and the interim moratorium on staking for the region has been lifted.
“Companies considering industrial exploration or development in the Peel region do so at their own risk,” Baltgailis said. “The tide of public opinion will be against anyone who tries to develop in the region. On the other hand, companies that voluntarily opt out of the region in the name of corporate social responsibility and to defend the democratic processes of the Umbrella Final Agreement will win major points in the hearts and minds of people in Yukon and around the world.”
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