'Empowering our people through land ownership': Kwanlin Dün First Nation holds first land lottery

·3 min read
Five lots in the Porter Creek neighborhood of Whitehorse are available through Kwanlin Dün's first land lottery. The lots are located on Pine, Walnut and Grove streets, and are marked with the First Nation's settlement land signs. (Mike Rudyk/CBC - image credit)
Five lots in the Porter Creek neighborhood of Whitehorse are available through Kwanlin Dün's first land lottery. The lots are located on Pine, Walnut and Grove streets, and are marked with the First Nation's settlement land signs. (Mike Rudyk/CBC - image credit)

Kwanlin Dün citizens and beneficiaries will have the chance to lease one of five residential lots in the Porter Creek neighborhood of Whitehorse for 125 years at below market prices and build a home thanks to the Kwanlin Dün First Nation's (KDFN) first land lottery.

It's the first time the nation has put parcels of settlement land up for lottery since the Kwanlin Dün's Lands Act came into effect in October 2020. This act sets rules for the allocation and use of 1,042 square kilometres of KDFN settlement land in Yukon and allows the First Nation to allocate land to citizens for free.

Lottery winners will have the opportunity to lease one of the lots located on Pine, Walnut and Grove streets, based on its developments costs of between $42,325 and $57,250 as opposed to its lease market value. The average market price for a similar lot in Whitehorse is over $150,000.

'Empowering our people through land ownership'

Chief Doris Bill said the Lands Act and the sale of the lots are important steps toward KDFN's economic sustainability.

"Creating these opportunities for home ownership allows us to continue to build a strong and stable future for Kwanlin Dün families," said Bill.

"We are working to close the equity gap and build sustainable wealth for our youth and our future citizens not yet born."

Mike Rudy/CBC
Mike Rudy/CBC

Revenues earned from land development will be used to fund the First Nation's services and programs, said Bill, including grant programs to offset the cost of home ownership for KDFN citizens.

"[We are] empowering our people through land ownership on Kwanlin Dün land and on Kwanlin Dün terms," she said. "This has long been a priority for council and it's an important piece of realizing the vision embedded in our final self-government agreements."

The successful lottery winners will be required to build a house on the lot within three years of signing the lease agreement.

Although the five lots in Porter Creek are only available to KDFN citizens and beneficiaries, Bill said other parcels of settlement land will be offered to the general public — at market value — next year.

Mike Rudyk/CBC
Mike Rudyk/CBC

The land lottery comes after a year and a half of reviewing and processing historical land applications honouring the promises made to beneficiaries decades ago. Many families have already been using settlement land to live, hunt, fish, build camps and more.

KDFN's settlement land is mainly outside of Whitehorse and is divided into 264 parcels. However it includes 84 parcels of land within the City of Whitehorse totalling about 24 square kilometres, which makes the First Nation the largest private landowner in the city.

Kwanlin Dün beneficiaries or citizens interested in applying to the lottery must be 19 years or older, complete a Kwanlin Dün Citizen Statutory Declaration Form, and submit a land lottery application and $500 deposit to the Heritage, Lands and Resources department.

Applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Oct. 29. The land lottery will be held Nov. 1 at 2 p.m.

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