Yukon, Kwanlin Dün governments launch Fish Lake planning process

·2 min read

A local area plan is in the works for a 460-square-kilometre regions near Łu Zil Män—known in English as Fish Lake—west of Whitehorse.

Much of the area is comprised of Kwanlin Dun First Nation settlement lands. The First Nation and the Yukon government are partnering to come up with a vision meant to designate certain uses for certain lands, and identify areas for growth.

KDFN land resource planner Roy Neilson said the plan has been a priority for the First Nation for many years. "What we're hearing from Kwanlin Dun citizens is they're very concerned that lands and waters in the Fish Lake area are not being respected," he said.

Neilson said activity in the area is increasing and KDFN citizens are concerned.

"Some of those activities can have detrimental effects on the landscape by disturbing fish and wildlife and habitat," he said.

"There are also a number of important cultural sites and heritage sites in the area that can potentially be disturbed from these types of activities if they're taking place in an unmanaged way."

First area to undergo new planning process of KDFN's Lands Act

Fish Lake is the first area to undergo the planning process laid out in KDFN's Lands Act, which took effect last October.

A joint news release from the Yukon government and First Nation says KDFN has a "large amount" of settlement land in the area. The Ta'an Kwächän Council also has a parcel of land within the plan boundary.

Indigenous use of the area dates back as much as 8,000 years.

Michelle Sicotte, a community land use planning manager with the Yukon government, said the plan will be an advisory document and, ideally, zoning regulations will follow.

Sicotte said the local area planning process will involve looking at the issues and coming up with options.

"Basically, the steering committee and the government will work together to really understand what the issues are in the area and come up with options and eventually draw up the plan."

The two governments are recruiting members for a steering committee until Feb. 15. The aim is to finish the plan within two years.