The politics of the Peel – what was said in the Yukon legislature in December, 2011:
Mr. Tredger (NDP Official Opposition): “The Peel is one of the last remaining pristine watersheds in the world. The Final Recommended Peel Watershed Regional Land Use Plan recommended full and interim protection of 80 percent of the Peel watershed. Affected First Nations, nearby communities and the majority of Yukoners have, in the spirit of compromise, accepted this balanced plan. In January 2010, the Yukon government signed a letter of understanding with their First Nation partners. This letter had a series of timelines on when further consultations would take place and stated that a final decision would be reached in November 2011. These timelines have been missed. What is this government’s plan to get the Peel land use planning process back on track”?
Hon. Mr. Cathers (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources): “The Yukon government is committed to following the process. I would remind the member that the Yukon government, under the Umbrella Final Agreement, has a duty to take that final recommended plan to determine where we believe it can be made better and then engage in a final round of public consultation. That’s exactly what we’re going to do”.
[The final round of public consultations is expected in the spring of 2012, but the Yukon Party government has already said it rejects the Recommended Plan, and declared it supports industrial development in the Peel watershed, as shown again by the Minister’s comments below.]
“We believe that debate over the Peel planning process has become unnecessarily polarized and politicized. The debate has also at times lost touch with reality. It’s time to shift the debate from whether to protect the environment in the Peel to how to best protect the environment of the Peel while allowing responsible use. We believe that most Yukoners actually share common values. Yukoners value wilderness beauty and healthy ecosystems, but also want a strong, diversified economy that provides employment for their friends, families and communities”.
[In fact, public opinion surveys show strong public support for protecting 80% of the Peel watershed – First Nations, affected communities near the Peel, and the public do not want industrial development in the Peel, but do support responsible resource use outside the watershed. The Yukon Party is out of touch with public opinion and affected First Nations aspirations, and that is why the debate is cast as “polarized and politicized’.]
“We are … also committing to extending the moratorium on staking until September 2012”.
[This is a positive decision that will allow the final consultations and decisions to be made without the spectacle of a simultaneous staking rush in the Peel watershed. However, the moratorium would be more effective if extended until 2013.]
For the latest news, action alerts and background information on the campaign to protect the Yukon’s 68,000 km2 Peel Watershed, visit: www.protectpeel.ca Protectpeel is loaded with images, video and the stories behind the conservation campaign. Find out what you need to know, and what you can do, to support Canada’s largest proposed protected area.
Wild Rivers of the Yukon’s Peel Watershed: A Traveller’s Guide
… is your complete source for planning a trip to the Yukon’s vast north-eastern wilderness – and learning more about the natural and cultural history of this inspiring landscape. Published in 2008 by Juri Peepre and Sarah Locke, the book is available from Yukon outdoor and bookstores (Mac’s Fireweed, Up North Adventures), Mountain Equipment Co-op (Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto), and on-line from www.yukonbooks.com.
Wild Rivers is an essential companion to help you navigate the Three Rivers country (the Wind, Snake and Bonnet Plume), as well as the Peel, Hart, Ogilvie, Blackstone and Rat rivers. This well illustrated field reference will be a welcome gift for your friends or family who are thinking about a future northern canoeing or hiking trip.
The book features detailed river descriptions, maps, landscape and historic photos, tips on river travel in the Peel region, and engaging descriptions of the flora, fauna, geology, human history and conservation story. For more information, see About Our Book posted in the right margin.
To order the book directly from the authors, send a cheque or money order payable to Juri Peepre, 1575 Windermere Loop Road, Windermere, BC, V0B 2L2. Price: $24.95 + $2.99 HST + Shipping = $33.00 CDN. For more information, contact jpeepreatyahoodotca or post your comment or question in this blog.