Leaders from the Government of Yukon and affected First Nations met in Dawson on January 29th to discuss next steps for finalizing the Regional Land Use Plan for the Peel watershed.
Premier Sandy Silver; Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai; Minister of Environment Pauline Frost; Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Chief Roberta Joseph; First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Chief Simon Mervyn; Vuntut Gwitchin Government Chief Bruce Charlie; and Gwich’in Tribal Council Deputy Grand Chief Jordan Peterson attended the discussion.
“We are looking forward to collaboratively working together… over the course of the next year in order to approve and implement the Final Recommended Peel Watershed Land Use Plan in accordance with the spirit and intent of our Final Agreement and the guidance of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision,” said Chief Charlie. “There is a lot of work ahead to ensure we protect the Peel Watershed for present and future generations and we will continue to build positive working relationships with all of our partners to achieve this.”
The discussion confirmed that all parties support the vision and intent set out by the Final Recommended Plan. They also laid out the next step, which will be to establish a liaison committee made up of senior officials representing the parties. The committee will develop a joint consultation plan. In December of 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada directed the parties to return to section 188.8.131.52 of the Umbrella Final Agreement, where the parties will consult on the Final Recommended Plan before approving a final plan.
“We are now finally going in the right direction for the future of the Peel watershed. We look forward to working together with First Nations, affected communities, stakeholders and Yukoners in a respectful and transparent way to arrive at a plan for the Peel watershed that we can all embrace,” said Premier Silver. “This process is an important part of rebuilding respectful government to government relationships.”
After consultation, the parties will collaborate on approving a final land use plan for the region and develop arrangements for cooperative implementation. The parties anticipate this process to take approximately a year.