The Government of Yukon and the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun have reached an agreement that may lead to the construction of an all-season tote road by ATAC Resources to their mineral exploration site north of Mayo. The agreement came into force upon issuance of the joint Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board decision document for the project.
The agreement requires a land use plan for a portion of the Stewart River watershed as well as a road access management plan be completed before construction of the tote road is authorized. This will ensure that the tote road will minimally disrupt the environment and mitigate any impacts on the treaty and Aboriginal rights of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun citizens.
The land use and road access management processes will be carried out collaboratively by the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun and Government of Yukon as the proposed road crosses both settlement and non-settlement lands.
When the ATAC Access Road was proposed, we heard the concerns from the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun about proceeding with this type of development in the absence of land use planning. To resolve those concerns, we engaged in collaborative discussions and have agreed to set up land use and road access management planning processes that will take place before the road construction commences.
Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai
This has been a difficult issue for our citizens who seek to balance responsible development in our traditional territory that brings benefits for our citizens and businesses with our responsibility to protect the lands, waters and animals. Both governments must ensure that the agreement and YESAA Decision Document are implemented fully in order to address the concerns of our people and all Yukoners. This Yukon government seems to be serious about working together, so I expect that this will occur.
First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun Chief Mervyn
The Government of Yukon and First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun will establish a Planning Committee to create a land use plan for a portion of the Stewart River Watershed and a Road Access Management Plan for the proposed road that crosses settlement and non-settlement land in accordance with the agreement.
The Planning Committee will endeavour to submit the land use plan to the Yukon and First Nation governments by March 31, 2020.