The safety and well-being of northerners are top priorities of the governments of Canada and Yukon. But the COVID-19 pandemic has affected more than residents’ personal health, it is also having a profound impact on the economy.
That is why governments have been taking decisive action to support families, businesses and communities, and continue to look ahead to see what more can be done.
Member of Parliament for Yukon Larry Bagnell, on behalf of Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna, Minister of Community Services for the Government of Yukon John Streicker and Mayor of the City of Whitehorse Dan Curtis announced funding for a project that will help protect the city from the threat of wildfires.
The Whitehorse South West Fire Risk Reduction project will create a six-kilometre fireguard along the southwest corner of the City of Whitehorse. All conifer plants will be removed within the identified 150-hectare area and support the Whitehorse West Landscape-level Fuel Management Plan. The removal of conifer plants also follows the standards for the reduction of fire hazards on Crown lands.
The creation of a fireguard in this area is critical to protecting the City of Whitehorse and residential dwellings surrounding the city. This project will improve the safety for residents and create jobs.
The Government of Canada is investing over $1.1 million in this project through the Investing in Canada plan through the Green Infrastructure Stream (GIS). The Government of Yukon is providing $487,500.
In Yukon, wildfires are a constant threat to communities and climate change may increase the potential for forest fires in the future. This important project will ensure that Whitehorse and surrounding residential areas are protected. This investment is helping to protect the health and safety of Yukoners.
Member of Parliament for Yukon Larry Bagnell, on behalf of Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna
A bold strategy for wildfire-resilient communities calls for visionary projects. I am excited to join my partners from the Government of Canada and the City of Whitehorse in announcing the start of this significant milestone. The forest fuels that are being removed during this project will offer a major opportunity to support Yukon’s emerging biomass sector, and the resulting fuel break will be an important natural capital asset that will reduce the risk of fire to the City of Whitehorse. Thanks to this and other pieces of our government’s new strategic vision for reducing wildfire hazards, we are making huge progress towards more wildfire resilient communities.
Minister of Community Services John Streicker
The City of Whitehorse is committed to protecting its residents from the threat of wildfire. As part of this commitment, we performed extensive fuel abatement work along the Copper Haul Road this past winter. Fuel abatement is a key capital project for us and public safety is one of City Council’s Strategic Priorities. I would like to thank our partners for their continued support in keeping Whitehorse residents safe.
Mayor of the City of Whitehorse Dan Curtis
Through the Investing in Canada plan, the Government of Canada is investing more than $180 billion over 12 years in public transit projects, green infrastructure, social infrastructure, trade and transportation routes, and Canada’s rural and northern communities.
To support Canadians and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, a new stream has been added to the over $33-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to help fund pandemic-resilient infrastructure. Existing program streams have also been adapted to include more eligible project categories: https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/plan/covid-19-resilience-eng.html
The new Canada Healthy Communities Initiative will provide up to $31 million in existing federal funding to support communities as they deploy innovative new ways to adapt spaces and services to respond to immediate and ongoing needs arising from COVID-19 over the next two years: https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/chci-iccs/index-eng.html
Office of the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Communications, Community Services
Toll free: 1-877-250-7154