This is a joint news release between the Government of Yukon and the Liard First Nation.
The Government of Yukon is committed to developing new rural land parcels and lots, so all Yukoners have a place they can call home. In keeping with that commitment, the Liard First Nation and Government of Yukon have signed an agreement that will see the development of 43 new residential lots on Frances Avenue in Watson Lake. Under the Frances Avenue and Land Distribution Agreement, the Yukon government will make 25 lots available to the public, while Liard First Nation will hold title to 18 lots. The infrastructure for this project will also support the future development of up to 73 additional lots.
The Frances Avenue Agreement is the first to be finalized as part of a broader set of negotiations supporting our government’s commitment to advancing reconciliation and partnership with the Liard First Nation. These negotiations have been focused on building a stronger government-to-government relationship and advancing projects that will improve the quality of life for Liard First Nation citizens and residents of Watson Lake. Lots in Watson Lake were identified through the Town of Watson Lake’s Official Community Plan.
This agreement is a key step towards the development of these lots and marks a new way of working together to advance reconciliation and capacity development while helping meet the housing needs of Watson Lake.
Our government is committed to working with the Liard First Nation and the Town of Watson Lake to support opportunities for local jobs and new housing for the community. The Frances Avenue Agreement reflects this spirit of partnership, as well as our negotiations with Liard First Nation, which are focused on ensuring all parties have a meaningful role in the development and growth of the Town of Watson Lake.
Premier Ranj Pillai
It is about time for us to work together for the common good of the community. This is what Liard First Nation has wanted. The Frances Avenue Agreement is an example of what we hope will be the first of several agreements reflective of more productive talks between all orders of government.
Liard First Nation Chief Stephen Charlie
Implementing innovative approaches for lot development will help the Community Services Department work towards their goal of adequate lot supply in every Yukon community. Creating a neighborhood requires significant work, and I am thankful for everyone - the Liard First Nation, the Town of Watson Lake, and Yukon government staff - for their role in designing this project and finding a path forward for this work to occur as soon as possible.
Minister of Community Services, Richard Mostyn
Creativity and collaboration are what makes this project work. The Town of Watson Lake Council is pleased to be in this partnership with Liard First Nation and the Yukon Government and happy lots are being created in an area our community has designated for residential development. This project is arriving right when we need it, and we look forward to absorbing this new neighbourhood into our municipal operations and welcoming new neighbours to town.
Town of Watson Lake Mayor Christopher Irvin
The negotiations between the Government of Yukon and Liard First Nation began in August 2021 and the negotiating teams agreed on the topics for discussion in March 2022. Key topics under discussion include capacity development, land planning and development and fish and wildlife management.
The Frances Avenue and Land Distribution Agreement, late February/early March 2023, is the first agreement reached as part of these negotiations.
The 18 lots being transferred to Liard First Nation are Interim Protected Lands that have been protected from development as potential settlement land since the negotiation of the Umbrella Final Agreement.
Development of the Frances Avenue lots will begin in this winter following review by the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board.
The Government of Yukon will oversee the development of a lift station and the 43 new serviced residential lots. The infrastructure for this project will support future development phases yielding up to 73 additional lots.
The project is guided by the Town of Watson Lake planning and the municipality will operate the infrastructure upon completion. The Town has identified their federal infrastructure funding for the construction of the new lift station for this project.
Communications, Aboriginal Relations
Liard First Nation, Director of Lands and Resources
867-563-7901 ext 24
Communications, Community Services