Joint news release with Kwanlin Dün First Nation
The Government of Yukon and Kwanlin Dün First Nation are launching a local area planning process for the Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) area. This process is initiated under Section 30 of Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s Self-Government Agreement, where two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding in March 2020 to develop a local area plan for the Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) area. The planning process involves consultation with all members of the community and other stakeholders. Throughout the process, the steering committee engages with the public, stakeholders, First Nations Citizens, and gathers feedback for consideration.
A consultant is working on a background report that will help guide the development of the local area plan. Additionally, a steering committee comprised of representatives from both governments will be established to coordinate and develop the recommendations for this cooperative plan.
The local area planning process is invaluable in guiding land development and reducing land use conflicts in an area. The process provides local residents and those with strong ties to the area with the opportunity to influence the decisions about land use and ensures broad public interests are taken into consideration. Given the proximity of Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) to Whitehorse, its popularity as a recreational and tourism area, and its importance to Kwanlin Dün First Nation and Ta’an Kwächän Council, this local area planning process will be of high interest to many. We look forward to working cooperatively with Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Ta’an Kwächän Council and the community on developing a local area plan for this beautiful and popular area.
Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources Ranj Pillai
Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) has always been an important site to the people of Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Our ancestors have used the land and water for sustenance for many thousands of years. Our strong connection to the site continues today. As we embark on this process in partnership with the Government of Yukon, we look forward to building a plan that will honour the traditional uses of the area and balance our modern uses with conservation of the land, water and wildlife, and with the treaty rights of KDFN citizens. This is the first local area planning process to take place under Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s newly enacted Lands Act Nan kay sháwthän Däk'anúta ch'e (We look after our land). It signifies another step forward in our First Nation’s self-determination.
Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill
Interested parties can submit expressions of interest to be part of the Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) Local Area Plan Steering Committee with the Government of Yukon until February 15, 2021.
This is the first local area planning process initiated under Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s new Lands Act, Nan kay sháwthän Däk'anúta ch'e, that came into force in October 2020.
Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) area is approximately 460 square kilometres. It is located west of the City of Whitehorse. Current land use includes a mixture of rural residential, agricultural, commercial, recreational, and subsistence activities.
Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) is located in the Traditional Territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation. Ta’an Kwächän Council also has a site specific parcel in the area.
On Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) area
Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) area is located in the Traditional Territory of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation.
It is named for the round whitefish that spawn there in the fall. First Nations families and their ancestors have fished, trapped, hunted and gathered in the Fish Lake area for millennia and they continue to do so today.
The Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) area is significant to Kwanlin Dün First Nation who has a large amount of Settlement Lands in the Fish Lake valley, though the entire area is known to be important to First Nations people.
Ta’an Kwächän Council also has a long history of use in the area and has a site specific parcel located within the Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) local area plan’s boundaries.
Archeological digs in the Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) area show evidence of human occupation dating from historic times to the end of the last Ice Age. The largest site was a traditional fish camp on the north end of the lake. The types of tools found at this site show people have been using it for at least 5,000 to 8,000 years. More than 40 other archaeological sites are known to exist in the area and additional sites are very likely.
A local area plan for Łu Zil Män (Fish Lake) will identify public land and Kwanlin Dün First Nation Settlement Lands for residential use, traditional use and community development. Kwanlin Dün First Nation says this will help Citizens reconnect to their ancestral home at Fish Lake.
On the local area planning process
A local area plan designates areas for specific land uses. It also defines a community’s vision for the future and guides the development and use of land in unincorporated Yukon communities.
Where possible, the Government of Yukon and First Nations whose traditional territory includes the planning area work in partnership on the local area planning process.
Together they establish the boundary of the local area plan and strike a steering committee.
The steering committee comprises residents of the local area with an equal representation of nominees from the Government of Yukon and First Nations.
The steering committee will follow a number of steps to create a local area plan. It:
- works with planning staff from each government to develop terms of reference for the planning contract;
- selects a planning consultant who will facilitate the development of the plan;
- reviews background analysis (prepared by planning consultant);
- develops a vision for the community;
- presents plan options;
- develops a preferred plan; and
- recommends the plan for approval.
The planning process involves consultation with all members of the community and other stakeholders. Throughout the process, the steering committee engages with the public, stakeholders and First Nations Citizens and gathers feedback for consideration.
The recommended plan is reviewed and approved by the Government of Yukon and if the plan is prepared jointly with a First Nation, it is reviewed and approved by Chief and Councils.
Once approved, the local area plan guides decision making in an area as it includes recommendations for managing existing uses, such as residential and agricultural, and future community development and land use activities.
Local area plans are implemented through area development regulations, also known as zoning.
The local area planning process can take a few years to be completed.
Local area plans are reviewed every five to 10 years to ensure they reflect changing conditions and values in a community. Local area plans may be amended from time to time to reflect changing land use demands or economic conditions. Plan amendments are subject to public consultation.
On getting involved with local area planning
The public can get involved in a local area planning process by attending public meetings, completing surveys and by providing input and suggestions to the steering committee.
Yukon residents may put their name forward for consideration to be on a steering committee.