City council is considering asking the Yukon government to extend its ban on staking quartz claims in the city.
The recommendation to seek a five-year extension came forward Monday night.
Pat Ross, the city’s acting director of development services, brought forward the recommendation that council pass a resolution “supporting a request to the Yukon government for a five-year extension to the current prohibition order (OIC 2012/145), restricting quartz claim mineral staking in the City of Whitehorse.”
Coun. Samson Hartland works as the executive director for the Yukon Chamber of Mines. Consequently, he declared a conflict on the issue and left council chambers during Ross’ presentation.
Ross said the current five-year prohibition will end July 19.
Work on it actually goes back to 2009. That year, the city and territory started work to determine boundaries for areas that might be considered for being withdrawn from mineral staking.
“This information was then incorporated as part of the 2010 Official Community Plan (OCP) process,” Ross stated.
“This information was then incorporated into city-wide public consultation that was conducted as part of the 2010 OCP process.”
The OCP includes a policy that recognizes there may be significant mineral resources in recreational areas in the city.
It goes on to state: “The city may request the Yukon government to place a moratorium on future mineral staking within city limits in order to determine if a partial or total withdrawal of future mineral staking should be implemented.”
In June 2012, the city asked the territory to put the prohibition in place.
“A prohibition order (OIC 2012/145) was approved July 19, 2012 and was drafted to expire after five years,” Ross stated.
“The five-year time period was established to provide the parties with the opportunity to assess how the management of the excluded area was working and any other conditions that could result in a change to the boundaries.
“This also provided an opportunity for review relating to any new plans or developments in the city and to ensure that any planned OCP review timelines could be factored into future decisions around renewal and timing.”
Ross noted another five-year extension would allow time to provide clarity around staking activity until consultation is done on the upcoming OCP update.
“The consequence of not requesting an extension is that there would be a period of time where staking could occur throughout the City of Whitehorse, subject to the provisions of the Quartz Mining Act,” Ross stated.
“An additional five-year term is being recommended to allow for the OCP update process to be completed and to allow for additional council consideration pending new policy direction coming from the new OCP.”
While the two First Nations governments in the city – the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council – were informed of the possible request.
They did not express any concerns over extending the prohibition order.
The Yukon Prospector’s Association has, however, already told the city it does not support the extension.
Council must still vote on whether to go ahead with the request to the Yukon government to extend the prohibition order.
Coun. Dan Boyd was absent from Monday’s meeting.