"The purpose of a regional land use plan is to create a vision of future land use, including identifying conservation and development areas, and providing land use decision makers with guidance and direction. By bringing clarity to the appropriate uses and levels of use of the land, a regional plan helps create certainty for land users and assists in avoiding future land use conflicts."
Terms of Reference
Dawson Regional Planning Commission
Who We Are
The Dawson Regional Planning Commission was established in August 2010 under Chapter 11 of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Final Agreement. It is an independent body with six Yukon community members, based on nominations received from the Parties (i.e., Government of Yukon and First Nations governments who have Traditional Territory within the planning region). The Parties for the Dawson plan are the Yukon, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, and Vuntut Gwitchin governments. Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation is not an official Party, but is an observer as per their overlap agreement with Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in. Appointments are made by the Yukon Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources based on nominations received from each of the Parties. Parties nominate people who they think have the skills, knowledge and experience to assist in developing a successful land use plan.
Why We Were Created
The Umbrella Final Agreement (1993) envisioned a common land use planning process that would promote integrated management of land and resources. The Yukon was divided into planning regions, based mostly on First Nations Traditional Territories and watersheds.
Each signed First Nation Final Agreement contains Chapter 11 (Land Use Planning), where the governments agree to establish a Regional Land Use Planning Commission for that area. The objectives of Chapter 11, in part, are “to minimize... land use conflicts; to utilize the knowledge and experience of Yukon First Nations; and to ensure that social, cultural, economic and environmental policies are applied to the management, protection and use of land, water and resources in an integrated and coordinated manner so as to ensure Sustainable Development.”
The first regional plan to be completed was for the North Yukon, approved in 2009 and now being implemented; the second was for the Peel Watershed; and the Dawson plan is the third.
What We Do
A land use plan represents a vision for the future use and development of land in the region, and provides direction to governments on how to manage land and resources. The plan is not enacted through legislation, does not replace existing legislation, and does not affect First Nation rights established under land claim agreements and constitutional law. A land use plan tries to balance protection of ecological and cultural values with development of the region’s resources.
The Commission’s job is to develop and present a Final Recommended Land Use Plan for this area to the Parties, after which the Commission dissolves. The Parties make the final decision on whether the plan is approved, modified, or rejected and the Parties are responsible for implementing the approved plan – Yukon government for public lands and First Nations for settlement lands.
The Dawson planning region covers about 46,000 sq. km in the northwestern part of the Yukon. The Commission cannot make recommendations about land that is within the City of Dawson municipal boundaries, land that is already managed under a Local Area Plan (e.g., West Dawson/Sunnydale), or existing protected areas (e.g., Tombstone Territorial Park). However, the Commission does consider these lands and any existing management plans when giving direction for the rest of the region.
Who Helps Us
The Commission is supported by two permanent staff members, operating out of its Dawson City office since spring 2011.
The Parties have input throughout the planning process. Their technical staff work closely with Commission staff through the Technical Working Group (TWG). TWG helps to gather information on regional resources, reviews Commission products, and provides advice on government issues and policies that should be considered when developing plan options. The Parties are also represented by the Senior Liaison Committee (SLC), who provide the Commission with high-level policy advice and are the link between the Commission and the Ministers/Chiefs.
The Commission is also supported by the Yukon Land Use Planning Council (YLUPC). YLUPC was also created under Chapter 11 of the Umbrella Final Agreement, and is a three-person board with members nominated by Government of Yukon, Government of Canada and the Council of Yukon First Nations. YLUPC helps determine planning region boundaries, identifies priority planning areas, starts up new Commissions, and promotes regional land use planning in the Yukon. YLUPC staff also helps existing Commissions by administering funding agreements, providing planning expertise and technical support, participating on the TWG, and helping Parties coordinate their efforts. For more information on YLUPC, visit their website www.planyukon.ca.
Who Funds the Commission
Money for the Commission to do its work comes from funds agreed to under the Umbrella Final Agreement. The funding is provided by the Government of Canada and administered by Government of Yukon. Government of Yukon reviews and approves annual Commission workplans and budgets.