Land Vision

The need to plan for the use of Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN) land has been recognized since long before the conclusion of its treaty in 2005. The Final Agreement assures KDFN of a role in land and resource planning throughout the Traditional Territory. This includes provisions in the Final Agreement for regional land-use planning and local area planning, protected area establishment, heritage, wildlife, water, forestry and other resource management and planning.

The Self-Government Agreement enables KDFN to establish laws and to manage its settlement land. In 2014 KDFN passed the Lands and Resources Act, which contains provisions that require land to be planned to best meet the needs of the community.

In 2014-15 the KDFN government, through the Lands and Resources Department, initiated the Land Vision project to develop a guiding vision for KDFN settlement land and Traditional Territory. The purpose of the Traditional Territory Land Vision is to provide the KDFN government with direction from the community to support detailed planning for settlement lands and better equip KDFN to work with other governments throughout its Traditional Territory.

The Land Vision, completed in 2017, puts forward four main land-based goals and ensures that there is opportunity to maximize each of them.

 

The four goals are:

  • Community Development: to provide land for KDFN residential and infrastructure needs.
  • Wildlife: to conserve areas of high ecological value and maintain the health of wildlife populations.
  • Heritage: to conserve areas of high heritage value while maintaining and creating opportunities for continued traditional use of the land.
  • Revenue Generation: to make lands available to generate revenue for the benefit of the KDFN community.

 

The community provided the following key messages during the development of the Land Vision:

  • Lands must be dedicated to protect important heritage areas and ensure their continued use for traditional activities.
  • Certain C Lands and portions of R Blocks should be used for revenue generation.
  • Remote R Blocks, and their adjacent areas, should be managed primarily for traditional uses. Developments should be minimal, with no new road access.
  • Some lands should be set aside for use by future generations.
  • Citizen residential needs should be met on settlement lands: higher density subdivisions within Whitehorse; and lower density residential development on road accessible R Blocks.
  • KDFN Institutional and Government needs should be met largely on settlement land. Uses include administrative buildings on KDFN land within Whitehorse, and General Assembly sites, campgrounds and culture camps on KDFN land outside of Whitehorse.

 

Read the full Kwanlin Dün First Nation Land Vision: click here to download the document.

Kwanlin Dün is the largest private landowner in the City of Whitehorse, with 85 settlement land parcels totalling over 2,385 hectares.

Kwanlin Dün First Nation has approximately 24 square kilometres of settlement land within the City of Whitehorse. These settlement lands were selected by KDFN as part of its 2005 Land Claim Agreements. Those KDFN settlement lands within or near the city limits of Whitehorse are referred to as Community Lands or “C” lands. KDFN is currently developing a plan to guide the planning and development of its Community Lands.

Based upon the KDFN Traditional Territory Land Vision, the KDFN Community Lands Plan will provide a guiding framework for the development of all KDFN settlement land within Whitehorse. A draft of the plan has been developed and KDFN citizens are now encouraged to provide their input. More specifically, citizens will be asked to identify which Community Land parcels would best be suited for wildlife, heritage and community infrastructure. The input of KDFN citizens is central to the Community Lands Plan.

The department of Heritage, Lands and Resources organized a series of consultation events with KDFN citizens about the plan that took place in 2019. These events involved public meetings and workshops as well as Elders and youth events, small focus group discussions and individual one-on-one meetings.

The Community Lands Plan is currently being refined to reflect these consultations. It will then be submitted to KDFN Council for approval. Once it has received Council’s support, it will be prepared for release and inclusion in Whitehorse’s Official City Plan.

Local Area Planning is a type of land use planning that guides how land can be used in communities around Whitehorse, such as Hotsprings Road, Ibex Valley and Mount Lorne. Local area plans help define a future vision for an area by designating lands to be set aside for residential, recreational, commercial and other uses.

Under Section 30 of KDFN’s Self-Government Agreement, KDFN negotiated the ability to be cooperatively involved in the preparation of local area plans within the Traditional Territory. Citizen involvement in the development of these plans is essential to ensure the plan reflects community values.

 

Current Projects

  • KDFN is working with Carcross Tagish First Nation and the Government of Yukon to conclude the Marsh Lake Local Area Plan.
  • KDFN is working with Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and the Government of Yukon on the development of the Fox Lake Local Area Plan.
  • KDFN and Yukon have agreed to develop a cooperative local area plan for Fish Lake.

Regional Land Use Planning is a type of land use planning undertaken under Chapter 11 of the KDFN Final Agreement. In comparison to local area plans, regional land use plans cover larger areas and focus on landscape-level issues such as land and resource management, rather than community growth and development.

Under Chapter 11, KDFN is assured a role in the development of regional land use plans throughout the Traditional Territory. Regional land use plans are a key mechanism for ensuring KDFN land-based interests are understood and addressed, before further land and resource dispositions occur or additional roads are built by the Yukon government.

 

Current Projects

  • Preparation for Regional Land Use Planning is underway through an initiative that Elders have named How We Walk with the Land and Water.

The KDFN Final Agreement ensures KDFN involvement in a variety of resource planning and management processes (mineral development, gravel resources, forestry, water management, resource roads, etc.)

 

Current Projects

  • KDFN participated in the development of the Whitehorse and Southern Lakes Forest Resource Management Plan, along with Carcross Tagish First Nation, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and the Yukon government. This plan provides direction to where timber harvest should occur and areas that should be left for wildlife and heritage values. The recommended plan is currently before the four governments for approval.