The Water-Use Licence for the Whitehorse dams will expire in 2025. To continue operating the dams, Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) must go through a process to renew this licence.

KDFN is involved in the relicensing process to:

  • Ensure that KDFN’s interests are represented and prioritized;
  • Preserve or enhance KDFN environmental, cultural, and heritage values in the Southern Lakes region, and the health and wellbeing of the KDFN community; and
  • Acknowledge the historical and ongoing impacts of the dams, and seek compensation.

Please note: You may see this project also called the “Whitehorse Rapids Generating Station Relicensing Project”.

Whitehorse Water-Use Relicensing Project Story Sharing Event – Thursday, August 24, 2023

 

Click here to read the What We Heard report from the event.

Yukon Energy Corporation (YEC) currently has a Water-Use Licence that means they can use water from the Yukon River and Southern Lakes to operate two dams.

  • The Whitehorse Rapids Dam is located on the Yukon River at the outlet of Schwatka Lake. It was built in 1958.
  • The Lewes River Control Structure is used to regulate water levels in Marsh Lake and the flow of water into the Yukon River. This dam was originally built in 1899 and has been rebuilt many times since.

These dams provide about 80% of electricity Yukoners use in summer and 25% in winter.

This water licence will expire in 2025. To continue operating these dams, YEC must go through a process to renew its licence.

KDFN is involved in the relicensing process. Other affected Yukon First Nations, including the Ta’an Kwäch‘än Council, the Carcross Tagish First Nation, and the Yukon government are also participating in this project.

These dams have affected KDFN lands and people (past, present and future).

Among other impacts that will be determined through KDFN community engagement, these dams have:

  • Displaced people from their homes and harvesting grounds; and
  • Affected the habitats and seasonal migrations of fish, birds, and wildlife.

These impacts are still felt by the KDFN community today, and have never been fully acknowledged by YEC, its predecessors, or the governments of Canada or Yukon.

In 2019, KDFN’s General Assembly passed two resolutions directing us to seek:

  • Reconciliatory action for the historical impacts of the dams; and
  • Compensation for past and ongoing impacts of the dams.

KDFN has formed a project team, including a project manager, negotiator and other specialists. This team will be guided by the Whitehorse Water-Use Relicensing Project Community Advisory Committee. There will also be KDFN community engagement and feedback sessions.

KDFN’s Objectives

  • Ensure that KDFN’s interests are represented and prioritized
  • Preserve or enhance KDFN environmental, cultural, and heritage values in the Southern Lakes region, and the health and wellbeing of the KDFN community
  • Acknowledge the historical and ongoing impacts of the dams, and seek compensation

KDFN’s Guiding Principles

  • Respect for the land and water
  • Collaboration
  • Community involvement
  • Considering future generations
  • Support for climate change efforts
  • Strategic approach

To find out more or share comments, contact:
Project Manager – Emily McDougall
Phone: 867-334-2115
Email: emily.mcdougall@kdfn.net