THE CANADIAN PRESS – WHITEHORSE — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poured nearly a quarter of a billion dollars into Yukon’s highway network Saturday in hopes it will lead to resource development, but some Indigenous leaders remain wary about environmental implications.
Trudeau and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver announced their two governments will spend more than $360 million to improve road access to mineral-rich areas in the territory. The federal share amounts to $247 million of that total.
The governments say the money will upgrade more than 650 km of road and build or upgrade a number of bridges for highways leading into the Dawson Range in Central Yukon and the Nahanni Range in the southeast part of the territory.
Trudeau says strong infrastructure is necessary to develop Yukon’s natural resources. It’s an investment in the future of Yukon’s natural resources sector, more than that it’s an investment in its people,” he said. Trudeau and Silver stressed they’ll consult First Nations whose traditional territories will be affected by the highway work.
Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation Chief Russell Blackjack said negotiations are ongoing and noted a main area of concern is the potential impact on the environment. “I believe there’s a lot of issues that we haven’t come to an agreement with yet, especially with regards to the environment,” he said.
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