Yukon Government plans to acquire some downtown Whitehorse lots are raising concerns among city councillors as there may be old graves on the property.

The three city-owned lots are behind the Sarah Steele building, adjacent to the Pioneer Cemetery.


Whitehorse city councillor Betty Irwin is questioning a land transfer deal between the city and the territorial government of lots that may contain old graves. (CBC)

The territorial government wants to develop expanded treatment services on the site but a city survey five years ago using deep radar scanning suggested there might be as many as twelve graves on the property.

Councillor Betty Irwin said the city backed off from a land transfer deal in 2008. 

"If those sites are still there, what's changed since 2008 to make them OK now, when they weren't OK in 2008?" she asked.

City lands supervisor Pat Ross said he expects the Yukon Government will do the right thing.

"If through development and excavation, sites are discovered, appropriate protocols will be followed," he said.

Councillors will vote on the land transfer at its next meeting in September.

The Yukon Order of Pioneers recently called on the city to support a project to restore and protect the Pioneer Cemetery.