Yukon First Nations' plans to market land hits legal snags
Several aboriginal groups want to market land and build housing units
Yukon First Nations around Whitehorse plan to put some of their settlement lands on the market soon.
But before they can, lawyers have to sort out the legal implications of registering those lands with the Yukon Government.
The Carcross Tagish First Nation is developing at least 30 lots just outside city boundaries south of Whitehorse.
On the northern boundary, the Ta'an Kwach'an Council has spent millions developing a country residential subdivision.
Both First Nations want to be able to lease out the lots while continuing to hold aboriginal title to the properties.
"There's so much development going on right now with condominiums and everything like that. I think people might want to build outside of Whitehorse. If you see how close all the houses are getting, I think it's a prime opportunity for Ta'an to move forward on that," said Emmie Fairclough, who manages lands and resources for the Ta'an.
Marketing those lots has been on hold for the past two years due to complicated legal issues in registering aboriginal lands.
The territory says it will consider registering aboriginal lands, but it will be tough.
"Those are really hard legal issues and if we can do it we want to make sure it's done properly," said Leslie McCullough, a deputy minister for government and legal services.
"Our greatest interest is in maintaining the credibility and reliability of the land titles office and we have to make sure anything we do does not undercut that credibility which is essential, really, to our economic system."
McCullough said the proposed legal arrangement sought by the First Nations has never been done in Canada, and talks are continuing.