Yukon tourism, First Nations, geoscience get $8.3M funding boost

Money was announced on Thursday for 16 projects, including a boutique-style hotel in downtown Whitehorse, a feasibility study for solar power in Beaver Creek, and a project to increase tourists' access to local food.

Money announced for 16 projects in Yukon, with potential to create 125 jobs, MP says

Announcing the funding on Thursday for 16 projects, Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, centre, joked that it was '16 press conferences in one.' (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The federal government announced funding for more than a dozen projects in Yukon on Friday, including a boutique-style hotel in downtown Whitehorse, a feasibility study for solar power in Beaver Creek, and a project to increase tourists' access to local food.

In all, 16 projects will receive a piece of the funding that totals more than $8.3 million, with a little more than half of that coming from the federal government. The rest comes from the territory, First Nations, and other agencies and companies. 

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell joked in Whitehorse on Thursday that they'd arranged "16 press conferences in one" to announce the money.

"Putting these 16 announcements into one, you see it touches many, many faces of Yukon society, many groups and thousands...this is going to touch thousands of Yukoners," he said.

Bagnell said the funding is aimed at supporting and diversifying Yukon's economy. He says tourism is still the biggest private-sector employer in the territory, so some of the new funding supports that. 

"One of the things we have to do is really build on our strengths," he said.

Some tourism-related projects receiving funding include:

  • $1.4 million to the Vuntut Gwitchin Limited Partnership, to design an upscale, 80-room hotel beside the Yukon River in downtown Whitehorse
  • $198,400 to the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation to complete a business plan for a resort
  • $379,763 to the Wilderness Tourism Association of Yukon to develop digital marketing materials
  • $287,500 to the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon to find ways to make local food more accessible to tourists
  • $125,228 to the White River First Nation Limited Partnership to establish a wilderness transportation rental business, and another $250,000 for the First Nation to do a feasibility study on solar power.

Other projects include a feasibility study to upgrade an unused airstrip at Eagle Plains on the Dempster Highway, expansion of a fuel distribution system in Ross River, and implementation of a land management system for the Kwanlin Dun First Nation.

Yukon Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai said new money for geoscience research will continue work that started last year. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

"These projects together create up to 125 job in the Yukon. So that just shows the major scope of these projects," Bagnell said.

One of the biggest pieces of the pie from Ottawa — $753,274 — will go to the Yukon government for geological and geoscience research. The territorial government is also chipping $417,530 towards a two-year project.

Yukon's Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai said the work involves finding potential drill targets for power generation, and updating public data systems.

"We started to do some work last year. It was about a half a million dollars in conjunction with the federal government. Now we're going to continue to do that work," he said.

With files from Philippe Morin


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