Yukon Land Use Planning Council denied say in Peel watershed appeal

A court ruling Tuesday means the Yukon Land Use Planning Council will have no input at the Court of Appeal hearing in August after all parties involved in the dispute opposed the council's application.

'You can't step into the ring unless you've got a genuine legal interest in this fight:' Tom Berger

Alfred Chief Junior plead guilty to manslaughter in Yukon territorial court. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

The Yukon Land Use Planning Council has been denied intervener status in the appeal of the Peel Watershed case. 

The decision came Tuesday from the Yukon Court of Appeal. 

The application to intervene was opposed by all parties involved, including the Yukon Government and the First Nation-Environmental coalition of respondents fighting the case.

Tom Berger, the senior lawyer representing the respondents, says it's too late for the council to bring its own issues to the dispute.

"You can't step into the ring unless you've got a genuine legal interest in this fight," Berger told reporters after the ruling.

The council is mandated by Yukon land claim agreements to assist government and First Nations in negotiating land use plans for the territory.

The council maintains it is a neutral body, suggesting both sides in the dispute ignored protocols leading to the current impasse.

The Yukon Government is appealing a lower court finding that ruled the territorial government ignored procedural rules when it rejected the First Nation endorsed plan and introduced its own land use plan for the Peel region.

A panel of three judges of the Yukon Court of Appeal will hear the case in August.


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