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Coalition asks top court to hear appeal over Yukon land-use ruling

WHITEHORSE — A coalition of First Nations and environmentalists is asking Canada's top court to weigh in on land-use planning in Yukon's Peel watershed.

The watershed in the territory's northwest features tundra, mountains and rivers, and the territorial government wants to increase the amount of land open to development from 20 per cent to 70 per cent.

But Yukon's supreme court ruled in 2014 that the government shouldn't have imposed major, last-minute changes on the land-use plan agreed to through previous land-claims settlements.

The government tried unsuccessfully to overturn that decision in the territory's court of appeal, which ruled in November that officials failed to honour treaty obligations and ordered negotiations to resume.

But the coalition says a section of the ruling still means the government could approve, reject or modify the plan after consultations — the very reason the groups went to court in the first place.

It's now asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear the case, arguing the territory's court of appeal made legal errors that will introduce substantial uncertainty into future land-use planning.

The Canadian Press

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