ENVIRONMENT YUKON






 

Land Use Activities

Number, type, and location of environmental and socio-economic assessments

 

Significance

 

Environmental and socio-economic assessment is a process that identifies the potential environmental and socio-economic effects of proposed activities before they are carried out. The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) carries out assessments in Yukon.

When a potential effect is identified and deemed substantial (referred to as a significant adverse effect) assessors recommend mitigations to reduce, control or eliminate those effects. If the significant adverse effects of a project cannot be mitigated, the Board makes a “do not proceed” recommendation. The appropriate government or regulatory body makes the final decision, which can accept, reject, or vary the recommendation.

 

The number, type, complexity and location of projects assessed by YESAB can indicate development pressures on environmental and socio-economic values, such as:

  • impacts on wildlife and their habitat,
  • impacts on air and water quality,
  • impacts on fish and fish habitat, and
  • permanent land conversion.

However, the assessment of a project does not mean a proponent carries out the project. Many proposed projects may never move into development and therefore have no environmental impact. Other project activities may not trigger an environmental and socio-economic assessment.

 

What is happening?

 

In 2016, 205 project proposals were submitted to YESAB for assessment.

Four common sectors that submit project proposals for assessment are placer mining, land development, quartz mining, and transportation (Figure 1).

 

Figure 1: Number of project proposals for the four common sectors, 2006-2016.
Source: YESAB, 2016
  • The projects proposed in each of these sectors may impact the environment in varying degrees, depending on the individual project activities and its location.

 

Figure 2: YESAB percentage of projects assessed by sector
Source: YESAB, 2016
  • In 2016, the majority of project proposals were received in the Mayo and Dawson City areas (Figure 3).
    • Whitehorse has the highest population density in Yukon. This results in a large number of project submissions for residential and commercial activities such as access roads, subdivisions, road upgrades and lot enlargements.
    • Dawson City is a well-known mining district with a long history of placer mining. A significant number of assessable project activities related to placer mining take place within the district. In 2014, 37 per cent of YESAB’s project submissions came from the placer mining sector.

 

Figure 3: YESAB, project proposal submissions by designated office, 2016.

Source: YESAB, 2016

  • The number of project proposals submitted to Designated Office districts (Figure 3) include:
    • 55 projects submitted to the Dawson City Designated Office
    • 59 projects submitted to the Mayo Designated Office
    • 24 projects submitted to the Whitehorse Designated Office
    • 39 projects submitted to the Haines Junction Designated Office
    • 19 projects submitted to the Watson Lake Designated Office
    • 9 projects submitted to the Teslin Designated Office
  • Whitehorse has the highest population density in Yukon. This results in a large number of project submissions for residential and commercial activities such as access roads, subdivisions, road upgrades and lot enlargements.
  • Dawson City is a well-known mining district with a long history of placer mining. A significant number of assessable project activities related to placer mining take place within the district. In 2016, 20 per cent of YESAB’s project submissions came from the placer mining sector in Dawson City.
  • Mayo had the second highest number of placer project submissions totaling 31 projects or 15 percent of the total projects submitted to YESAB.
  • Overall, placer mining projects made up 42 percent of the total projects submitted to YESAB in 2016.

 

Figure 4: Project submissions by month (2014-2016)

 

 

Data quality

  • Access YESAB’s full assessment statistics on its website.
  • This section does not include information on the projects reviewed by the Executive Committee of YESAB. There have been seven Executive Committee level screenings completed since 2005. Information about those projects and the associated timelines is available on the YESAB website.