Whitehorse Daily Star from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada on May 31, 1993 · 4
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Whitehorse Daily Star from Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada · 4

Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada
Issue Date:
Monday, May 31, 1993
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e t 4 The Whitehorse STAR Monday May 31 1993 : r i i ’ r f I - r u ’ r 1 r ’ r r f r r ’ r F ’ : r F f t ' fllUKON' 1 - Miners By SARAH DAVISON Star Reporter DAWSON CITY — Yukon placer miners say revised water quality regulations may not signal the end of the goldfish war but they’re one heck of a ceasefire “Some people won’t be happy but for the most part I think they’re as fair regulations as we’re going to get” said veteran miner Murray Crockett “1 think we can live with them” said Bert Oud “Not all miners will be happy but personally I’m not unhappy If the regs had come in the way they talked about last summer we’d all be finished in two years I’m not kidding you Out Gone” The Klondike Placer Miners Association approved the new regulations at its annual general meeting at the Dawson City International Gold Show on Friday night Association president Stuart Schmidt described his industry as “cautiously optimistic” about the new Yukon Placer Authorization finally achieved by the Implementation Review Committee after nearly five years of negotiation Said Schmidt: “I hope this could be the start of true cooperation between the industry and government — a real cooperative effort on the part of government the regulators and industry And an end of the goldfish war” the keys to the new regulations are a calculation system that deals with the thorny issue of linkage and a clause that enables placer miners to defer restoration of fish habitat until their streams are mined out For years fisheries officials and placer miners have disagreed on the effect that sediment from placer oper- Tires Hine-Ups Shocks Brakes Alignment Oil Lube & Filter ' Complete mechanical setvice and Nationwide Wananty available at al Goodyear Certified Auto Service outlets SS5” Tire Sale Ends JUNE 5 1993 participating retailer — Second Ave Chevron & Tire Service 2240 - 2nd Avenue Whitehorse YT 668-6171 — cautiously embrace water rules DENNIS DEANS 'Pragmatic' approach ations has on salmon-rearing streams Numerous studies show that sediment affects salmon habitat but placer miners were challenged to reach acceptable discharge levels The 1987 Yukon Fisheries Protection Authorization excused placer operators from one section of the Fisheries Act disallowing the deposit of this sediment until a new set of regulations were achieved' But the industry became panic-stricken last year when the proposed regulations were released They called for an across-the-board reduction in water quality discharge standards to 02 ml1 — a standard the industry warned was unattainable and would put 60 per cent of its operators out of business - This year’s new set of regulations replaces the Yukon Fisheries Protection Authorization and adopts a more STUART SCHMIDT ‘Optimistic’ “pragmatic” approach said Dennis Deans of the Department of Fisheries “We have a much stronger authorization It’s built on logic that doesn’t challenge the scientific evidence” Instead of issuing an across-the-board standard for all streams and watersheds the new authorization instead reviews the natural background levels for each individual stream before setting standards Water quality objectives for a stream that supports fish and needs protection are to be from zero to 25 milligrams per litre above natural background levels Deans said studies suggest both salmon and Arctic grayling can cope with up to 25 mg1 of additional sediment “This additional sediment will not reduce the reproductive capacity for fish” CERTIFIED auto service Approaching water quality standards on an individual basis also allowed the IRC to deal with linkage or the problem of placer mine sediment upon downstream salmon habitat A recognized flaw of the former authorization allowed some placer miners to deposit harmful quantities of sediment into downstream habitat while meeting water quality objectives outlined in their water licences The new authorization’s individual approach allows fisheries officials to set water quality objectives for placer mines according to downstream conditions For example fisheries officials set a goal for waters flowing from an individual watershed into the Upper Klondike All upstream use — both by fish and placer miners — as well as water flow and dilution potential are then taken into account Calculations are then performed to set standards for upstream placer mines that ensure the water flowing into the Upper Klondike will meet the goal set out by the fisheries officials A third feature of the new authori- I Phelps awaiting reports on Senyk By SHERRYL YEAGER " Star Reporter r Justice Minister Willard Phelps says he is waiting to see what two reports on matters around Krystal Senyk’s death contain before making a decision on a public inquiry A group of anonymous women plan to approach the government requesting an inquiry into Senyk’s murder in March 1992 They are concerned about the actions of the RCMP and Kaushec’s Place transition home in dealing with Senyk Phelps says his main concern is with the allegation that Senyk was refused protection by an RCMP officer at the home the night before her death in her Carcross residence “It casts a cloud over the justice system itself" Senyk’s father Philip filed a complaint over the allegation with the RCMP Public Complaints Commission An internal investigation into his complaint is expected to wind up soon The Y ukon coroner’s office is also preparing a report and recommendations into Senyk’s murder This teport was scheduled for release in early May but probably won’t be available until mid-June said Phelps He wants to see if the coroner’s report clarifies any issues Ronald Bax 32 has been charged with first-degree murder but remains at large Senyk had intervened in (he couple’s marriage breakup by assisting Lynn Bax her best friend zation that received the placer miners’ approval over the weekend was the concept of “deferment” Because it’s been shown that salmon return to their original streams once conditions improve existing placer miners can apply for permission to defer their responsibilities for habitat restoration until mining ceases This is significant for many Klondike placer mines some of which have been operating for more than 90 years The IRC is contemplating bonding certain operators to ensure restoration does occur Deferment also affects new placer streams It will allow miners to use up unused salmon habitat on streams with placer potential subject to approval by the federal fisheries minister On Saturday Norm Ross a former KPMA president and one of the largest and most successful placer miners in the Klondike said deferment is one reason the new regulations will not restrict the expansion of the placer industry “I think that’s a myth If I discover a new placer stream I can make application to the Yukon Placer Committee (formerly the IRC) for deferment of the fishery resource on that stream” Ross applauded the Yukon Placer Authorization ’ as a “good decent document and the culmination of 10 to 15 years’ work “The battle will never end but this is a good document that treats the environment and respects the industry" Ross said the onus has now shifted from the placer industry to government to ensure that the new regulations are enforced “The industry has been responsible in trying to regulate its own industry The most important point now is they have to be enforced The government has to carry that responsibility”

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