Mr. Speaker, the GNWT has made a commitment in its Mandate to finalize the Recreational Land Management Framework and a plan for the Yellowknife periphery area. Engaging with NWT residents while doing this work is critical to making sure public land will be managed in a manner that is transparent, consistent and reflects public values. This has set the tone for the approach that the Department of Lands has taken in developing both a NWT-wide Recreational Land Management Framework, and a recreation management plan for areas around Yellowknife. The results of these processes will be invaluable to the GNWT’s future decision-making.
The NWT Recreational Land Management Framework will include the government’s vision for how we manage public land for recreation purposes in all regions. The Framework will also outline the work the GNWT needs to do so that we can better manage cabins and recreational uses on public lands.
In the coming weeks, the Department will begin formal consultation with Aboriginal governments and organizations on the draft Framework document. After this process is complete, the draft Framework will be available for public feedback before finalization in the fall.
We are also working on a recreation management plan for the areas around Yellowknife. This plan will provide direction and guidance for managing outdoor recreation resources and opportunities in the area, and it will identify areas for future cabin leases. Public engagement is underway for this plan, with a variety of ways for the public, interest groups and other stakeholders to get involved. I encourage Members with an interest in the area to get involved. The public has been very responsive to the initiative and we appreciate everyone taking the time to help the Department understand how they use this area for recreation. We hope the public interest in the initiative continues. Residents can visit the Department of Land’s website to find out how to contribute. Before finalizing the plan, we will be sharing it with the Standing Committee on Economic Development and Environment and all Yellowknife MLAs.
As part of this Yellowknife planning process, we have engaged directly with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the Tłı̨chǫ Government, the Northwest Territory Métis Nation and the North Slave Métis Alliance, and these groups have been invited to participate in the development of the plan. The Department of Lands will formally consult with these organizations before the recreation management plan is finalized.
Having the Framework finalized this year, and a recreation management plan in place for areas around Yellowknife, by the spring of 2017, will allow the GNWT to improve coordination, and effectiveness in resource management systems, recognizing traditional knowledge, land claim agreements and devolution.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.