MACA is developing a Recreational Leasing Policy Framework for the Northwest Territories. There will be a special focus on the Cassidy Point, Walsh, Banting and Prosperous Lakes area near the City of Yellowknife, and the area around Airport Lake, outside the Town of Inuvik.
MACA has withdrawn from disposal lands in the Yellowknife Study Area and in the Inuvik Study Area, until the Framework is completed. Leaseholders in these areas keep all the rights they have under their leases. The withdrawals mean that no new leases will be issued in the Study Areas for the time being.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How is the Framework being developed?
The Framework is being developed with the assistance of interested groups including Aboriginal organizations, community governments and leaseholders.
- Is there a process MACA is meant to follow respecting opening up Commissioner’s Land to the public?
Commissioner’s Land is available to the public unless otherwise ordered. The Commissioner’s Land Regulations provide some direction on a public process for opening up land to the public.
Under section 8 of the Commissioner’s Land Regulations, it says that the Deputy Minister of MACA can advertise land availability at his/her discretion, but only if this applies to land up for sale (not lease). Land in the Study Areas, particularly around the Walsh Lake area, is reserved from sale under the Yellowknife Watershed Development Area Regulations.
Section 10 of the Commissioner’s Land Regulations provides the lease application process. The process leaves the identification of an area of interest in the hands of the public, and the process operates on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Other jurisdictions in Canada, including the federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
- What does MACA’s current process for land leasing take into consideration?
MACA’s land leasing process does not now include development controls for recreational land. Regulations are being developed that will protect the natural environment by requiring compliance with new development controls.
- Why is MACA developing a Recreational Leasing Policy Framework?
The Recreational Leasing Policy Framework is being developed to strengthen the Government of the Northwest Territories’ (GNWT) land administration program by looking at how to better manage the high demand for land for recreational use.
The new Regulations will focus on sustainability and responsible management of recreational development. They will create requirements for cabins and other structures.
- Why is MACA not issuing leases during the development of the Framework?
To continue to lease and develop land while the Framework is being created would only make the land and environmental management problems that exist in the Study Areas worse. To better manage the Study Areas in the future, a temporary freeze needs to be in place to better understand all of the factors (trespassing, improper land use etc.) and environmental stresses that need to be addressed.
- Will existing lease holders be affected during the development of the Framework?
Existing leaseholders will still have all of the rights they have under their leases, allowing them to to renew, assign, or amend documents while the Framework is under development.
- Will there be an absolute ban on the granting of leases to applicants who are trespassing?
The Study Areas that the Framework is looking at right now was withdrawn from disposition by Order of the Commissioner. This means that there will be no leases issued in the Study Areas until the Framework is complete.
MACA has also announced that it will suspend its Interim Trespass Enforcement Strategy in the Study Areas, but will continue to remove trespassers under the Commissioner’s Land Act and the common law.