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Archie Lang sought to ‘help’ club: NDP

The previous Yukon Party government paid $750,000 to buy back its own land leased by the Mountain View Golf Club claiming it wanted the riverside property for possible lot development in the Whistle Bend subdivision and had the support of the city.

The previous Yukon Party government paid $750,000 to buy back its own land leased by the Mountain View Golf Club claiming it wanted the riverside property for possible lot development in the Whistle Bend subdivision and had the support of the city.

The deal allowed the non profit golf club to eliminate its debt.

It went through quietly in 2011 despite city officials’ express disinterest in expanding Whistle Bend to include those lands and a feasibility study that noted much of

the 51 hectare parcel was unsuitable for

“Why did the Yukon government spend $750,000 of Yukoners’ money to buy back its own land?” NDP Leader Liz Hanson asked in the legislature Wednesday.

“Correspondence shows that the premise of the transaction was to help in paying off the golf course’s debt load.”

An agreement signed by the government and Mountain View on Feb. 8, 2011, specifies that $500,000 of the buyback money must be used “to pay out and discharge” the club’s debt.

“Nobody questions the need for the government to support recreational organizations,” Hanson said in question period. “What is not OK is to do it behind closed doors and under false pretenses.

“It reaffirms that notion that this government prefers to deal on a crony basis as opposed to, let’s keep it in the open,” she added in an interview Wednesday.

Community Services Minister Brad Cathers responded in the house: “My understanding is that the land in question was required to install a perimeter trail and a storm water management system for the Whistle Bend subdivision.

“That is about the extent of my knowledge on this subject because this is a matter than I have not dealt with directly,” he said.

The government Mountain View agreement claims that the territory was “interested in acquiring the land . to support potential future development in the area” due to a “shortage of land within the Whistle Bend area.”

But government correspondence suggests future housing lots were not the main goal after all, according to the NDP.

Ray Hayes a now retired senior civil servant wrote to Angus Robertson and Lyle Henderson then the deputy minister of Energy, Mines and Resources (EMR) and the assistant deputy minister of sustainable resources at EMR, respectively that then Community Services minister Archie Lang was looking to “help” Mountain View.

“I should add that I just had a call from Minister Lang’s office inquiring about . the issue of how we could help the Golf Course,” Hayes wrote.

“The premise here is to deal with the MVGC (Mountain View Golf Club) debt load which was the basis for the initial approach by MVGC to YG,” confirmed John Cole, then the planning and development manager at EMR, in a July 2010 letter to Henderson.

That “premise” is not the one that would be presented to the public, however.

An EMR “alert” from Oct. 8, 2013 prompted by a citizen’s questions and approved by the deputy minister states that “suggested responses” to “public or media inquiry” should state that “this land was a prime location for the future expansion of the Whistle Bend residential project” and the buyback had “support from the City of Whitehorse.”

Both those assertions go against the grain of the above correspondence as well as a July 2010 email from a high ranking Community Services administrator.

Dan Boyd, then an assistant deputy minister, wrote to Henderson that another senior civil servant “doesn’t think the City will be interested in the 51 ha. that’s been

set aside for future expansion . the land is probably not good for residential”I told him to keep it confidential.”

Indeed, a city official stated moves to bail out the golf course and change the Whistle Bend subdivision plan seemed to “accommodate the Golf Course at the expense of the
marco polo beach resort Archie Lang sought to 'help' club