Official Community Plan

About the OCPHaines Junction's Official Community Plan was approved in 2021. View the OCP in full here: Village of Haines Junction Official Community Plan Bylaw 382-21

View the OCP in full here: Village of Haines Junction Official Community Plan Bylaw 382-21 

The Official Community Plan (OCP) represents a collective community vision for the future of the Village of Haines Junction. The plan was built through collaboration and discussion with Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) government, Yukon Government departments, Parks Canada, community members, external agencies, elected officials and municipal staff. The OCP is a dynamic and flexible document designed to meet the needs of a changing community. The OCP will provide high-level direction that continues to speak to the future community goals and priorities.

Why do we have an OCP?

The Municipal Act requires Yukon Municipalities to have an OCP. Per the Act, an official community plan must address:

  • the future development and use of land in the municipality;
  • the provision of municipal services;
  • environmental matters in the municipality;
  • the development of public utility and public transportation systems; and
  • provisions for the regular review of the official community plan and zoning bylaw with each review to be held within a reasonable period of time.

The Municipal Act also specifies:

  • Council shall not enact any provision or carry out any development contrary to or at variance with the official community plan.
  • No person shall carry out any development that is contrary to or at variance with an official community plan.
  • Despite the above, council is not empowered to impair the rights and privileges to which an owner of land is otherwise lawfully entitled.
  • The adoption of an official community plan shall not commit the council or any other person, association, organization, or any department or agency of other governments to undertake any of the projects outlined in theofficial community plan. 
  • The adoption of an official community plan does not authorize council to proceed with the undertaking of any project except in accordance with the procedures and restrictions under this or any other relevant Act.

How was the OCP developed?

The Council of the Village of Haines Junction recognized that community engagement was very important to the development of the Official Community Plan. Using the services of WSP Consultants, the Village in 2018 and 2019 held the following Engagement Events:

  • Kick-off Open Houses + Council Workshop: Two public open houses and workshops were a combined event and offered a community barbecue to incentivize participation. The first open house was held at the St. Elias Convention Centre and was attended by approximately forty (40) people The second open house was held at the Da Kų Cultural Centre. This open house was attended by approximately 25 people.
  • Two Online Surveys: A preliminary survey, consisting of six (6) questions, was launched prior to the first open house. The survey asked very high-level questions to help establish a baseline for the deployment of an effective consultation program and also asked the public to identify key areas to address within the OCP. A more comprehensive survey, consisting of fifty (50) questions, was launched after the first open house. This survey was designed to identify community priorities. Questions were asked regarding: quality of life; residential, commercial, industrial land use and development; natural environment; recreation and tourism.
  • Pop-up Events: Informal “pop-up” styles of consultation occurred at various points throughout the firs phase of this project. Beginning with a pop-up stand at the Villages Canada Day Event, and continuing with various popup stations throughout the community, municipal staff engaged with the public to initiate a conversation about the future OCP. Each pop-up stand also provided the public with the opportunity to complete a survey in addition to learning more about the overall project.
  • Feedback Loop Open Houses: Two public open houses were held in 2019 to collect residents’ feedback on the OCP Background Report and to further inform the development of the OCP document.
  • Other Public Engagement: Other engagement events included community barbeques, stakeholder interviews, door-knocking consultation, face-to-face discussions at the CAFN youth centre and a photography contest in which pictures would be selected for inclusion in the OCP document.
  • CAFN Engagement: In 2018 discussions of the OCP began with CAFN Chief and Council. The discussions resulted in the formation of a OCP Steering Community composed of two senior representatives of the CAFN Government and two senior representatives of the Village of Haines Junction. This Committee meet frequently to discuss progress on the OCP and frequently provided ideas and language to the WSP Consultant who was producing the document. When Covid-19 occurred, the Steering Committee continued to collaborate using emails and phone calls.

In 2020 and 2021 the OCP was kept in front of the community and people were provided numerous opportunities to provide suggestions and comments. This was done by:

  • Council discussing and making decisions on aspects of the OPC at twelve (12) public Council Meetings which were held on the Zoom platform; Council approving the draft OCP and directing that it be circulated for public comment. It was posted on our website and approximately seventy – five (75)copies were distributed at the Canada Post Office and Haines Junction Library;
  • Council identifying several potential industrial and residential subdivisions for inclusion in the OCP Conceptual Land Use plan.This information was also posted on our website and approximately 50-60 copies of the information was distributed at the Canada Post Office. As a result of feedback received Council made changes to the Conceptual Land Use plan and the interests of Sha Shäw Community Corporation were acknowledged; and,
  • Council holding a Public Hearing that 20-25 people attended in person and an additional 20 plus people attended via the Zoom Platform.

Emerging themes

A variety of feedback and opinions were shared through the various methods of engagement occurring prior to the creation of the Background Report. Several high-level themes were identified after considering all engagement feedback received. The emerging themes may not encompass all the feedback received, however, the themes below represent the most common topics that were identified and prioritized at all engagement events, including online surveys, informal public discussions, and scheduled stakeholder interviews with municipal staff.


The housing and rental market in Haines Junction is faced with varying degrees of challenges, including limited housing supply and variety, and limited supply of rental options. Although the community encounters housing challenges year-round, it is especially evident during summer months when the population swells. The increased population during the summer months is directly related to tourism activity.

Initial housing background research and reconnaissance completed by the project team demonstrated that the community is facing various housing challenges and a need to enhance the variety of services and supports currently offered. However, the growth and prosperity of the community, specifically related to increased housing options, will require effective and consistent communication, dialogue, and collaboration with the Yukon Government – especially relevant given residential development within Yukon communities is predominantly coordinated and led by the Yukon Government.

How does the OCP address housing?

  1. Promote a wider variety of housing product;
  2. Consider housing needs of the entire community composition; and,
  3. Consider the interrelated nature of housing with other land uses.

Parks, Recreation and Trails

Since the project’s inception, formal parks and other passive recreation features have been highly regarded by plan stakeholders. Amenities such as parks, trails, and local pathways hold significant lifestyle value to residents and businesses. Accordingly, residents placed a strong emphasis on the need for additional support to improve current recreation opportunities within the village. To-date, the consultation and engagement results clearly conclude that the community generally believes park and recreation features and amenities offered by Haines Junction significantly contribute to the “Haines Junction experience”. However, residents expressed the need for several improvements, some of which included:

  • Enhanced maintenance of the existing parks and trail network;
  • Enhanced access and connectivity, with explicit purpose of achieving a seamless network connection; and,
  • Enhanced park and trail network signage (i.e. wayfinding signage), to assist users (i.e. residents and visitors).

The results and analysis of the consultation data clearly identifies the importance of community parks and a trail network. However, while the data indicates that over 30% of residents are within walking distance to community shopping and other amenities, less than 20% of residents use walking as their mode of transportation within the village.

How does the OCP address parks, recreation and trails?

  • Protect and enhance the assets that are most important to the community;
  • Connect the themes of parks, trails and recreation cohesively; and,
  • Develop destinations and opportunities that promote active transportation/recreation.

Established Village Centre

A village or town centre is generally known as being a walkable, integrated, and open-air, mixed-use development, that is centered around a clearly identifiable and activated public realm, such as a small park or town square. It is often anchored by retail, dining, leisure, office, and residential uses. Over time, a town or village centre should naturally evolve into a dense, compact, and diverse part of the community, having strong connections to its surroundings.

When asking residents about the Haines Junction Village Centre, consensus was established regarding the need for a formal location to gather, congregate, and host formal and informal events, such as a farmer’s market. However, when asking residents if the village had an established Village Centre and where its location may be, ambiguity was the theme.

Residents expressed mixed responses, specifically related to whether a Village Centre existed and where the current location of Haines Junction’s Village Centre was. While some respondents communicated that the Village Centre was located on Kluane Street, several identified the highway corridor as their Village Centre. Despite the divide, the general sentiment expressed by residents and members of the business community is that a Village Centre “feel” is absent and should be formally established.

A determination will need to be made whether the community would prefer a Village Centre located along the highway corridor or on one of the collector streets. Various benefits come with a main street being located off the highway, notably allowing for visitors to spend more time in the area by exploring and walking compared to only making a “pit-stop” on the highway, dominated by vehicular traffic.

How does the OCP address a village centre?

  • Define a Downtown Core;
  • Establish a Community Core as the focal point of the Downtown Core; and,
  • Define phases for the Community Core development

Strengthening CAFN Relations

Results and feedback from the consultation and engagement program indicated the relationship between the Village of Haines Junction and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations (CAFN) is deeply valued and efforts to continue to build a wholesome, effective relationship should continue. Residents noted their support of the relationship and further added that the existing relationship must continue to foster trust and confidence. Such a relationship will assist with future community ventures and benefit the Village of Haines Junction and Champagne and Aishihik First Nations as one collective community.

How does the OCP address CAFN relations?

The policies in this plan make the following as the priority for the Municipality:

  • Partner with CAFN to explore opportunities to strengthen the community and to work towards providing municipal voting rights for all residents who wish to be formally included within the boundaries of the municipality.

Economic Development

Sustainable economic development is a necessity for the continued health and wellbeing of Haines Junction/ Dakwäkäda. The major themes identified during community consultation are all strongly connected to the local economy, as economic development is intrinsically tied to community development. Through the OCP process, the Municipality needs feedback from its residents and government partners to better define the challenges faced as a rural northern community. To support a resilient economy and increase the investment potential of the region, the Municipality must be intentional in its planning to develop policy that is clear and executable.

We often focus on private business and industry as the primary drivers in economic development. While these items are crucial in a healthy and robust economy, the OCP must focus on a larger picture of economic growth. As an example, assets managed by the Municipality, such as water and sewer, are the foundations for future development. Effective management of municipal assets is a crucial component of economic development. Moving forward, the community will need to discuss the role the Village of Haines Junction must play in supporting economic growth.

How does the OCP address economic development?

The Village of Haines Junction recognizes the importance of creating policies that support the local economy by encouraging sustainable development opportunities.The Municipality is focused on generating policy that allows for the growth of viable businesses, job creation, investment in industry as well as support to the major economic drivers such as tourism, housing, food security, arts and culture,sport and recreation.

Relevant policies are included in this document that focus on the economic prosperity of the Municipality and that promote an improved standard of living for its residents. Achieving this will require programs and supports that enhance the vibrancy, attractiveness and setting of the community as they relate to the provision of goods, services, and supports for the Yukon and those traveling to the area. The Municipality should continue to explore and promote its locational advantages including its location at the junction of the Alaska Highway and the Haines Highway, its spectacular natural setting, and its resource-rich environment.

Specifically, the policies will work to:

  • Diversify the local economy;
  • Support the establishment of a downtown core as well as support home-based businesses;
  • Support the introduction of local business opportunities that provide goods and services to residents and visitors to the area;
  • Enhance the visitor experience for those travelling to and through Haines Junction;
  • Facilitate the development of tourism services through the designation of land for the development of services to the public;
  • Consider land planning and development policies that allow for growth in the private industry for individuals and organizations;
  • Prioritize developing partnerships with organizations that support and promote the region as a tourism destination, including Champagne and Aishihik First Nations, Parks Canada, St. Elias Chamber of Commerce, and the Yukon Government; and, 
  • Focus on the development policies that support low-income housing opportunities for seasonal and year-round employees in private and public industry.

View the OCP in full here: Village of Haines Junction Official Community Plan Bylaw 382-21

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Historical community planning documents:

Attracting Prosperity to Haines Junction Workshop Report 2015

Haines Junction Integrated Community Sustainability Plan 2007

Haines Junction Economic Development Report 2007

Village of Haines Junction Streetscape, Trail & Signage Strategy 2006


If you have any questions pertaining to these planning documents, please contact the Village Office at or call 867 634-7100.