arctic bay

  • Public hearings start again this week for scaled down Mary River proposal

    uploaded by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: DID News

    Nunavut Planning Commission looking at Baffinland's new transportation corridor

    By Lisa Gregoire


    The Nunavut Planning Commission will hold public hearings this week in Clyde River, Grise Fiord, Resolute, Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet to allow members of the public to share their views and concerns about Baffinland Iron Mine Corp.’s scaled-down iron mine proposal in north Baffin.


    “Feedback received during the Public Review will be used to assist the NPC to determine whether the [early revenue phase of Mary River] meets the information requirements of Appendices J and K of the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan, and whether to recommend an amendment to the land use plan,” the NPC said on its website.


    After years of hearings, technical meetings, public input and thousands of pages of material describing the scope of the Mary River iron mine south of Pond Inlet and its potential impacts on the land, water, animals and people, the proponent, Baffinland, finally got a project certificate to go ahead with the mine in December 2012.


    Weeks later, Baffinland announced that because of slumping steel prices, they would be scaling back their proposal to a phased-in approach that would involve temporarily postponing construction of the railway to Steensby Inlet and the year-round port there.


    Instead, they would ship only 3.5 million tonnes of ore a year out of Milne Inlet, as opposed to 18 million tonnes, and only between July and October.


    This is referred to as Baffinland’s Early Revenue Phase (ERP) and includes, according to NPC documents, “upgrades to the Milne Inlet Tote Road, new permanent project facilities at Milne Inlet and increased truck traffic and shipping traffic transporting iron ore from Mary River Mine Site to markets overseas.”


    The potential for greater, or at least different, impacts in those areas, prompted a new round of public consultations. For the NPC’s part, it must examine whether the revised transportation corridor complies with the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan. After that, the NIRB must consider, again, the wider potential impacts on the marine, land and social environment.


    The land use hearings this week were supposed to be handled jointly by the NPC and the Nunavut Impact Review Board but instead, these hearings will be chaired by the NPC alone.


    In a series of letters between the NIRB and the NPC in late November 2013, the NIRB expressed its intention to pull out of the hearings because the board felt it had not been properly consulted on the format, procedures and rules of the hearings.


    For one, the NIRB preferred “information sessions” rather than full blown hearings, and the board also felt there had not been enough public notice of the hearings given to “community organizations in the North Baffin, to the Government of Nunavut, or to the general public.”


    While acknowledging these omissions, “may have been the result of inadvertence, it does not change the fact that this complete lack of communication has significantly limited the Board’s ability to participate in a meaningful way in the collaborative conduct of the joint review,” wrote Ryan Barry, the NIRB’s executive director, in a Nov. 22 letter to the NPC.

    Despite these “regrettable developments,” the NIRB remains committed to a joint review of the transportation corridor application associated with Baffinland’s ERP proposal, the letter concludes, and it will continue soliciting public input and sharing information with the NPC.


    When contacted by Nunatsiaq News, Barry downplayed the dispute.


    “The NPC and NIRB have different rules of procedure which they must follow when fulfilling their respective responsibilities and this led to the NIRB being unable to participate directly in the NPC’s scheduled hearings,” Barry wrote in an email.


    “However in no way do we feel this would hamper the NPC’s success in facilitating these sessions or the timeliness of either the NPC-NIRB joint review of the transportation corridor application or the NIRB assessment of the full early revenue phase proposal.”


    In an email to Nunatsiaq News Jan. 7, Sharon Ehaloak, executive director of the NPC, said the NIRB’s absence from the hearings this week will have no bearing on the quality or outcome of the consultation.


    “Furthermore,” she wrote, “the NIRB remains a partner to the wider [North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan] public review; they don’t need to be at the hearing for the NPC to access the information the NIRB has gathered in its review process.”


    However, she is more pointed in a Nov. 24 letter to Barry. In that letter, Ehaloak defends the NPC’s actions saying it was the commission’s job to take the lead in the process and so it applied its own criteria as a result.


    She told Barry public hearings are necessary because the “information sessions” that the NIRB had previously conducted for the railway, “merely informed the public that the NPC and the NIRB were reviewing the amendment application,” and thus didn’t allow Inuit and other members of the public to “meaningfully participate” in the process.


    “The NPC is of the view that greater public involvement in the review of the ERP is necessary to satisfy the NPC’s express and implied obligations in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement to act in the public interest,” Ehaloak wrote in the letter.


    The low-level tiff between the two organizations highlights the continuing convoluted nature of development in Nunavut which requires complex approvals from a variety of boards that have specific jurisdictional responsibilities under the land claim.


    For years, the Nunavut Government, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Government of Canada have tried to streamline the process.


    In June 2013, the federal Northern Jobs and Growth Act received royal assent and included within it, the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, which is meant to make the review process “more efficient and predictable.”

    The problem is, the NIRB and NPC say they don’t have enough money and capacity to achieve the federal government’s goals.


    In January 2013, NIRB and NPC representatives told a House of Commons committee that they were already stretched to the breaking point with current responsibilities to take on new tasks involving, among other things, translation and access to information obligations.


    Those wishing to attend the public hearings this week in north Baffin can find a schedule of times and places here.

    While the NPC encouraged participants to give prior notice if they wanted to speak and submit their written comments in advance, time has been set aside on each day’s agenda for oral comments from the public. The NPC’s rules of procedure for the hearings can be found here.



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    uploaded date: 07-01-2014

  • Nunavut regulator gives green light to $116M Nanisivik naval station

    uploaded by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: DID News

    NIRB recommends 38 terms and conditions, no environmental assessment


    The federal government’s long-delayed $116-million naval station at Nanisivik ought to go ahead without an environmental assessment, the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended Oct. 24.

    In a screening decision, the review board recommended the project be approved subject to 38 terms and conditions and 24 other requirements covering monitoring and reporting, wildlife protection, waste management and its potential impact on Arctic Bay’s municipal water system.

    Article 12 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement gives NIRB the discretion to recommend against an environmental review if they find — following a screening — that such an exercise is not necessary.

    At the same time, the NIRB may recommend its own specific terms and conditions. (See document embedded below.)

    Bernard Valcourt, the minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Rob Nicholson, the minister of national defence, must now authorize the review board’s recommendations.

    After that happens, the defence department may go ahead with site preparation and construction work in 2014 aimed at getting the naval station up and running in 2016.

    If the Department of National Defence sticks to that schedule, the station would be operating by 2017, when Ottawa hopes to receive the first of its planned fleet of Arctic offshore patrol vessels.

    This would complete a lengthy process that started in 2006 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced an “Arctic deep water port” that in 2007 was confirmed as Nanisivik, site of an existing dock used since the 1970s by the now defunct Nanisivik zinc-lead mine.

    “Taken together, the creation of the Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre [at Resolute Bay], the expansion and modernization of the Canadian Rangers and the development of Port Nanisivik will significantly strengthen Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic,” Harper said Aug. 10, 2007 during a stop in Resolute Bay on his second northern tour.

    Since then, the two “sovereignty” projects have seen big downgrades.

    A scaled back version of the Canadian Forces training centre at Resolute Bay opened this past August, using pre-existing space within a building constructed for the Polar Continental Shelf Project.

    And in February 2012, DND informed the NIRB of major downgrades to their plan for the Nanisivik station, which was reduced to a summer-only refueling station for vessels operated by the Royal Canadian Navy, the Coast Guard and other agencies.

    Ottawa dropped plans for use of the jet-capable airstrip at Nanisivik that, in any case, was shut down by the Government of Nunavut, and also dropped plans for permanent staff accommodations and a telecommunications system, at the same time reducing the proposed size of a tank farm.

    The naval station will now carry one year’s supply of fuel, for use by future Arctic patrol ships, Coast Guard vessels and other ships.

    The site may also be used by private sealift vessels to hold and distribute cargo.

    The review board, in January of 2013, the review board rejected the defence department’s first submission, a recommendation that Valcourt endorsed in April 2013.

    That’s because, the NIRB found that DND provided insufficient information about the project.

    DND resubmitted the scheme this past August, leading to the NIRB’s Oct. 24 recommendation.

    The Nanisivik naval facility will also include:

    • use of the old existing deep water berth at Nanisivik for transportation, vessel refueling and unloading of oversized sealift cargo for Arctic Bay;

    • use of the small airport at Arctic Bay for transport workers and materials during construction;

    • use of the existing all-weather road between Arctic Bay and Nanisivik;

    • a helicopter landing area;

    • two big storage tanks capable of holding up to 7.5 million litres of naval distillate fuel;

    • two 81,000-litre storage tanks for diesel;

    • 15 drums capable of holding 3,000 litres of aviation fuel;

    • use of three existing trailers for personnel;

    • a general purpose storage building and wharf operator shelter;

    • a cargo storage and marshaling area;

    • use of a local quarry for gravel.

    About 50 to 60 workers will live in pre-built mobile trailers during the construction period — the NIRB recommends DND hire local people “to the extent possible.”

    The Hamlet of Arctic Bay will provide water and waste water management services during construction, under an agreement signed this past Aug. 19.

    And the NIRB recommends that the Nunavut Water Board keep an eye on Arctic Bay’s water sources to ensure the community can meet its needs while handling the extra demand from the naval station.

    During construction, solid waste is to be incinerated and other wastes are supposed to transported to the south for recycling.

    After the naval station’s up and running, solid wastes are to be shipped off site to “an approved disposal facility.”

    NIRB screening decision report, Nanisivik naval facility

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    uploaded date: 25-10-2013

  • 1h 14s

    Nunatinni (At Our Place) January 19, 2004 (Show #5, Part 1): Student Interviews About AWG; Dogteam Race from Pond Inlet to Arctic Bay

    uploaded by: samcc

    channel: NITV (Igloolik community-TV 1995-2007)

    NITV: Nunatinni (At Our Place). Local news and culture from Igloolik.

    Episode includes student interviews about AWG and segments about the dogteam race from Pond Inlet to Arctic Bay.

    Filmmaker Contact:

    Host: Carol Kunuk

    Camera: Natar Ungalaq

    Producer's Name: NITV

    Country: Canada

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    uploaded date: 02-09-2009