The Kivalliq is undertaking multiple federally-funded initiatives intended to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Three of those programs were highlighted in a press conference with Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal on June 29.
One of the initiatives is being led by the Kivalliq Wildlife Board on a regional basis, while Arviat and Baker Lake are each spearheading their own programs.
“By empowering communities in their decision-making and supporting their vision for a green future, people working at the local level are finding solutions to tackle the effects of climate change. The end result will be healthier, more sustainable and resilient communities in the North,” Vandal stated.
The Kivalliq Wildlife Board has been combining scientific methods with Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit to develop a terrestrial and marine community-based monitoring project that studies the connection among climate, vegetation and caribou, as well as water conditions and the marine food chain.
The project is intended to address the concerns of Kivalliqmiut related to access to country food by developing local monitoring capacity to track the impacts of climate change.
Local youth are conducting the monitoring activities with the guidance of hunters and Elders, who promote intergenerational knowledge exchange.
In Baker Lake, the community is installing a 130-kilowatt solar energy system atop its recreation centre, which will reduce reliance on imported diesel by an estimated 32,000 litres per year.
The hamlet received $173,000 for its solar photovoltaic system through the Northern REACHE (Northern responsible energy approach for community heat and electricity) program.
In addition to saving money and cutting emissions, the project is also intended to create local employment, generate revenue and provide renewable energy training to community members.
Arviat has received $150,000 in federal funding to work on its community drainage plan.
“For years, we have seen the changes that are happening in the natural world, not just in terms of increased flooding, but also the changing weather patterns and disruptions to wildlife such as polar bears, caribou and beluga whales. That’s why the Arviat council has identified climate change and climate change adaptation as a priority for the hamlet and the community,” said Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr.
In recent years, Arviat has been experiencing permafrost degradation as a result of rising temperatures. Additionally, during the spring, severe weather events have caused flooding of community streets and residents’ property. The drainage plan is being completed with the help of Dillon Consulting, in close consultation with the hamlet. Once completed, the plan will help inform the community’s approach to solving its drainage issues to prevent road damage.
“In addition to better managing drainage, this project addresses another community priority of maintaining the quality and safety of public roads,” said Arviat senior administrative officer Steve England.
“(This) is a solid start to addressing the infrastructure, knowledge and training requirements the hamlet needs to effectively manage this issue in the coming years.”