The Government of Nunavut is looking at ways to assist Clyde River after hamlet council — struggling to clear roads of deep snow, deliver water to homes and pump out sewage — declared a state of local emergency at a meeting held on Feb. 10.
Hit hard by repeated blizzards and a fleet of inoperable heavy equipment, the community needs to get its loaders and bulldozer running again. The type of fuel required for some of the equipment and its effects on the warranty of those vehicles is posing another obstacle.
Clyde River’s older heavy equipment has run on jet A1 fuel for years and the hamlet has an ample supply, according to a statement from the Department of Community and Government Services (CGS) on Monday morning. However, newer pieces of equipment are experiencing technical issues from that type of fuel.
Speaking with Nunavut News last week, chief administrative officer (CAO) Jerry Natanine called upon the territorial government to fly in a supply of diesel fuel that would allow the community’s new heavy equipment to run properly. However, that option is not being considered, CGS stated.
The more sophisticated emission controls on the newer equipment do not make those vehicles compatible with jetA1 fuel, CGS acknowledged.
“The municipality’s capacity to maintain services in the community has (been) drastically reduced due to required maintenance on older equipment and breakdowns of newer equipment because it has been operating on jet A1 fuel,” the department acknowledged.
Without diesel, the hamlet is once again arranging to bring in a heavy equipment mechanic who will bypass the heavy equipment’s emission control systems, allowing jet A1 fuel to be used, but it will come at the additional cost of eliminating the warranty on the machines, Natanine noted.
“What we were hoping for was that the government might bring in heavy equipment that can use the Jet A fuel, or bring in proper diesel fuel for our equipment. Our equipment are still under warranty and the jet A will void the warranty,” he said. “We’ll get (the technician) in ASAP, flights permitting and hire a charter if we have to … Hopefully the equipment will get fixed for good this time.”
The CAO also pointed out that disabling emissions regulations requires an exemption from Transport Canada.
CGS stated that the Nunavut Emergency Management Division “is currently working with hamlet officials to implement their emergency response plan and to identify immediate and longer-term supports available through the territorial government.”
Meanwhile, residents, many whose homes are inaccessible to service vehicles due to towering snowbanks that continued to grow with another weekend blizzard, continue to submit an avalanche of water delivery and sewage pump out requests. Some people have approached the water truck with portable containers to fill.
With no other choice, the hamlet is using automated push snowblowers and corps of snow shovellers to clear paths.
Correction: A previous version of this story contained an error. Jerry Natanine is Clyde River’s chief administrative officer. Nunavut News regrets the mistake and any confusion or embarrassment it may have caused.