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Hamlet won’t support ValOre without HTO and KIA first

Rankin Inlet council briefs from April 25
Marina Carvalho, lead administrator with ValOre, is seen here at a public consultation in Rankin Inlet March 14. In an email to the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet, she committed a number of promises regarding the Angilak project, an exploratory drilling site for uranium near Baker Lake. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

ValOre requested a letter of support from the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet for the company’s work on the Angilak property uranium exploration project near Baker Lake, presented at the council meeting April 25.

“This would be greatly appreciated and I am looking forward to hearing back from you,” wrote Marina Carvalho, lead administrator with ValOre, in an email to senior administrative officer Darren Flynn April 21.

However, council was hesitant to issue a letter of support without hearing from the Kivalliq Inuit Association and hunters and trappers organizations first.

“It’s Inuit-owned land,” said Coun. Justin Merritt, saying he had no problem with the company but would defer any support until hearing from the more relevant organizations involved. “I don’t want to be the first to go on it.”

The email from Carvalho was presented to council as a follow-up from a meeting ValOre had with the hamlet on March 15.

In it, Carvalho made a number of commitments about the Angilak project, which has begun exploratory drilling near Baker Lake.

Promises include operating two camps to reduce the number of helicopter flights; avoiding low-level flights; following KIA Mobile Caribou Conservation Measures on both Inuit-owned and Crown land; keeping two wildlife monitors in each camp at all times; giving monitors the authority to stop site operations; taking all steps possible not to contaminate water; hiring as many local people as possible and training them; promoting local businesses whenever possible; and organizing a site visit for the hamlet and HTO during summer.

Camp mobilization was concluded April 19 and the program began the week of April 21. Carvalho wrote that 11 local people were hired for the spring program.

Solar panels start making money

Flynn said the solar panels on top of the Agnico Eagle Arena have been in operation since April 11, and as of the morning of April 25, had generated $2,514 in revenue for the recreation department.

“It’s not a slot machine – we haven’t hit the jackpot,” said Flynn, adding that the panels are on pace to generate about $3,000 per month while online.

The solar-panel energy is fed into the grid and Qulliq Energy Corporation pays the hamlet for it.

Drinking and driving foreseen this summer

With the beer and wine store open now, Coun. Lynn Rudd asked the hamlet to put out notices advising against drinking and driving in the summer.

“I would like to see some literature up there asking people please don’t drink and drive,” she said.

Mayor pushed on water project

Coun. Megan Pizzo-Lyall asked for an update on the mayor and hamlet meeting with Premier P.J. Akeeagok and David Joanasie, Minister of Community and Government Services, about the urgent need to upgrade Rankin Inlet’s water infrastructure.

She referenced the April 1 announcement of $214 million in federal money going to improve Iqaluit’s water system.

“I want some clear direction,” said Pizzo-Lyall, suggesting another councillor, such as Merritt, could take on the meetings if that helped.

Mayor Harry Towtongie said the Iqaluit announcement “broke my heart too” and said the hamlet was still waiting for responses on its requests for help with the water system.

With a new session of the legislative assembly coming up, Flynn suggested they could find a way to have it on the agenda.

At the end of the council meeting, Towtongie thanked Pizzo-Lyall for pushing him on the water file.