On Oct. 17, Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corporation (NNC) held a public meeting at Iqaluit’s Cadet Hall to explore which areas are most used for traditional use and to see which areas would be best for renewable energy development in the area, be it solar, wind or hydroelectric.
This is a part of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s (QIA) Tusaqtavut Study for Iqaluit, specific to renewable energy development.
However, Iqalummiut attending the meeting were unsure what the meeting was about after it started. Some came expecting a meeting specifically on future hydroelectric development on Inuit-owned lands outside of the city.
“My understanding was that it was meant to be consultation on a hydro project down the way. What we heard from the group that came here and presented is consultation on land-use around Iqaluit,” said Iqaluit-Sinaa MLA Janet Brewster.
“It’s not specifically a hydro project, it’s for potential renewable energy development. The technical investigation will be informed by the knowledge that comes from the community,” said Jess Puddister, a regulatory and stakeholder manager with NNC.
Residents attending the meeting also highlighted past and ongoing work around the Nunavut Planning Commission, as well as past hydroelectric community studies done by the Qulliq Energy Corporation.
“(They’re) doing what you’re doing: collecting data on traditional Inuit knowledge on wildlife migration, cultural and traditional camping grounds,” said one resident attending the consultation.
NNC and the Firelight Group, a First Nations-owned consulting firm, are conducting the study and said they will also consult past work done at a later point in addition to their own work.
“This is a really great opportunity for you to voice those perspectives,” said Alexis Castle, a researcher with the Firelight Group.
Firelight and NNC are looking to interview between 50 to 80 people on the history of the area, areas of hunting, fishing, travel and camping use, as well as to voice any possible concerns on renewable energy development.
“People are really passionate about this land, their culture and it’s really important to take what we heard today and implement that in the future,” said Castle.
If you’re a resident of Iqaluit looking to be interviewed for this Tusaqtavut Study on Iqaluit’s potential renewable energy developments you can reach out to Castle at email@example.com or QIA team lead Solomon Awa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s very clear the community is interested in community-led (projects) and that aligns so well with the mission of NNC. I’m very pleased with all of the knowledge that was shared,” said Puddister.
The confusion stemming from what the meeting was about highlighted the need for the territory to have a complete working land use plan, according to Brewster.
“One they should have been more clear about what they were consulting on and number two, we need a land use plan and we need it now,” she said.