Diesel is currently flown into Arviat until the summer tanker can resupply the community, prompting Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq to ask the minister of Community and Government Services (CGS) if there are any shorter-term solutions to lessen that expense.
David Joanasie, CGS minister, replied in the legislative assembly on May 30 that diesel sales in Arviat have increased by 22.5 and 25 per cent in the last two years and 400,000 more litres are expected to be flown into the community before the summer tanker resupply.
Arviat is slated for a new tank farm, something Savikataaq called “desperately needed,” but the project will not start this summer.
“That means the fuel capacity in Arviat will not change,” said Savikataaq.
If fuel sales continue to go up in line with the last two years, another 25 per cent increase next year will further stretch the community financially, he said.
Savikataaq asked Joanasie if the department has a plan to bring in large, portable tanks so that Arviat can receive more diesel in the coming sealift to lessen the need for air delivery in the year following.
“The Petroleum Products Division is closely monitoring the fuel consumption in Arviat and we’re working to ensure that the community has enough fuel throughout the year in terms of if there’s going to be a portable fuel tank being supplied,” responded Joanasie. “As a result, I’m not aware if there is, but I’ll have to check and clarify to the member if there is or is not.”
Savikataaq asked for assurance that flying fuel into Arviat would not impact the cost of fuel for Arviarmiut. Joanasie couldn’t confirm that.
“The Petroleum Products Division works within its budget and the revolving fund operates on an as-even basis, so whatever you bought the fuel for, you have to pass on to the customers,” responded Joanasie. “If that’s the case for Arviat, I hope that will be the case. I can’t say for now whether or not prices will increase in Arviat.”
Joanasie later clarified that fuel prices outside of Iqaluit are reflected across the territory, not community-by-community.