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February 2017 – Nunavut Year in Review

NTI, GN prep for climate change


From across the territory and across the generations, Nunavummiut gathered to discuss resiliency in the face of climate change.

photo courtesy of Climate Change Secretariat
Joanasie Karpik, left, Paniloo Sangoya, Peter Awa and Simon Nattaq joined an elders' panel to share their perspectives on climate change at the Nunavut Climate Change Adaptation Workshop held Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Iqaluit.

With funding from the federal government, Nunavut's new Climate Change Secretariat organized the three-day workshop, titled Our Changing Land, Our Changing People: Building Nunavut's Resiliency. The workshop brought together more than 60 elders, youth and community members Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Iqaluit.

"I'm sure you've heard of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change ... Out of that there's a commitment to develop a Northern adaptation strategy, working with all five Northern regions – Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, as well as Nunavik and Nunatsiavut," explained the secretariat's Colleen Healey.

"They've been supporting regional meetings that will feed into the bigger strategy."

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) was first approached, and NTI then asked the secretariat to team up.

Healey said the workshop was a first in bringing everyone together from across the territory to discuss the issues.


Fix coming for Baffin Correctional Centre


The future Qikiqtani Correctional Healing Centre officially received the funding it needed to become a reality by 2020, at an estimated total cost of $75.8 million.

The federal funding was announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Youth to the Prime Minister Peter Schiefke, on behalf of Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi.

"The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of investing in infrastructure that supports safe, cohesive, and vibrant communities," said Schiefke.

According to Community and Government Services Minister Joe Savikataaq, the GN will contribute $19.2 million, while the remaining $56.6 million will come from the Government of Canada through the Small Communities Fund.

"The Baffin Correctional Centre (BCC) was built back in 1986 and is not suitable for Nunavut's modern needs," said Savikataaq.

The new Qikiqtani Correctional Healing Centre will have 112 beds, which combined with the 48 beds of the Makigiarvik minimum security facility, will be sufficient for the next 25 years, said Chris Stewart, manager of capital projects with Community and Government Services.


NNSL file photo
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed sign a declaration to
create the Inuit-to-Crown Partnership Committee in Iqaluit on Feb. 9.

Inuit ink historic deal with feds


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) president Natan Obed led in signing the Inuit Nunangat Declaration at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) headquarters in Iqaluit during the prime minister's first trip to the territory since his coming to office.

The declaration established the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee, a practical forum for renewing the relationship between Inuit and the federal government based on respect, co-operation and recognition of rights.

"We have made a very strong commitment to work together on the issues that are priorities for Inuit," Trudeau said.

"It's all about the next steps, the concrete deliverables we are going to make in the lives of people in the North, whether it be around nutrition, access to food, housing, infrastructure, education or jobs."

The signing marked the first meeting of the new joint committee, which includes the prime minister and select federal ministers, as well as ITK, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, NTI, Makivik Corporation, and the Nunatsiavut Government. The National Inuit Youth Council, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada and Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada will act as observer members.


Iqaluit resident appears on Masterchef


Masterchef Canada announced that Sheila Lumsden of Iqaluit had made the cut, and would appear on the popular cooking show's fourth season with 23 other contestants.

On Lumsden's Masterchef page, she was listed as a homemaker who one day wants "to own a catering company, and build a commercial kitchen and four-bedroom bed and breakfast."

"The biggest thing that I've overcome to get to this point has to do with me battling me," said Lumsden in a preview of the show.

"Me saying that I'm not good enough, who do you think you are but, then, the other Sheila tells her,

'Enough is enough. You're your worst critic, and it's time to shine.'"

Lumsden went on to say that as she gets older, she is becoming more confident and more self-assured.

The Iqaluit woman made Arctic char ceviche with avocado salad garnished with daikon and chives.

"If there was anyone I could cook for it would be my late mum. She was my biggest fan and my cooking ability has grown since she's passed away."

Agnico eyes big expansion


Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. announced it would spend US$1.2 billion to expand its gold mining operations in the Kivalliq region.

The Toronto-based company said it planned to have two gold mines operating in the territory by 2019 and employing around 2,000 people, about 36 per cent Inuit. The company employed 1,400 directly or indirectly at the start of 2017, according to company spokesperson Dale Coffin.

The plan would see a new mine constructed at a cost of US$900 million near Rankin Inlet that is projected to operate for 14 years, while also mining a deposit near an existing mine.

Rankin Inlet Mayor Robert Janes said he was pleased to hear the news in an interview Feb. 16, the day after the company's board of directors announced its decision.

"It certainly bodes well for the future of Rankin Inlet," Janes said. "It's going to mean an increase in the quality of life I think. There's going to be lots of jobs and it looks like it's going to be continuing, not just a couple of years."

The projects were expected to contribute US$9.5 million in payroll and property taxes to the Government of Nunavut.

In a statement, Premier Peter Taptuna called it great news for Nunavut's economy.


First brick of many at Doris North


It was go time for gold at Doris North.

The first gold pour at the Kitikmeot gold mine's new processing plant took place in February.

"The first gold pour is an enormous event in the life of a mine," said Ann Wilkinson, vice-president of investor relations for TMAC Resources Inc.

Just as noteworthy, she said, was the quality of the 100-ounce miniature test bar.

"If you look at photos from first gold pours, the gold bricks often look sludgy, have a low percentage of gold and often have to be remelted."

This bar was all yellow.

"People who commission mines regularly say they have never seen a first gold pour that looked like that. We don't have very many impurities in that ore body. Basically you are getting gold."

She said around 25 people witnessed the pour and approximately 100 of the 185 staff on site attended a town hall to see the first brick produced by the mine.


NNSL file photo
Firefighters make a plan to control a Feb. 19 fire in Iqaluit that left two units gutted, one person hurt, and 21 homeless.

Fire leaves 21 homeless


A fire on the main floor of a six-unit Iqaluit residence left one man injured and 21 people in need of new homes in late February. Firefighters arrived at the home, near the old cemetery, just before 7 p.m.

It took 22 full-time and volunteer firefighters until nearly 11:30 p.m. to extinguish the flames. They remained on site into the early hours the next morning.

"The cause is suspected smoking material," said Iqaluit deputy fire chief Nelson Johnson.

The fire itself was contained within two units.

"They're totally gutted," Johnson said.

The building was left uninhabitable, and all residents have been relocated.

He said the building is valued at around $500,000 and a house fire of this size hasn't occurred in about a year-and-a-half.

The house consisted of four one-bedroom units, three of which were occupied, and two family units, each housing nine people. All but one have been moved to new homes.


Grassroots business project grows


Inspire Nunavut, a youth empowerment and community development project, began an expansion to Iglulik, Arviat and Baker Lake in February.

The program, which began last year as a pilot project in Iqaluit and Pond Inlet, was also planning to expand to select Kitikmeot communities in June.

Curriculum for the seven-month program combines traditional best practices of small business development with tactics of social entrepreneurship. As a Nunavut-specific model, it also incorporates Inuit culture and values through the principles of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit.

"Our vision is to have local businesses established. It will be awesome to the community as a whole and (youth) can become role models to the community. It's a really unique, if not a once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity," said Richard Amarualik, one of two new program coordinators for the community of Iglulik.

Students spent the first eight weeks of the program learning to build a business model and creating a trial product to practice these skills in a risk-free setting.

In Iglulik, students were setting up online stores as part of a Shopify challenge. One group began beading necklaces while another was putting logos on baby clothes and another was designing Inuit-themed iPhone cases.