Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 22, 2016 - 4:00 pm

Botched 2014 NTCL sealift leaves west Nunavut town dusty in 2016

"We found out that the material had frozen at Hope Bay, when it was wintered in an unheated area"

JANE GEORGE
The western Nunavut town of Cambridge Bay could see more dust than usual this summer on its unpaved roads due to a lack of a product that helps seal the roads. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
The western Nunavut town of Cambridge Bay could see more dust than usual this summer on its unpaved roads due to a lack of a product that helps seal the roads. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

If you’re in the western Nunavut town of Cambridge Bay, you will have to put up with dusty streets this summer.

That’s because the municipality’s cold-damaged supply of dust supressant can’t be used.

And that all has to do with a botched sealift delivery in 2014 from the Northern Transportation Company Ltd. that saw the last barge into Cambridge Bay arrive too late to beat the heavy ice.

NTCL then offloaded its stock at Hope Bay on the mainland, more than 100 kilometres to the south, causing many problems — and additional costs — for customers.

The Municipality of Cambridge Bay said earlier this week that its two-year supply of dust supressant, normally ordered in 2015, was ruined by the unheated storage at Hope Bay.

“After wintering at Hope Bay, the dust suppressant was then shipped to us on the last barge last year and remained in storage over the winter, ready to use this summer,” the municipal notice said.

When it came time to apply the dust suppressant this year, staff found out the product had solidified into a mass of crystal with a liquid layer on the top.

“It took some time to find out whether it was safe to use as a result of the separation and crystallization and if the little amount of liquid could be used. We found out that the material had frozen at Hope Bay when it was wintered in an unheated area,” the notice said.

Municipal workers are now watering the streets with the water truck and adapting an old water truck so that it can be filled with salt water.

When this salt water applied to the road surface, the water expected to last longer and form a type of seal on the road surface.

The municipality also plans to apply what was salvageable from the frozen dust suppressant on the town’s main roads over the next week.

“We are hoping that this will work until we receive our order,” the notice said, adding that Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping Inc will deliver their next order of dust supressant.

While NTCL traditionally delivered most of the resupply orders to Cambridge Bay, this is changing due to the snafus of 2014 and NTCL’s current state of insolvency.

Groaning under many tens of millions of dollars worth of losses and debts it can’t pay, the Inuvialuit-owned NTCL turned to the courts for protection this past April against its imminent demise.

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