Nunavut Planning Commission takes draft land use plan on tour
After many years of delay, Nunavut land use plan ready for public viewing
People in Qikiqtarjuaq, Pangnirtung and Iqaluit will get a chance this week and next to weigh in on the draft Nunavut land use plan and say what they think about it.
That draft plan, which has been in the works for more than 10 years, is supposed to encourage discussion on land use planning in the Nunavut settlement area and direct resource use and development in Nunavut.
Developed by the Nunavut Planning Commission, formed in 1993, an “institution of public government” created by the Nunavut land claims agreement, the land use plan is intended to be the first step in the regulatory process.
The final land use plan will “provide certainty to residents and investors by identifying where development can occur,” the NPC said.
But, while the idea behind the land use plan is to simplify and control development for the good of all Nunavutmiut, since 1993 the NPC been mired in problems.
In 2005, five NPC commissioners rebelled against the commission’s bosses, making numerous allegations related to their inability to see financial information.
The NPC chair, Bob Lyall, and longstanding executive director, Luke Coady, then departed the organization.
Sharon Ehaloak of Cambridge Bay then became NPC’s new executive director, and now Paul Quassa chairs the organization.
But a recent consultant’s report reveals that the NPC is still plagued with problems.
“It will be more difficult for the Parties to find the wisdom, discipline and foresight to break from the current patterns of interaction and make the decisions that are needed to put land use planning in Nunavut back on track,” reads an independent review of the draft Nunavut land use plan, prepared by Dillon Consultants in June 2012.
The lengthy consultant’s report said there “is no silver bullet for resolving the multitude of interrelated issues that currently affect the planning process and the relationships among the Parties.”
The consultant’s remarks include:
• “documentation and transparency have both been inadequate;”
• “the legacy of disappointments, misunderstanding and mistrust that has accumulated over the past several years;” and,
• “mistrust, lack of openness and an adversarial approach to communication have contributed to a self-reinforcing pattern of negative interaction;” and,
• “delaying public consultation for another year risks exacerbating the problems the Parties have working together in an already fragile relationship.”
For all the issues and apparent disputes around the draft land use plan, finally produced in September, its presentation appears simple, relying on coloured maps that show the four designations for land use.
These maps, which you can consult here, show places reserved for:
• environmental protection;
• community use;
• development; and,
• mixed use.
Feedback from the current round of consultations will be reviewed at a public hearing for revisions to the draft plan.
“It’s important that we get it right,” said NPC’s Ehaloak in a recent interview at the organization’s office in Cambridge Bay.
The NPC also plans to meet with Makvvik Corp. and the Athabasca and Manitoba Denesuline, whose traditional lands overlap with Nunavut.