Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut March 28, 2017 - 10:00 am

Nunavut’s big land use plan won’t get input from territory’s capital

“We simply do not have the manpower or the time, unfortunately, to develop a submission"

STEVE DUCHARME
Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern tells the Nunavut Planning Commission March 24 that she would like to make a submission on behalf of the city of Iqaluit on the draft land use plan for Nunavut but the city has no one, no time and no money to do so. (PHOTOS BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern tells the Nunavut Planning Commission March 24 that she would like to make a submission on behalf of the city of Iqaluit on the draft land use plan for Nunavut but the city has no one, no time and no money to do so. (PHOTOS BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Brian Fleming, executive director of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, appears before the planning commission March 24 to express dismay from member communities that they have had little time, and no money, to consider a submission on the land use plan draft.
Brian Fleming, executive director of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, appears before the planning commission March 24 to express dismay from member communities that they have had little time, and no money, to consider a submission on the land use plan draft.

Nunavut’s land use plan will go forward without an official submission from the territory’s largest community.

Iqaluit mayor Madeleine Redfern dropped the news to members of the Nunavut Planning Commission during the organization’s week-long public hearing on its latest draft land use plan, held in Iqaluit’s Frobisher Inn March 24.

The NPC released a draft of its land use plan last summer, which—when further consultations and rewrites are completed—will act as a resource and land development guide for the Nunavut Settlement Area.

A variety of delegates from municipalities across Nunavut and Nunavik, Inuit organizations, government representatives and special interest groups all attended the NPC’s public meeting in Iqaluit from March 22 to March 26.

Consultations in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot are scheduled to take place this summer and fall, but the draft land use plan has already drawn criticism from municipalities and other stakeholders for not providing realistic time frames or resources that would allow municipal governments to make submissions.

“We simply do not have the manpower or the time, unfortunately, to develop a submission to this body for the whole community,” Redfern told the NPC, explaining that the city’s planning and development department is neither qualified nor financed to carry out a comprehensive submission drawing on both public and private data.

“If we were tasked with that, we would have required additional resources to hire someone to do that research and to do those consultations, but none of those were provided to us.”

Redfern echoed points made earlier in the meeting by Brian Fleming, executive director of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, who said many municipalities struggled with the scope and objectives laid down by the NPC.

“It was a huge task given the complete lack of resources that were available to them,” Fleming said of local representatives who attended earlier land use consultations and were then tasked with collecting further submissions from their hamlets.

The risk of omitting or accidentally redrawing vital parts of a municipality’s resources was high, Fleming argued, and the NPC may have missed issues with a town’s watershed, water sources, landfill sites, remediation sites and quarries that may not lie officially within municipal borders.

Fleming recommended that the planning commission send workers to verify in person that its current land use draft includes those areas in its maps

Some communities, such as Pangnirtung and Kimmirut, struggle with constricted municipal borders already, let alone having enough land to accommodate them in the future, Fleming added.

“You have to consider things like water or the ability to expand. These were not choices made by our people, but yet we are now confined or restricted by those previous choices often based on where there was an existing Hudson Bay post or an RCMP station,” Redfern said during her presentation.

“Many of the communities in our territory are located in areas or on a spot chosen by the federal government, not by our choice.”

Redfern acknowledged that the NPC faces a “daunting task” to develop its land use plan, which began in earnest following extensive cross-territory consultations in 2013.

“No plan can be perfect. Nonetheless, it needs to be adequate enough to have value, value for our communities, our people, those that have to make decisions, whether from an internal territorial viewpoint, or for those outside our territory,” she said.

Though details on future consultations have not yet been released, the NPC plans to visit the Kivalliq region from June 23 to June 27 and the Kitikmeot region from Oct. 24 to Oct. 27.

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