Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic August 10, 2017 - 8:00 am

Parks Canada, Inuit org to open new Nunavut national park

Qausuittuq National Park has legally existed since 2015

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the federal minister responsible for Parks Canada, and P.J. Akeeagok, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, will celebrate the opening of Qausuittuq National Park at a ceremony Aug. 10 in Resolute Bay. The park has actually existed since 2015. (PARKS CANADA IMAGE)
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, the federal minister responsible for Parks Canada, and P.J. Akeeagok, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, will celebrate the opening of Qausuittuq National Park at a ceremony Aug. 10 in Resolute Bay. The park has actually existed since 2015. (PARKS CANADA IMAGE)

The federal minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, and the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, P.J. Akeeagok, will mark the creation of Nunavut’s newest national park at a ceremony to be held 2 p.m. today, Aug. 10, in Resolute Bay.

Qausuittuq National Park, about 11,008 square kilometres in size, is located on and around Bathurst Island west of Resolute Bay.

The federal government created the protected area, which lies north of the existing Polar Bear Pass Wildlife Area, primarily to protect the habitat of the Peary caribou.

But one spot adjacent to Bathurst Island, Cameron Island, where small commercial quantities of crude oil were extracted in the 1980s and early 1990s, and which still holds significant potential for development, is excluded from the national park.

The national park was actually created in June 2015, when the former Conservative MP for Nunavut, Leona Aglukkaq, still served as environment minister, responsible for Parks Canada.

After Aglukkaq introduced a bill to legally create the park, all parties in the House of Commons gave it speedy passage and the park legally came into existence on Sept. 1, 2015.

Also in June 2015, the federal government negotiated an Inuit impact and benefit agreement with the QIA to compensate Inuit for use of the land.

Under it, Inuit will continue to exercise their right to hunt, set up outpost camps and remove carving stone from within the park’s boundaries.

Each party to the agreement will name three people, one of whom must be a member of Resolute Bay’s hunters and trappers organization, to serve on a six-person park management committee.

The park will create four full-time jobs:

• the term job of park manager;

• an indeterminate job for the park manager trainee;

• an indeterminate job for a resource management and public safety specialist; and,

• an indeterminate job for an administrative assistant.

In addition, there may be up to half a dozen seasonal jobs.

Ottawa also committed to setting up a visitor and interpretation centre in Resolute Bay and supplying necessary staff housing.

Peary caribou on Bathurst Island. Qausuittuq National Park, created by legislation passed in June 2015, is intended to protect the habitat of the Peary caribou. (FILE PHOTO)
Peary caribou on Bathurst Island. Qausuittuq National Park, created by legislation passed in June 2015, is intended to protect the habitat of the Peary caribou. (FILE PHOTO)
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