Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit July 17, 2014 - 11:59 am

Parks Day in Nunavut’s capital cancelled due to dump smoke

“Public health and well-being are a priority to us"

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, under clear skies. Concerned about the impact Iqaluit's dump smoke might have on participants, Nunavut Parks and Special Places has cancelled this year's Parks Day, scheduled for July 19. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS PHOTO)
Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park, under clear skies. Concerned about the impact Iqaluit's dump smoke might have on participants, Nunavut Parks and Special Places has cancelled this year's Parks Day, scheduled for July 19. (WIKIMEDIA COMMONS PHOTO)

The Iqaluit dump fire has claimed another victim.

Nunavut Parks and Special Places issued a news release July 17 saying the annual Parks Day celebration at Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park near Iqaluit, scheduled for July 19, has been cancelled.

“Public health and well-being are a priority to us,” said the news release. “Due to smoke from the dump, we have determined cancellation of the event as the most appropriate course of action.”

Nunavut Parks offered apologies for the cancellation and said Parks Day in Iqaluit will take place again next year.

Iqaluit’s dump has been smouldering since May 20.

The City of Iqaluit has put forth an elaborate plan to spray and dunk the smoking mass of garbage with sea water, hunk by hunk, until it’s been fully extinguished. They expect this will take about 50 days and cost an estimated $4.5 million.

They are awaiting approval, and hoping for money, from the Government of Nunavut and other government sources.

Meanwhile Iqalummiut continue to endure good and bad days, depending on whether wind is blowing smoke into, or away from, the city.

Environment Canada staff reported on preliminary air quality tests June 10 saying the largest concentrations of contaminants in the air drop to near normal levels just 70 metres from dump site.

But they did report “smoke spikes” or bodies of air containing contaminants, between one and five kilometres from the dump.

Detailed results from more sophisticated air quality testers located at four locations in Iqaluit have not yet been made public.

A July 4 public service announcement from the Government of Nunavut said, “to date, 24-hour average air pollution concentrations have been low and are below established health standards. There are occasional spikes in pollutant levels that are relatively short.”

People with respiratory ailments have been warned to limit their outdoor exposure, especially when it’s smoky in town.

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