Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Climate Change March 25, 2010 - 2:18 pm

CamBay residents ponder effects of climate change

Five Nunavut communities part of adaptation study

JANE GEORGE
Planners were back in Cambridge Bay this week, rallying local people and groups to consider the impacts of climate chage which may lead to more permafrost melt and drainage problems in the community. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF PLANNERS)
Planners were back in Cambridge Bay this week, rallying local people and groups to consider the impacts of climate chage which may lead to more permafrost melt and drainage problems in the community. (PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF PLANNERS)

People in Cambridge Bay were asked to think more than they usually do about climate change this past week, when consultants with the Canadian Institute of Planners returned to the Kitikmeot community for another round of consultations.

Their goal is to evaluate the impacts of climate change in Cambridge Bay and create a plan to deal with them.

In meetings with the hamlet council and with the public at a community supper, consultants heard once again about the unpredictable changes in weather around Cambridge Bay that have affected caribou migration and making hunting more difficult.

And this week, local land planners and hamlet administrators formed a committee to work on carrying out a climate change adaptation plan for Cambridge Bay.

They’ll consider the problems caused by permafrost, which can lead increased run-off and erosion, and cause instability in buildings.

In Cambridge Bay, erosion or damage due to permafrost loss could mean the possible relocation of water supply, sewage lagoon and the fuel tank farm.

By May, what needs to be done should be more clear.

That’s when Cambridge Bay will receive its final climate change adaptation assessment, called “A Reconnaissance Assessment of Landscape Hazards, Sea Level Change, and Potential Impacts of Future Climate Change in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut,” along with an adaptation plan for its future.

While a hamlet administrator in Cambridge Bay said this will be interesting to see, there’s no money yet side aside by any government agency to tackle any of the added expenses of dealing with the local impacts of climate change, like moving infrastructure or building new culverts.

Similar meetings about climate change are also continuing in Iqaluit, Arviat, Whale Cove, Kugluktuk as part of the Canada-Nunavut climate change or “atuliquq” partnership, to support adaptation to climate change in Nunavut communities.

The name atuliqtuq (which means “coming into force” in Inuktitut) is supposed to reflect the project’s goal of helping communities minimize damage from climate change damage and benefit from any positive opportunities from climate change.

To this end, the Government of Nunavut, federal government departments, and the Canadian Institute of Planners have worked with the five communities to produce local climate change impact and adaptation plans, which evaluate changes in the climate and suggest ways about how to deal with them.

The first phase of the pilot project looked at developing climate change plans for Hall Beach and Clyde River.

Plans developed for Cambridge Bay and the other four communities are also supposed to produce tools that can be used by other communities in Nunavut, such as a climate change planning kit and a training module for hamlets.

Another goal of the project is to establish a Nunavut permafrost monitoring network.

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