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Country Regional : Canada : Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories is a territory of Canada. With a population of 41,462 in 2011 and an estimated population of 43,537 in 2013, the Northwest Territories is the most populous territory in Northern Canada.


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WWF helps Nunavut hunters participate in land use plan process

With technical help, the Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association increased the depth of their participation in the draft Nunavut-wide land-use plan process. That’s thanks to the World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada), which provided financial support so the HTA could hire consultant Amanda Hanson Main. “They’ve been very, very helpful,” said HTA manager Jimmy Oleekatalik... The post WWF helps Nunavut hunters participate in land use plan process appeared first on...

With technical help, the Spence Bay Hunters and Trappers Association increased the depth of their participation in the draft Nunavut-wide land-use plan process.

photo courtesy Nunavut Planning Commission
Qikiqtani hunters and trappers organizations and associations, which have presented their information orally at consultations with the Nunavut Planning Commission, found their information wasn’t captured by the 2016 draft Nunavut Land Use Plan, but thanks to funding from World Wildlife Fund-Canada their information stands a better chance of being included. Seen here: Grise Fiord’s Iviq Hunters and Trappers Organization representatives Charlie Noah, left and Liza Ningiuk and Mayor Meeka Kiguktak at the Qikiqtani public hearing for the draft land-use plan in March 2017.

That’s thanks to the World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada), which provided financial support so the HTA could hire consultant Amanda Hanson Main.

“They’ve been very, very helpful,” said HTA manager Jimmy Oleekatalik about the conservation organization.

“The board is really pleased overall. We’re really happy with the results.”

Oleekatalik says the HTA is not able to afford a technical consultant to help navigate the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC) process. As a result of  the WWF-Canada funding, in November 2018 it submitted a detailed 18-page report outlining its objections to the change in process and cancellation of the Kitikmeot’s public hearing, as well as extensive details related to expanding current protected area designations on the Boothia Peninsula. In contrast, the HTA contributed a one-map, one-page submission with point-form notes in 2016.

“The HTA understands that to date, despite consultations carried out with our community in 2014 and our submission made in 2016, neither of the subsequently released 2014 or 2016 versions of the NLUP have accurately captured the wishes of our community in terms of either conservation or the protection of our resources,” the HTA states in its recent submission.

“The HTA is deeply concerned that the commission has not incorporated our input, and we are increasingly concerned that with no in-person hearing, our voice will again be lost or forgotten as the NPC endeavours to review and revise this NLUP (Nunavut Land Use Plan).”

The Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board (QWB) also availed itself of WWF-Canada funding to carry out work with the Baffin region’s 13 HTOs.  As a result, the QWB submitted an additional 43 documents in November ranging from community-specific submissions to broader submissions related to Inuit routes, wildlife and wildlife habitat, among other points of concern.

“It was pretty critical,” said QWB senior wildlife advisor Michael Ferguson of the WWF-Canada funding.

“We had some supporting funding from the QIA (Qikiqtani Inuit Association) and Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, but we wouldn’t have been able to afford all the travel to all the communities without the WWF funding.”

There was also the considerable cost of multiple translations, multiple times, of submissions as they were hammered out in various drafts.

Those 13 HTO boards had a similar frustration to Taloyoak’s: the boards orally expressed their area-specific information at NPC consultations but felt the 2016 draft land-use plan, as presented at the Qikiqtani public hearing in March 2017, didn’t capture that information.

“They wanted to know how they could get the areas that they were trying to describe included in the plan. Inuit normally transmit their knowledge orally. That’s the way it’s done,” said Ferguson.

“It came out in the responses from the planning commissioners and staff that they seemed to put more weight on written documentation. One thing that struck me was in some of the communities there was inclusion of on-ice transportation routes, basically snowmobile trails on the ice and routes that Inuit use. But they were only for a few communities.”

When Ferguson asked why that was, and the reply was that the information was taken from a Department of Fisheries and Oceans report, based on Inuit knowledge. The communities and QWB felt the commission only wanted to include Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) if it was in a written format.

“That did not seem to please the communities. So QWB decided to try to have a project to try to put as much as possible in the formats that the planning commission may understand, to put IQ in that format. Hopefully it will be used to protect areas the HTOs are concerned with,” said Ferguson.

 

Two ways of looking at the land

The HTOs’ areas of concern are quite extensive, said Ferguson.

“But at the same time, they made choices. Not all areas of value are included. It has a lot to do with food security. These are the places that provide resources for them to feed their families. And food is so expensive. They need these resources. To have them put at risk by development … ” said Ferguson.

“It’s two ways of looking at the land.”

Brandon Laforest is the Iqaluit-based senior specialist for Arctic species and ecosystems with WWF-Canada, which has been participating in the NPC land-use plan process for years. Laforest has been involved for the past four years, contributing WWF-Canada-specific submissions.

“But we also support communities through our Community Voices Fund to help them ensure that their voices are heard in the process, which can be pretty technical and pretty intensive,” said Laforest.

He says his organization responds when communities ask for support.

“We either offer money for them to hire a consultant or hire a lawyer, or pay their own staff time. Whatever is necessary for them to have the capacity to work on a submission and be able to submit that on their own.”

WWF does not review or approve that community-based work.

“It’s really owned by the communities themselves. We make submissions of our own where we have the explicit WWF position on things,” said Laforest.

The post WWF helps Nunavut hunters participate in land use plan process appeared first on NNSL.COM.


High school trip to China forging ahead

A planned March break trip to China by Sir John Franklin School students is still forging ahead after school officials decided the trip will continue despite rising tensions between Canada and the world’s most populous country. The federal government updated its travel advisory to China this week, asking Canadians to “exercise a high degree of... The post High school trip to China forging ahead appeared first on...

A planned March break trip to China by Sir John Franklin School students is still forging ahead after school officials decided the trip will continue despite rising tensions between Canada and the world’s most populous country.

The federal government updated its travel advisory to China this week, asking Canadians to “exercise a high degree of caution.”

Much of the tensions have arisen after Canadian authorities arrested and extradited to the United States Meng Wanzhou, a chief financial officer with technology company Huawei in December.

Yk 1 Education District Superintendent Metro Huculak says he remains concerned about student and staff safety during an upcoming trip to China in March.

Since then, the Chinese government has detained Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur, and activist Ti-Anna Wang with her infant daughter. The Chinese also sentenced to death Robert Schellenberg, a former Alberta oil patch worker, for smuggling drugs, Jan. 14.

Dean MacInnis, principal of the school and chaperone for the school’s travel club of 25 students is planning a trip to four sites in China, including Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Xi’an.

MacInnis said he met with chaperones on Wednesday night. The group is also working with Toronto-based EF Educational Tours, which is helping to facilitate the Chinese tour. MacInnis said it the company is currently advising that cancelling student trips to China is not yet necessary.

“Our schedule is fluid, so it could change, but we will not panic and not do anything as of now except just to be cautious,” said MacInnis.

“We will keep in communication with EF and with the board and if we need to make changes, (the company) is conjuring up a plan B if necessary.”

Huculak said he is concerned for the safety of staff members and students and that if the travel advisory remains, or if the situation worsens, it is likely the trip will be rerouted to another destination.

“Right now there is a safety issue there for students and I am really concerned for the adults,” said Huculak. “We will monitor it closely, but the travel company is aware and there are alternatives. If there are more things going on, we would have to look at alternatives. Because the trip is going to China, it is probably quite easy to change the trip to Japan or somewhere like that.

“Safety is important.”

Huculak said he has the power to override trips within Canada, but it would be the role of the board to cancel international trips – something that has been done in the past.

The school has been planning the trip for about a year and is intended to help students become more aware of Chinese culture. MacInnis said the group is also working with local residents of Chinese origin to learn basic Mandarin language skills and is looking forward to being involved with local festivities with Chinese New Year, Feb. 3.

MacInnis said Wednesday’s meeting with chaperones focused on new concerns among the travellers and the need for more communication with the board, but he said there is not much difference from past trips the school has taken.

“It is really no different than any other travel club trip in the past,” he said. “We have gone to Kenya and Morocco before. We have had a group of students in Italy before when there were government demonstrations and in that case, you make adjustments on the fly.

“No matter where you go, you have to take a certain amount of caution.”

MacInnis said cancellation is possible but right now everyone involved sees the trip as being worthwhile to carry out.

“At the end of the day we have to know that the trip is going to happen safely there and back and everyone is going to get out of it what they need educationally,” said MacInnis.

A call to EF Educational Tours on Thursday was not returned by press time.

The post High school trip to China forging ahead appeared first on NNSL.COM.


Parka thefts on the rise

After responding to multiple parka thefts in the last month, Yellowknife RCMP are warning parka owners to take precautionary measures to avoid becoming a victim of such crime. In a news release issued on Thursday, Yellowknife RCMP wrote that an unknown number of individuals have been targeting hotels, restaurants, stores and other public places throughout... The post Parka thefts on the rise appeared first on...

After responding to multiple parka thefts in the last month, Yellowknife RCMP are warning parka owners to take precautionary measures to avoid becoming a victim of such crime.

In a news release issued on Thursday, Yellowknife RCMP wrote that an unknown number of individuals have been targeting hotels, restaurants, stores and other public places throughout the city.

RCMP are asking parka owners to refrain from leaving their wallets, car keys or any other small valuables unattended in their jackets. They also asked that owners keep a copy of their ID, passport and credit cards in a password-protected document or in the safe of their hotel room.

Authorities are asking anyone with information about these thefts or have noticed any other suspicious activities around area businesses to immediately report it to the Yellowknife RCMP at 1-867-392-1111, or anonymous at Crimestoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

The post Parka thefts on the rise appeared first on NNSL.COM.


NWT Parks continue to shine

2018 marked the fifth-straight year of increases in the usage of NWT Parks, where they welcomed more than 36,500 visitors to their campgrounds across the territory, an all-time record for territorial parks. Camping increased by 4 per cent across NWT Territorial Parks, with around 57 per cent of overnight visitors coming from outside of the... The post NWT Parks continue to shine appeared first on...

2018 marked the fifth-straight year of increases in the usage of NWT Parks, where they welcomed more than 36,500 visitors to their campgrounds across the territory, an all-time record for territorial parks.

Camping increased by 4 per cent across NWT Territorial Parks, with around 57 per cent of overnight visitors coming from outside of the Northwest Territories. The Beaufort Delta region alone saw a 122 per cent increase in overnight stays.

Our parks have once again proven to be prime locations for visitors and residents exploring our territory. As we see continued growth, it’s clear our approach to investing in world-class parks infrastructure is working,” stated Wally Schumann, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment in a news release.

Fred Henne Territorial Park welcomed over 11,000 campers, followed by Hay River Territorial Park with nearly 3,800 campers. The Happy Valley Territorial Park had over 3,400 campers, and the Sambaa Deh Territorial Park had 900. Overnight visitors reported staying an average of 2.38 days.

We are committed to supporting the growth of tourism through ongoing investments, and promoting these attractions locally, nationally, and internationally,” stated Schumann.

The post NWT Parks continue to shine appeared first on NNSL.COM.


Rec boating not an option at Con Mine, says Newmont

With the public boat launch at Giant Mine likely to be blocked from access during the next phase of mine remediation, expected to begin in 2021, a popular suggestion has been to use the former Con Mine boat access ramp. But Newmont North America, which oversees the remediation of Con Mine, said last week that... The post Rec boating not an option at Con Mine, says Newmont appeared first on...

With the public boat launch at Giant Mine likely to be blocked from access during the next phase of mine remediation, expected to begin in 2021, a popular suggestion has been to use the former Con Mine boat access ramp.

But Newmont North America, which oversees the remediation of Con Mine, said last week that is not an option. In an email exchange Scott Stringer, general manager of Newmont, said the company has no problem working with the city on future land use of the former mine site, however the former boat access ramp is presently not an option.

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team is proposing to block access to one of two public boat launches in the city starting in 2023, should the next phase of mine remediation take place. The Giant Mine location is the most popular site in the city and sees more than 100 boats, trailers, and vehicles per day throughout the months of June, July and August. NNSL file photo
The Giant Mine Remediation Project team is proposing to block access to one of two public boat launches in the city starting in 2023, should the next phase of mine remediation take place. The Giant Mine location is the most popular site in the city and sees more than 100 boats, trailers, and vehicles per day throughout the months of June, July and August.
NNSL file photo

“There have been no discussions with the City of Yellowknife regarding potentially utilizing this area for recreational boaters,” Stringer said. “However, Newmont remains open to discussions around the future planned land use of the former Con Mine lease areas should the various stakeholders express interest to do so.”

Stringer said that there are no docking facilities on the property and haven’t been since 2010 when the water front/dock area of remediation was finished and all structures, hydrocarbon contaminated soil and various pipe materials were removed. Only a loose gravel area remains where a smaller sized boat could be launched, he said.

Stringer stated that the location, on the northwest side of Yellowknife Bay, would not be a suitable replacement for the public dock at Giant Mine.

“It’s our opinion that the location is not suitable for potential recreational boating, due to the natural shoreline orientation and wind exposure,” he said.

City councillor Robin Williams owns a 16-foot recreational boat which he launches at Giant. He says boating is an important part of Yellowknife life and he wants to ensure the level of service is kept in looking for a replacement for that site over the long-term. He also says it is not ideal to keep a boat launch over the long-term in an area that is an arsenic hazard.

“If there is an expectation of a level of service to have a dock to put a semi-large boat in, a roundabout, some parking and some deep water, I’m definitely an advocate of maintaining (that) level of service,” he said. “It is an important piece of infrastructure and I see it as an opportunity for waterfront development and looking for ways to increase access for people.”

The Giant Mine Remediation project team is supposed to give a presentation at the Jan. 21 Governance and Priorities Committee meeting. Williams said he would like to raise questions about the timeline of the project and how it is being communicated to residents.

“There is no doubt some capital investment in fixing a solution like a boat launch,” Williams said. “But even though I, myself, launch at Giant – because it has a great turnround, the best parking and is the best set up for launching a boat – it is time to look at cleaning it up and making sure Yellowknife is great for our kids. Maybe we need another boat launch at Con or somewhere where it makes better sense for people of Yellowknife.”

Mayor Rebecca Alty was non-committal to a replacement location for the Giant Mine boat launch as she wanted more information.

She said she was also aware that Yellowknifers have talked about the Con Mine boat launch in the past as a possible alternative, however she wanted to hear from Newmont.

“Con Mine is an idea that has been floated,” she said. “We would have to take a look at other options would be. There was a public dock (at Con) and people liked that one. But is there a better one? It is always a good idea to look at other options.”

The post Rec boating not an option at Con Mine, says Newmont appeared first on NNSL.COM.


Housing project to be completed later this year

Habitat for Humanity NWT is planning to complete their third housing project this year, which will see a partner family living in either a prefabricated or mobile home on Bagon Drive once autumn rolls around. Robert Charpentier, treasurer for Habitat NWT, said the plan is to build on one of the lots in the neighbourhood.... The post Housing project to be completed later this year appeared first on...

Habitat for Humanity NWT is planning to complete their third housing project this year, which will see a partner family living in either a prefabricated or mobile home on Bagon Drive once autumn rolls around.

Dave Hurley, president of Habitat for Humanity NWT, left, and Dave Brothers, building committee chair, during a visit to their second housing project on Hershman Road in 2017. NNSL file photo
Dave Hurley, president of Habitat for Humanity NWT, left, and Dave Brothers, building committee chair, during a visit to their second housing project on Hershman Road in 2017. NNSL file photo

Robert Charpentier, treasurer for Habitat NWT, said the plan is to build on one of the lots in the neighbourhood.

“At some point in February, we’re going to determine how much funding is needed. Once funding is secured, we’re going to look for a partner family to help with the build or fundraise,” Charpentier said.

Funding is mostly generated through government grants and fundraising done by the partner family, where Charpentier said that in previous cases, the children of the partner family helped fundraise “through baking cookies.”

He added that the organization is in the early stages of finding a source to supply the prefabbed home, as well as a potential partner family to house.

“What makes our houses affordable is that there’s no downpayment or interest. The family has to give back 500 hours of sweat equity and make the monthly mortgage,” Charpentier said.

Sweat equity, according to Charpentier, is any volunteer work completed by the family, whether it be through volunteering with other organizations or helping to make the home habitable, where construction would be required to complete the interior of the pre-built home.

He added that the monthly mortgage will be determined through a formula of the family’s income and earnings, combined with the organization’s estimates on how much it will cost to run the home.

Members from the contracting community, such as local contractors and electricians, have volunteered their time and services on past projects.

The organization’s first build came in 2013 when they built a duplex home for two families on Moyle Drive. Their most recent build was a 1,600 square foot stick built home on Hershman Road in 2017. Charpentier said that this year’s project will be no larger than 1,400 square feet.

“It’s not a high-end house. It’s meant to be affordable with no more than three bedrooms,” he added.

Families interested in applying to become the potential partner family are asked to apply online, and depending on how many families qualify, they will be invited to move on to the interview process.

“There’s never less than three families that apply,” Charpentier said.

According to their website, Habitat NWT is a non-profit organization “working toward a North where everyone has a safe and decent place to live.” They are one of 72 Canadian affiliates of Habitat for Humanity International, which has built or improved more than 400,000 homes worldwide.

The post Housing project to be completed later this year appeared first on NNSL.COM.


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