Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic March 24, 2017 - 2:30 pm

Makivik wants protected status removed from shared Nunavut-Nunavik islands

Makivik staff argue case at land use plan meetings underway in Iqaluit

Mylène Larivière, representing Makivik Corp., told members of the Nunavut Planning Commission during public hearings March 23 on the draft Nunavut land use plan that the corporation is opposed to
Mylène Larivière, representing Makivik Corp., told members of the Nunavut Planning Commission during public hearings March 23 on the draft Nunavut land use plan that the corporation is opposed to "protected" status on islands co-managed by Nunavik and Nunavut because it eliminates all possibility of potential economic development there. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

Nunavik’s birthright organization, Makivik Corp., wants the Nunavut Planning Commission to go back to the drawing board over protective designations made on certain islands that Nunavik and Nunavut share, included within the draft Nunavut Land Use Plan.

Makivik representative Mylène Larivière appeared at the NPC’s public hearing in Iqaluit March 23, arguing that the “protected” designation for several islands between Nunavut and Nunavik should be reclassified to “mixed use,” which allows development.

Although islands off the coast of Nunavik fall within the Nunavut Settlement Area, they are defined as “equal-use” and co-managed between Nunavut and Nunavik Inuit associations due to shared history and use.

Under the current draft land use plan, all equal-use lands between Nunavik and Nunavut are classified as “protected.”

“Makivik considers that the protected area designation could diminish the value of the land by severely limiting the potential future alternate use, including economic development,” Larivière read from a prepared statement.

Makivik’s executive board members were unable to attend the public hearings in Iqaluit because they are attending the corporation’s annual general meeting in Tasiujaq.

But Makivik representatives attending the Iqaluit hearings said more consultation is needed between Makivik and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.—the two entities responsible for enacting the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement respectively.

That’s necessary, in part, because Nunavik communities near some of the islands—such as the Nottingham and Salisbury Islands in the Hudson Strait—weren’t properly consulted, Makivik alleged.

The NPC’s consultations in the Nunavik communities of Salluit and Ivujivik didn’t go far enough, Larivière said.

“We feel the implications of the proposed land designation were not presented to them in a full, comprehensive manner,” she said.

NPC chairperson Andrew Nakashuk responded that representatives from three Nunavik communities were flown into meetings in Ivujivik and Sanikiluaq during the 2013 consultations.

Larivière said a written submission from Makivik will be filed with the NPC in the near future.

“While conservation considerations remain core to Makivik, we are also very aware that use and occupation of land evolve over time,” she said.

Delegations from across Nunavut, along with government and other stakeholders, are meeting at Iqaluit’s Frobisher Inn this week as part of NPC’s public hearing on its draft Nunavut Land Use Plan.

Following a 2013 round of consultations, as mentioned by Makivik, the NPC released its draft land use plan last summer.

The plan is designed to guide resource use and development within the Nunavut Settlement Area, mapping it out under three categories: protected areas, special management areas and mixed use.

Both NTI and Nunavut’s regional Inuit associations have already voiced concerns over the current consultation process, arguing that not enough time was given to stakeholders to present their concerns.

The four Nunavut Inuit organizations recommended the current hearings adjourn at the end of March and reopen at a later date, pending notification.

Last fall, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association slammed the draft land use plan as well for catering too much to environmental concerns, warning the plan could deter mining and resource development.

The Government of Nunavut’s position has been to keep options open by limiting the number of protected areas in Nunavut and relying on organizations such as the Nunavut Impact Review Board the flexibility to consider projects on a case by case basis.

Some Kivalliq residents oppose the GN’s view and would like to see caribou calving, and post-calving grounds fully protected, at the very least.

Those concerns are backed by several non-governmental organizations including the Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board who are fighting to keep calving grounds safe from development in Nunavut.

The NPC’s current public hearing in Iqaluit is scheduled to continue until March 26.

The commission will then hold similar meetings to discuss the draft plan in the other two regions. Though details have not yet been released, they plan 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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