Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut April 11, 2018 - 1:35 pm

No Nunavut land use plan until 2022, NPC says

News provokes groans from mining symposium delegates

STEVE DUCHARME
Brian Aglukark, the Nunavut Planning Commission’s director of policy and planning, at a discussion panel held yesterday in Iqaluit at the Nunavut Minining Symposium. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Brian Aglukark, the Nunavut Planning Commission’s director of policy and planning, at a discussion panel held yesterday in Iqaluit at the Nunavut Minining Symposium. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

A long-awaited territory-wide land use plan for Nunavut won’t be ready until at least 2022, an official from the Nunavut Planning Commission declared yesterday, prompting groans from delegates attending a panel at the Nunavut Mining Symposium in Iqaluit.

Brian Aglukark, the NPC’s director of policy and planning, made the announcement at a discussion panel that included officials from the federal and Nunavut governments, as well as the president of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, Gary Vivian.

“Wow,” Vivian said after Aglukark’s remark.

Nunavut’s draft land use plan has been in development in one way or another since the early 1990s. A final draft land use plan was released in June 2016.

It’s designed to guide where resource extraction can be allowed within Nunavut, using three land use designations: protected areas, special management areas and mixed use.

But last year, following much criticism heard at a public consultation in Iqaluit that examined the NPC’s most recent draft, released in 2016, the NPC postponed indefinitely two additional public consultations in the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions.

In light of the stalled process, what was billed as a moderated discussion on the land use plan by mining symposium organizers became at times a post-mortem on the project’s missed deadlines and stalled dialogue, as well as the lack of a cohesive path forward by the parties.

The Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., all must approve the final draft of the land use plan before it can be brought into legal force.

“Substantial revisions” are needed, said Mark Hopkins, the director general for natural resources and environment at Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

“Its no secret that the Government of Canada, the Government of Nunavut and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., during the Qikiqtani hearing, expressed concerns about the plan,” said Steven Pinksen, Nunavut’s assistant deputy minister at the Department of Environment.

Pinksen said the NPC arranged a workshop where all parties identified their concerns following the Iqaluit consultation.

At those meetings, Pinksen said the GN called for improved community engagement by the NPC to help municipal governments make submissions, along with the creation of a committee structure that will keep governments and Inuit organizations informed.

Several Nunavut communities, including Iqaluit, did not make submissions to the NPC because they don’t have the capacity to do so and requested more money to help them.

All the panellists appeared to agree that the workshop format is a step in the right direction.

Vivian, speaking on behalf of developers, said any future land use plan must respect the autonomy of Nunavut regulatory bodies, such as the Nunavut Impact Review Board, to guide development.

Vivian expressed opposition to the idea of some lands being designated off-limits to development, or protected, instead of evaluating development in those areas on a proposal-by-proposal basis.

Vivian also reported concerns by some mineral developers that the draft land use plan was being used by some organizations to evaluate current development proposals, despite being a work in progress.

Aglukark categorically denied that accusation, saying the “draft plan is not being use to evaluate any proposal,” and “we have nothing in our records.”

Pinksen added, “I can’t think of any time that [the Department of Environment] ever used it.”

But at least one developer attending the panel said his company has already had to address the draft land use plan in a recent proposal.

That’s because the draft plan was cited during a public comment submission to a NIRB screening application that his company was compelled to answer.

“This plan is not approved, but it is influencing decisions,” said another member in the audience.

Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa, a former chair of the NPC, told the panel that the land use plan is needed, “more than ever, its been going on for so long.”

“I think we cannot dismiss [community] concerns and issues, but at the same time, I know Nunavut was created to be self-sufficient, so sustainable development is something that we all go for.”

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(12) Comments:

#1. Posted by Ours not yours on April 11, 2018

So the gov’t cannot dismiss community concerns but still makes non-consultative decisions against their will?

#2. Posted by Missing Componenet on April 11, 2018

If NPC is not using the draft Land Use Plan, what is being used then, to guide decisions to determine conformity?

Just a suggestion to further elaborate or query into, to supplement this article.

There are two Regional Land Use Plans in place - Kivalliq and North Baffin.  What then, is NPC using for the other areas of Nunavut?

#3. Posted by Knockout Ned on April 11, 2018

Measure twice, cut once.

“Vivian expressed opposition to the idea of some lands being designated off-limits to development, or protected, instead of evaluating development in those areas on a proposal-by-proposal basis.”

Too damn bad Vivian. Suck it up buttercup.

#4. Posted by Third time's a charm! on April 11, 2018

I suppose NPC was hoping the new government was turn out to be less pro-development than the Taptuna government.

Well, turns out Mr. Quassa’s administration might be a little less pro-development, but not nearly crazy enough to go for those vast prohibition zones the WWF wants to see and that would shut down new mineral development in mainland Nunavut forever.

So… Plan B (or is it C… or D?). Hope that an Enviro-Messiah will be elected in 2021 in time to endorse the land use plan in 2022?

Or maybe NPC should just come to terms with the reality that no foreseeable Nunavut administration is going to consciously destroy its economy.

#5. Posted by planner on April 11, 2018

No land use plan ...

means ...

no land use!

#6. Posted by What do they do? on April 12, 2018

What do the npc staff do? Forever drafted, back in 2016 was ready and takes 6 more years to finish? Is there anyone that reviews the performance of npc staff? Do they not have deadlines, resources to get the plan done in quicker fashion? How long has the staff been working there?are they new to this? Are there skills issues? Someone should review these Inuit organizations staff and decide if anyone else might be doing better at getting nunavut implemented.

#7. Posted by Kyle on April 12, 2018

Economy, in order to have one does it have actually function or is it still considered an economy with the 2 billion dollars given annually?

#8. Posted by Ours not yours on April 12, 2018

@6
The npc makes sure land use activities conform to regulations given to them by INAC and adopted from the GNWT.
When they come out with a draft land use plan created by Inuit, they’re told that they are wrong and funding is cut. It’s been said that only wwf was happy with the draft land use plan but it was the positions of the wildlife Inuit orgs that had all the weight. I wonder if the hto’s and the rwo’s will be restructured before npc can start up again? Minimize the interference.

#9. Posted by Putuguk on April 13, 2018

Planner - although you may have a high regard for your profession, the reality is plenty of land use decisions can and have been made without you. 

In the past 2 decades in the absence of a made in Nunavut Land Use Plan (the 2 we have originated in the GNWT days), we have had national parks established, wildlife sanctuaries created, mines built and operated, transportation corridors proposed and designed. 

That these conservation and development choices have been made without the NPC could mean a few things.

Perhaps Land Use Planning in Nunavut is irrelevant given how few land owners we have, big the territory is, how little development is happening, and how few real conflicts exist.

Or perhaps planners themselves are allowing themselves to become irrelevant by repeatedly delaying their process thereby bringing their craft into disrepute.

#10. Posted by gov whistle blower on April 13, 2018

Y’all sound like passengers on a jet plane telling a captain how to fly, child telling a mechanic how to fixr engine. Observing, knowing & working alongside PC staff, they’re more than qualified/experienced. What you’re witnessing is both gov, nti & 2 Inuit assoc. (Kitikmeot and Qikiqtani)trying to influence, dictate to the PC their planning process. PC is designed to do work outside of gov. meddling. NTI, 2 of 3 Inuit assoc. and governments aren’t providing any land use plan type submissions or guidance, but only full blown pressure to ensure the land plan adheres to what industry wants. Boohoo on you Quassa, Anablak, Akeeagook &  Aluki. Did you not hear Joe Savikatuk promote industry to benefit the few. Shame shame. Public open your eyes. The system is now ganging up on Kivaliq Inuit for protecting the Inuit tradition.  President of KIA and board in kivalik-hats off to you and qujannamiik.

#11. Posted by Ghost of NTI’s past on April 13, 2018

No NTI on this panel? NTI is so far in bed with government of Canada they don’t know what they want.  Brian knows this. I think he is dying to rip them apart. I would not want to be in a public panel discussion as a NTI representative with Brian on it. 

I envy the Rankin Inlet and Cambridge bay residents when the hearings start.  Listen to this guy drill them will be quite entertaining. With his local support everywhere he goes, you wouldn’t pay me enough to be on the other side because he knows how to play them.  I may just fly over Rankin and see how NTI responds.  He will tear Qitikmeot Inuit apart with there stance in Caribou.

#12. Posted by arcticmiutta on April 14, 2018

#11 i think you are right. We listened to him in Kugluktuk answer questions from Aluki, James Eetoolook and Tagak Curley. On March at the NTI meeting. He played with them with no fear. The hearings the tables will turn.I want to listen to them when he asks the questions.

Look at this from claims Article 11. These principles shall guide the development of planning policies priorities and objectives. b-special attention shall be devoted to protecting and promoting the existing and future well being of Inuit and Inuit owned lands. NPC is on the right track have them do their work and stop controlling them. It does not say government and mining companies and NTI will guide them. Leave them alone.  NTI and Nunavut government are saying plan is wrong because it protects too much Inuit traditions.

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