Regional gov approves Nunavik fire safety plan
”We should be a step ahead”
KUUJJUAQ – The Kativik Regional Government has officially adopted its long-awaited fire safety cover plan, which will bring fire protection services for the region up to Quebec standards.
The plan calls for nearly $10 million of provincial money for new firefighting and fire prevention training, new equipment and infrastructure, and it’s the first money Nunavik has seen for firefighting in more than 10 years.
KRG chairperson Maggie Emudluk said Nunavik now needs to see the money arrive in order to realize the plan.
To date, Quebec has only approved just over $5 million of the funding earmarked in the cover plan.
“A lot of preparation has gone into this over the last 10 years,” Emudluk said. “I think we should be a step ahead.”
Much of the training spelled out in the plan should start up in the coming months, she added.
The KRG approved the plan at the opening of a four-day meeting of regional councillors that kicked off Feb. 28 in Kuujjuaq.
The resolution to adopt the cover plan was quickly followed by a second motion awarding a contract to Carl Thibault Fire Trucks Inc. to buy five new emergency pumpers.
The $1.3 million purchase means the communities of Kuujjuaraapik, Puvirnituq, Inukjuak, Kangiqsualujjuaq and Salluit will receive new fire trucks this summer.
“We’re very lucky to get four-door, four wheel drive trucks,” said Craig Lingard, the KRG’s civil security coordinator. “It’s long overdue first and this is the first dividend we’re seeing from passing the fire safety cover plan.”
Lingard said his department plans to undertake a major overhaul of the all the region’s fire trucks over the next four years.
Next, the KRG will move to approve a tender for the construction of three new fire stations in Puvirnituq, Inukjuak and Kangiqsujuaq and repair Quaqtaq’s fire station.
Reacting to the deaths of two Nunavimmiut in fires over the past holiday season, Puvirnituq councillor Muncy Novalinga called on civil security to conduct more official investigation of major blazes, in collaboration with provincial bodies, such as the Sûreté du Québec provincial police force.