Nunavut RCMP clear residents, pets from Iqaluit lockdown area
“Police will help them as best they can”
(Updated at 9:07 a.m.)
The City of Iqaluit helped accommodate 20 residents who couldn’t return to their homes Wednesday night, April 29, due to the ongoing armed standoff and lockdown at the Happy Valley neighbourhood.
Red Cross workers and the city’s recreation department put the residents up at the Makkuttukkuvik Youth Centre inside the Arctic Winter Games facility at the end of day two of the standoff, which began late in the afternoon April 28.
More than 50 houses and residential buildings are within a lock-down perimeter set up by RCMP just before 4:00 p.m. that day.
RCMP evacuated most residents of those homes by the end of day two of the lockdown April 29, deputy mayor Romeyn Stevenson told Nunatsiaq News.
“They evacuated as many as they could, safely,” Stevenson said at city hall April 29.
A woman who needed medical attention and residents of the adult group home, near the house where the standoff is underway, were among those evacuated, police have told Nunatsiaq News.
Many pets, which had been left inside houses within the security perimeter, have also been rescued by members of the RCMP, Const. Malcolm McNeil said.
City officials and the RCMP are advising residents still inside the lockdown area “to remain calm,” Iqaluit’s deputy mayor said.
“Exercise caution and patience, and follow the instructions of the RCMP because that’s the best way to remain safe. If they’re in need of something that people don’t know of, they can call the police, and police will help them as best they can,” Stevenson said.
The city’s municipal enforcement officers continued to help maintain the cordoned-off area through the evening of April 29 to 30, and an ambulance stood ready in case of an emergency.
City staff within the emergency services department and recreation department, along other municipal employees, “are working as hard as they can to make sure things go as smoothly as possible while this difficult time is happening,” Stevenson said.
“The RCMP is liaising with the city to make sure things go smoothly,” he said. “They made requests from us right from the get-go and we’ve been accommodating them as best we can.”
Police inside the lock-down area are keeping watch on “a distraught male in a residence with a firearm,” RCMP stated in an April 29 news release.
Municipal trucked water and sewage services to the area have been on hold since the incident started, Stevenson said.
The city pumps sewage out of defective sewage lines in the area about three times a day, with a sewage truck. The city hasn’t serviced the line since the morning of April 29, Stevenson said.
For that reason, the city is hoping the police lockdown “will be resolved very quickly,” he said. “We have trucks on the ready for when it is resolved.”
“I think the good news is that the police did help evacuate a fair amount of people today [April 29], from some cordoned-off areas. Less people in the area means less people needing services that are on hold,” the deputy mayor said.
Stevenson couldn’t say how many residents the RCMP had evacuated. Some residents remained inside the lock-down area for reasons of safety on April 29.
“They’re working at evacuating everybody as they go,” he said.
with files from Jane George