Overhauled Nunavut park service to add 20 jobs

Plans are underway to create a Nunavut Parks Unit, responsible for managing three new national parks.



Summer’s here and the Auyuittuq National Park Reserve near Pangnirtung is in full operation.

Boasting a pristine landscape of mountain peaks and tundra valley, Auyuittuq Park is a favorite destination for a growing number of hikers, mountain climbers, eco-tourists and naturalists.

So much so that the number of park wardens and technicians needed to ensure the safety of hundreds of tourists who flock here each year, is about to be increased.

Peter Lamb, acting parks superintendent for the Nunavut region, said the re-organization of Parks Canada services in Nunavut is going to result in the addition of several new jobs, based in Pangnirtung.

“Right now they have 12 to 14 positions in Auyuittuq. When the organization is completed there will be approximently 20 new positions.” Lamb said.

Last year, about 420 people registered to visit the park, including tourists from France, the United States, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Parks Canada services are to be reorganized under a Nunavut Field Unit, which will be responsible for overseeing operations at all three national parks ­ Auyuittuq, Ellesmere and North Baffin ­ plus designated historic sites in the new territory.

When the reorganiztion’s complete, Auyuittuq will have a chief park warden and several “patrolmen” in addition to various support staff.

It wouldn’t hurt for new park employees to pick up a third language, either.

One of the biggest challenges that park wardens face currently is the language barrier, according to Amie Nashalik, a park warden in his 10th season.

“Foreigners who aren’t fluent in English have a hard time sometimes understanding the rules and regulations of the park,” Nashalik said.

As a park warden, Nashalik also looks after the network of 13 shelters along the trails through the park, making sure they are equipped with radios and emergency food supplies.

“One of the perks for the job is being outdoors and I like what I do,” said Nashalik.

A formal deal on training and employment opportunities between Inuit and the federal government still has to be reached before the parks receive official status.

Last spring, negotiations between Ottawa and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association were suspended, because negotiators couldn’t agree on details of an Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement. The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement says that the impact and benefits agreement must give Inuit a stake in the development of parks in Nunavut.

Lamb said he hopes the IIBA talks will be concluded by the end of the year.

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