'We're seeing the benefits of the Katimajiit conference.'

Nunavik chops gasoline price again


KUUJJUAQ – The price of gasoline will drop another 16 cents a litre for Nunavimmiut on Dec. 1.

This is the second decrease in gas prices for Nunavik in less than two months. It brings the per-litre cost in Kuujjuaq, Quaqtaq and Kangiqsualujjuaq to $1.37, which is lower than it's been for several years.

In the 11 Nunavik communities that receive their fuel from the Fédération des cooperatives du Nouveau-Québec the price of gas will be even lower.

The Dec. 1 cut is thanks to a three-year $12.1 million deal with Quebec to reduce the transportation costs paid by Nunavimmiut by lowering the price of air transportation for people and goods.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Kativik Regional Government will give Nunavik's gasoline distributors – Kuvviti Fuel, Emudluk Fuels, Northern Stores, Halutik Enterprises and the FCNQ – 16 cents for every litre of gas they sell, in addition to the 16 cents taken off earlier this autumn.

Gas prices also dropped by 16 cents in October, to $1.53 from $1.69 in Kuujjuaq, due to an earlier deal that gave $500,000 to the Kativik Regional Government.

At August's Katimajiit meeting on social and economic development in Nunavik, Quebec promised the additional $12. 1 million.

"We're seeing the benefits of the Katimajiit conference," said Pita Aatami, president of Makivik Corp. "It's benefiting everyone."

Although the KRG administers the funds, Aatami said Makivik continues to be involved on how to spend the balance of the money from Quebec.

A list of proposed measures from the two organizations' executives went to the Kativik regional council on Tuesday.

The councillors approved the gas price reduction saying it would "really really help Inuit." The councillors also agreed to renew and improve the region's airfare reduction program.

This program, which was set to expire on Nov. 30, provides rebates of 30 per cent on the cost of airline tickets up to $1,050 a year and 40 per cent on airline tickets bought for medical or compassionate travel. These rebates can be used at the same time as the airline's annual discounts for beneficiaries, although they are also available to non-Inuit who live in Nunavik.

The councillors also suggested some special measures should be put in place before Christmas to help elders with the high cost of transportation.

Future measures paid for by the $12.1 million will make healthy food, personal care and household products more affordable.

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