CamBay mayor wants fuel moved
GN says barrels will be relocated
Cambridge Bay – Cambridge Bay’s mayor says more than 30 barrels of fuel are too close for comfort to the community’s daycare center and some residences.
What’s worse, Keith Peterson says, is how long it took the Nunavut government to make a decision to relocate the barrels to a safer area.
As of Nunatsiaq News’ press time, the barrels were still in the town, but the Nunavut government had just announced it would move the fuel as soon as possible.
“To me it’s just a dangerous situation waiting for something to happen,” the mayor said in a telephone interview.
The GN’s Department of Sustainable Development owns the fuel and is storing it in barrels behind one of its buildings. Government employees use the fuel when they go out on the land to conduct polar bear research and other projects.
The problem, Peterson said, is the barrels sit just 30 feet away from two rows of apartments and 50 feet from a daycare center.
Peterson said he’s concerned for the safety of people in the area.
“The labels on the side of the barrels, in big red letters, say ‘flammable,'” Peterson said.
“There’s a lot of potential for disaster there. We’re just trying to be preventative and get it out of there now.”
But moving the fuel hasn’t proved easy.
Since August the mayor has been pressuring the Nunavut government to move the barrels. On Aug. 11 Peterson e-mailed the Sustainable Development department and described the urgency of the matter.
“It is disturbing to think that the government has ignored the potential dangers to the residential buildings (and tenants),” he wrote in the e-mail.
Two months later, the mayor will finally see some results.
The Department of Sustainable Development is moving the barrels to the DEW line site outside Cambridge Bay.
But the situation was choking in red tape for a while.
In order to move the fuel to the DEW line, the GN first needed approval from the federal government, who owns the site.
Peterson said the whole thing was taking too long.
On Oct. 3 the GN finally got the okay to store the fuel at the DEW line site.
Steven Hannah, director of Sustainable Development for the Kitikmeot region, said the barrels will be placed on a flat concrete pad in a secure area at the site.
Hannah said his department recognizes the mayor’s concerns about safety.
“I respect the mayor’s opinion on this. I think we should be using our diligence to find a better place for them. And we’re working at that,” he said.
Hannah said once the final details are worked out, the barrels will be relocated immediately.