City of Iqaluit to put gravel on dump to mitigate fire risk

Councillors approve $140,000 for contractors to put 12 inches of gravel on section of landfill

Thermal imagery taken by a drone shows crews working on a hot spot at the Iqaluit dump in May. (Photo courtesy of the City of Iqaluit)

By Emma Tranter

The City of Iqaluit says it will put gravel on its dump to help prevent it from catching fire again.

On Tuesday night, city councillors approved $140,000 to contract a company called 5581 Nunavut Ltd. to put 12 inches of gravel on the West 40 landfill site.

The city’s dump caught fire April 6 and was extinguished after 10 hours. Later in the month, the dump was shut down again for over a week after a hotspot suspected to have originated from that fire flared up again and started to smoulder, according to city spokesman Geoff Byrne.

“All inspections completed by the City of Iqaluit, including drone thermography, indicate that there are no remaining hotspots,” he said in an email to Nunatsiaq News.

“The city continues to monitor the landfill site.”

Joe Brown, the city’s superintendent of general operations, said during this week’s council meeting that the gravel will not only help tame further potential flames, but it will also prevent litter from flying around the landfill site, which is also a fire risk.

“The main issue out there is to mitigate whatever fire risk that we have,” he said.

Coun. Kyle Sheppard asked Brown if there was any reason why the city couldn’t handle the work itself.

“Is there any reason we can’t just go out to our own land and haul gravel using our own equipment?” Sheppard asked.

Chief administrative officer Amy Elgersma said the city doesn’t currently have the equipment and licences needed to extract and crush its own gravel, but a review is taking place that could change that.

Elgersma also said an expert who came in to assess this spring’s hot spot recommended that gravel be used to mitigate the risk.

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(6) Comments:

  1. Posted by pissed off on

    what a joke again !!!

    The city does not have a license to quarry !!!
    It probably costs $100.00 for the yearly license and all you have to do is photocopy the one from the previous year and mail it.
    All the contractors have been digging into the pits for years with absolutely no real oversight. Can`t be that hard ????
    And if they do not have the equipment to crush rock they must be able to find some sand somewhere !!!!

  2. Posted by Concern – Transparency on

    Counsellor Shepherd asked why the city couldn’t do the work themselves. He should have asked who 5581 Nunavut is and them asked what the tender process was followed. Are there not local Inuit owned companies in Iqaluit capable of doing the job? Just asking.

    Elgersma said an expert who came to asses recommended. Do we have that in writing?

    Just concerned with transparency here. Remember the water was fine to consume and then it wasn’t..

    • Posted by DudeTown on

      That’s Nunavut Excavating. You’d recognize them. I am surprised that Emma Tranter didn’t take the time to google that.

  3. Posted by Joyce Laprise on

    Sprucing up the town for the Pope’s visit I see…

  4. Posted by Wondering on

    I’m curious to know how many the city has in staff for their road crew? Where can we find this information?
    They have the heavy equipment to use, where are their staff to do the work?
    They should also be trained to pave roads, each year the city could do some paving instead of the ridiculous tendering contracts that’s way too expensive.

  5. Posted by Thomas Shelby on

    I have a question: Will the 12 inches of gravel actually stop the hotspots from popping up? I always thought the decomposition of waste causing heat inside the pile and flammable material together caused those types of fires.

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