City wants a solution to growing waste disposal problems

Council to raise the issue at upcoming NAM conference



In preparation for the upcoming Nunavut Association of Municipalities annual general meeting, Iqaluit city council has outlined three resolutions it will bring to the table April 26 to 29 in Cambridge Bay.

Waste disposal will be the focus of two resolutions, and a third request addresses the continuation of funding for municipal infrastructure.

Council will be asking for NAM’s support in lobbying for the clean-up of abandoned federal waste sites. Many are contaminated and continue to pollute the Arctic environment. And because of the high standards imposed by the federal government on municipalities with respect to hazardous waste management, solid waste disposal and sewage treatment, council said the feds should live up to their own expectations and clean up the mess.

The city will request that NAM lobby the federal government to act immediately in cleaning up and closing abandoned sites throughout Nunavut, as well as those for which responsibility is shared between the federal government and municipalities.

“The operation of the Distant Early Warning system brought thousands of personnel into the Arctic and with them came structural materials, vehicles, mechanical systems, oil and fuel,” the resolution states.

“Very little, if any of these items were removed from Nunavut. In fact, the majority can still be seen today; littering the landscape and polluting the environment.”

Further to the issue of waste disposal, council also resolved to push NAM to lobby the federal government to create, finance, manage and implement a national electronic waste-management program.

Council agreed that there is an increasing amount of electronic waste being disposed in landfills in Nunavut, and few opportunities for recycling or re-furbishing electronic equipment due to a lack of skilled labour and the high cost of transportation.

Given that Nunavut has one of the highest ratios of people to computers, council feels it’s an issue that needs to be addressed by the federal government in cooperation with industry representatives and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

A final resolution will request that NAM join forces with the GN in lobbying the federal government for its assurance of a continued flow of capital funds for municipal infrastructure projects.

The GN funds most of Iqaluit’s capital expenditures from its accumulated surplus. The GN’s accumulated surplus, however, is dwindling drastically year to year. It dropped from $96.2 million in 2001-02 to $14.2 million in 2002-03, and is expected to drop to $2.7 million by 2003-04.

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