Empty shelves in Clyde River’s Northern store
Hamlet learns to live without certain items, chief administrative officer Jerry Natanine says
People in Clyde River have been learning to live without everyday household items and foods as a rough winter has left shelves bare in the hamlet’s only grocery store.
Hamlet chief administrative officer Jerry Natanine says people haven’t had consistent access to ground beef, pork chops, some fresh produce, frozen foods and even diapers.
That’s been the case for the last few months.
“We just have to learn to live with what’s not there,” Natanine said in an interview.
“It’s quite daunting, the fact that, when you go to the store, you cannot find any meat, you cannot find what you expect to find, like fruits or anything like that.”
Clyde River declared a local state of emergency on Feb. 10 after more than a month of blizzards left roads and houses blocked with snow.
Hamlet staff had trouble delivering water to residents, and sewage tanks were left to freeze over. On top of that, snow-clearing vehicles had broken down because they were being filled with the wrong type of fuel.
The state of emergency ended a week later, but blizzards continued to hit the community.
Hunters and trappers are still going out to get country food, such as Arctic char and seal. What’s caught is either given away for free or sold.
But Natanine said, “It’s not enough to feed the whole town.”
Community members will sometimes blame the Northern store, accusing it of holding back new products so that less-popular items will sell first, Natanine said, pointing out the hamlet’s mail and cargo has been experiencing delays as well.
North West Company sales director Darrin Maidment said the store doesn’t hold items to sell out its stock on the floor.
He said the Clyde River store received two produce and cooler orders on Monday and had a large delivery on Tuesday. The rest of the product is in Iqaluit and will be flown out soon, he said.
Before that, he said, the last shipment the store received was around March 1.
“This is not a normal situation for Northern and our store team is working hard to get the shelves restocked,” Maidment said.
“We thank Clyde River customers for their patience.”