‘Everyone is affected’: Ullivik offers support after 2 highway deaths
Nunavik health board to ‘explore’ improving pedestrian safety messaging at lodging facility
Ullivik lodging facility in Montreal is offering on-site support to staff and residents after two medical patients from Nunavik died on nearby highways late last week, according to Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services.
In separate incidents, two women in their 20s were hit by vehicles on highways near the Dorval facility that accommodates Nunavik patients who travel south for care, said Sgt. Stéphane Tremblay, a spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec.
In the first incident, 22-year-old Mary-Jane Tulugak of Puvirnituq was struck by a vehicle on Hwy. 520 Friday at about 4:15 a.m. She was in a wheelchair when she was hit. She was taken to hospital with injuries, where she later died.
Police say less than 24 hours later, 26-year-old Nellie Niviaxie from Umiujaq was struck by multiple vehicles around 1:20 a.m. Saturday on Hwy. 20. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police are investigating the incidents, which both occurred on large highways where vehicles travel at high speed.
Tremblay said charges are not expected to be laid in either case.
Kathleen Poulin, a spokesperson for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, said road-related incidents involving Ullivik residents are rare; there have been six since the facility opened in 2016.
Still, last week’s events are being felt in the community, she said.
“Everyone is affected. Family members, of course, as well as community members and staff members,” Poulin wrote in an email.
“There is psychological support offered to everyone who needs it.”
Ullivik residents are not confined to the building, she said. If their health allows it, residents are free to go shopping, step outside to smoke, visit friends and family in the Montreal area and go to a restaurant.
With the transportation service Ullivik provides plus nearby sidewalks and pathways, Poulin said there’s “no need to cross the highway,” which is only steps away from Ullivik.
She said Ullivik provides road safety messages, despite incidents such as last week’s being “uncommon.”
“We don’t know why these two people were on the road,” Poulin said.
“We will explore ways to reinforce the clients’ safety when being pedestrian on the roads nearby.”