‘Everyone is affected’: Ullivik offers support after 2 highway deaths

Nunavik health board to ‘explore’ improving pedestrian safety messaging at lodging facility

Road incidents involving Ullivik residents are “uncommon,” a Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services spokesperson says. (File photo)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

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.”


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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by be safe on

    Bless the individuals involved and the staff. Please keep safe. In Ottawa, there have been incidences of Inuit staying at the medical boarding home jaywalking on the busy Carling road. Many come from small towns who do not know about southern city ways and laws of the road. Vehicles move quickly and can be dangerous. The medical boarding staff need to remind northerners about road, traffic, pedestrian safety for themselves and motorists.

    • Posted by anonymous on

      People need to use a little common sense as well. If there are vehicle coming down the road, don’t cross. People from the North are not stupid. If you get hit by a car in Ottawa it hurts just as much as a car or snowmobile in the North.

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