Nunavik gets federal funds to help expand its protected areas
With $1.25 million, plan for 20 per cent protection of land moves forward
The federal government is throwing its support behind a plan to protect 20 per cent of Nunavik’s lands and waters from development.
On Monday, Nov. 25, the Kativik Regional Government council approved an agreement with the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change that would see $1.25 million from the Canada Nature Fund being spent on community consultations to expand the region’s protected area network.
Officials from Nunavik and Quebec have been working on this expansion for more than a decade. It would result in 20.97 per cent of Nunavik’s lands and waters being protected from development, with the creation of nine new protected areas in places where the province has agreed to temporarily suspend granting mining claims.
Previously protected areas consist of Nunavik’s four established parks, while the nine new areas will be biodiversity and aquatic reserves.
Community consultations are currently being planned, with the goal of visiting every Northern Village by 2021, Marianne Ricard, a KRG park planner told regional councillors on Nov. 25.
“The objective of the consultation is to present the current protected area network, present nine new proposed areas,” said Ricard. And they’ll discuss the proposed final boundaries, in particular, with the communities closest by.
The federal funding runs from 2019 to 2023. In addition to the community consultations, Ricard said there would also be funding for community members to visit the nearby proposed protected areas.
This work will be undertaken by the Protected Areas Working Group, which includes the KRG, several provincial ministries and the Société du Plan Nord. An advisory committee made up of the KRG, Makivik Corp., the Naskapi Nation, the Cree Nation and the provincial Ministry of Environment will review its work and offer recommendations.
Consultation on the Nunavik Protected Areas Network has been ongoing since 2009 among the KRG, Makivik Corp. and the Government of Quebec.
“All of the proposals gathered between 2011 and 2013, those priorities were given to the government, and the working group, and they were all analyzed and prioritized,” said Ricard.
“That’s what we see on the map but that doesn’t mean the others won’t be considered.”