Nunavik expects no problems with Y2K


IQALUIT — In Nunavik, local and regional authorities in Nunavik aren’t anticipating any problems related to the Y2K bug.

“We’re much, much better prepared, regionally and locally, than last year,” said Luc Harvey, the Kativik Regional Government’s coordinator of emergency measures in Nunavik’s 14 communities.

To allay any Y2K worries, the KRG has checked out all its water treatment facilities to make sure they’ll continue to operate. Hydro-Quebec tested its manual override systems in power plants throughout Nunavik. As well, mayors, health workers, Rangers and police in Nunavik will be on stand-by Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

But no one is forseeing any major problems.

“The only problem could involve communications,” Harvey said. “If there was a problem and, for example, a community had a medical emergency, without communications, we would have difficulty organizing a medical evacuation. But we’ll have an alternate communications system in place.”

Harvey said all municipalities are now equipped with satellite phones, and, if necessary, Nunavik’s Rangers will also establish a radio network.

Last New Year’s Eve, Nunavik’s municipal officials had to respond to the disastrous avalanche in Kangiqsualujjuaq with no emergency plan for guidance.

This year, due to the lack of heavy snowfalls, the risk of such another avalanche in Kangiqsualujjuaq is thought to be minimal. The risk to human life and property has been reduced in the community because all but two abandoned dwellings have been removed from the base of the avalanche-prone mountain.

“There’s no reason for anyone to go there, so people stay away,” said Kangiqsualujjuaq’s town manager, Fred Stewart.

Plans for ushering in the millennium in Kangiqsualujjuaq will be low-key, with no fireworks and very likely no major celebration due to the lack of a large meeting space.

The Kativik Regional Government is asking the public to first contact local municipal authorities in case of problems, or notify the regional coordination centre via its MSAT telephone number 1-600 701-4527.

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