Nunavut community’s roads to remain unpaved

Baker Lake MLA questions minister about dusty roads

Baker Lake MLA Craig Simailak, pictured here, asked in the legislature on Monday, Oct. 26, whether Community and Government Services had calculated the cost of paving roads in Nunavut communities, including his own, that suffer from seasonal dust. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Patricia Lightfoot

Dusty roads may not be the biggest problem Nunavummiut are currently facing, but Baker Lake MLA Craig Simailak raised the perennial issue in the Nunavut legislature on Monday, Oct. 26.

Simailak told the house that in addition to “billions and billions of mosquitos,” the summer brings a lot of dust to Baker Lake, which has no paved roads. This means that people can’t keep their windows open for very long, as the dust blows into their homes and workplaces.

“This issue can be quite troublesome, especially for those that may have asthma or other breathing-related issues and are unable to keep their windows open.”

Simailak reminded Community and Government Services Minister Lorne Kusugak that 12 years ago, the Government of Nunavut provided $12 million in funding to pave Iqaluit’s roads.

“At that time the government announced that the project would improve health conditions in the community by reducing dust.”

Simailak asked the minister whether his department had calculated the cost of paving roads in other Nunavut communities that suffer from seasonal dust, including Baker Lake.

Kusugak responded, “I don’t think we need to do a study to find out that with the funding we do have and the monies we do have available, how overly expensive it would be to run pavement into the communities.”

He reminded Simailak how much work it is to pave streets.

“You need to prepare them and make sure that they’re draining properly. You need different grades of gravel and so on and so forth, and then the maintenance of those themselves.”

Kusugak concluded, “I believe what we are using right now, this dust suppressant, may not be adequate, but it is the best we have right now and we don’t have any plans at this time to do a study to see if we should be putting asphalt or pavement on the roads at this time.”

Baffinland, Pond Inlet to conduct dust-suppressant test

Simailak had questioned Kusugak about one of the various dust-suppression pilot projects his department has undertaken.

“Earlier this year the Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. announced that it was working with the Municipality of Pond Inlet, Cypher Environmental, and Nunavut Sealink and Supply to conduct an environmentally friendly dust suppression project in the community.

“Can the minister clarify the extent to which his department has been involved in this project to determine whether the technology would benefit other communities?”

Kusugak acknowledged that every municipality in Nunavut has dust-control issues, and that his department has “undertaken to study many different types of dust suppressants across the Nunavut territory.”

He went on to say that the dust suppressant that will be tried out in Pond Inlet and at the iron mine is one that had been tested already by CGS in several communities and found to be more time-consuming to apply than other products that have been tried.

“The Dustop is one dust suppressant that was tried in the communities of Rankin Inlet, Arviat, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, and Pangnirtung. The laying down of this suppressant in order for it to work is actually time-consuming and takes a bit more work than other suppressants that we have worked with the municipalities on.

“To that extent, the communities of Rankin Inlet and Arviat have chosen not to use this suppressant anymore and have gone back to the calcium chloride treatment that is a lot more user-friendly and works just as good, if not better than this one that they are finally testing in Pond Inlet.”

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by aputi on

    just ask the mine that’s making millions off your land near Baker

  2. Posted by Pondinleter on

    I heard about this happening in Pond, when will it happen? Wasn’t it supposed to be this year?

  3. Posted by Inuit on

    Whatever happen to the study on nunavut dust control that was announced by then Minister of Transportation Monica Ell few years back .consultants were awarded millions of dollars to conduct the study but to-date we have yet to hear the end results..

  4. Posted by Something’s in the water on

    While it’s true Baker lake could benefit greater from Agnico’s activities, you’re going to have to persuade them to do so. This is best done fom a municipal level.
    Remember s#!t runs down hill. Not all Nunavut communities are the same.
    Baker lake lives on top of their drinking water supply. Anything you put on the roads in July is in the lake by August.
    Start with proper road grades and ditches and the rest will come.

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