Sanikiluaq gets GN help after one year
After more than a year of waiting, the Government of Nunavut has finally announced how it will help Sanikiluaq prepare for the environmental impact of future hydroelectric projects on rivers flowing into Hudson and James Bay.
Sanikiluaq asked for the GN’s help last March, after the James Bay Cree signed multi-billion-dollar agreements with Quebec and its power company, Hydro-Québec.
The deal cleared all legal obstacles to hydroelectric developments on the Rupert River, which empties into James Bay, several hundred kilometres south of Sanikiluaq.
After that, the Inuit of Nunavik signed their own billion-dollar deal, with provisions for similar developments along the Hudson and Ungava Bay coasts, and provisions for plugging Nunavik into Hydro-Québec’s power grid.
In the early 1990s, Sanikiluaq opposed the damming of Great Whale River for a massive hydro-electric project because of concerns over the negative effect on water currents, ice and marine life around the Belcher Islands. The flooding of forests and land for hydro-electric projects is also known to release mercury into the environment.
Under a memorandum of understanding, the GN and the municipality of Sanikiluaq will prepare annual work plans and a budget to ensure the community’s voice is heard. They’ve already given the community $55,000 to help pay for the work.
The Qikiqtani Inuit Association and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. are also helping the Inuit of Sanikiluaq prepare for the impact of new hydroelectric developments.