Taloyoak school remains closed 5 weeks after fuel spill
Netsilik MLA questions minister of community and government services in legislative assembly
The Government of Nunavut continues to deal with a fuel spill that has closed Taloyoak’s Netsilik School, with no timeline on when students and staff will be able to return.
In the meantime, students have been learning at the community hall, the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. office, and a preschool for more than a month, Netsilik MLA Joseph Quqqiaq said.
“Our students are anxious to get back into school,” Quqqiaq said Monday while questioning Community and Government Services Minister David Joanasie at the legislative assembly.
The Department of Community and Government Services was notified of a fuel spill at the school on Feb. 7.
Joanasie said in an interview he isn’t sure exactly how the spill happened, but it occurred in the boiler room while fuel was being mechanically transferred between the exterior fuel tank and interior day tank.
The fuel spread beneath the building as well.
Contractors have been cleaning the site over the past month, using materials to absorb the fuel and fans to remove the smell.
Joanasie said it has taken a long time for students and staff to return because the Education Department asked that more work be done on the building, such as air quality testing from which CGS is currently waiting for results.
“We’re waiting on those results until we can definitely say this is fit to be reopened,” Joanasie said.
Quqqiaq said in an interview that although the students have found other accommodations, the school closure is affecting other areas of the community.
For example, the preschool isn’t operating because students from Netsilik School are using the space, Quqqiaq said, adding that community programs have also been put on hold for the time being.
Joanasie offered no timeline for when students will be able to return. He said the two departments are working on an action plan for how and when students can go back to Netsilik School.
“Our department responds as efficiently and effectively as possible given the resources and the manpower that we do have available,” Joanasie said.