We need time, money, Iqaluit tells NWB
Officials with the Town of Iqaluit say they can’t meet the requirements of their new water licence — unless they get more money and more time.
IQALUIT — Officials at the Town of Iqaluit say they need more money, more time, and more information to meet conditions that the Nunavut Water Board has imposed upon them in a recent one-year water licence.
In a letter sent to the Nunavut Water Board last week, the Town of Iqaluit asks for “clarification” of a number of conditions that the water board imposed when it granted a short one-year water licence to the municipality late last year.
The Town also asks for some of the water board’s deadlines to be changed, and for federal or territorial hand-out money to help the municipality pay the costs of carrying out the water board’s requirements, which include an air quality study, and inspections of the Lake Geraldine reservoir and Iqaluit’s new sewage lagoon.
Copies of the letter have been sent to a variety of federal and territorial officials, including Indian Affairs Minister Bob Nault, Community Government Minister Jack Anawak, and Iqaluit’s three MLAs.
“We’re not trying to be antagonistic here. We’re trying to say, ‘how can we realistically meet these targets?’ ” the municipality’s acting senior administrative officer, Paul Fraser, said last week. “Let’s sit down and talk about the issue.”
No plans in budget
The municipality’s licence, issued last December, comes with a long list of requirements, including environmental studies and the completion of a new plan to deal with the town’s garbage.
“We had no opportunity to plan in the 2000 budget those expenditures. It’s a pretty expensive tab,” Fraser said.
In a letter to the water board written above Iqaluit Mayor Jimmy Kilabuk’s signature, the Town of Iqaluit stops short of saying the municipality can’t comply with the water licence.
But the letter clearly states that the Town alone can’t afford many of the terms and conditions imposed by the board.
“It is imperative that the members of the board realize the impact of the Iqaluit water licence on the resources of the municipality. A one-year licence makes it very difficult to meet so many stringent requirements,” says Kilabuk’s letter.
“The costs involved in completing studies, as demanded by the NWB, and the timelines attached to them, are a recurring problem with this water licence.”
Air quality study
The most contentious requirement is an environmental study to determine the link between the open burning of garbage at Iqaluit’s dump and the quality of the town’s water supply.
The Town estimates that the air quality study could cost $100,000, and that a requirement to complete the study by next fall “shows a complete lack of understanding of the complexities involved in doing this kind of research.”
The Town says other agencies should be responsible for the air quality research.
The Town’s other letter also says an inspection of the Lake Geraldine Reservoir Dam by July 31, 2000 could cost $50,000.
As well, they say an assessment of the Lake Geraldine watershed could cost $20,000 to perform, and that an inspection of the sewage lagoon dykes would cost another $20,000.
The Town can’t pay for the upgrades without help from the territorial or federal governments, Fraser said.
“I think it would be a little cavalier to say ‘the Town of Iqaluit, that’s your problem,'” Fraser said. “There’s other players in this game than us.”
The municipality so far has missed one deadline — Feb. 15 — to direct all piped and trucked sewage to the new sewage treatment plant. According to the letter, the new plant is not yet complete and cannot perform that function.
The letter questions the deadlines imposed by the board, including one for an inspection of the Lake Geraldine Reservoir Dam, due July 31.
“If this condition is to be kept as part of the licence, we request that the deadline be removed and funding be identified by the water board,” the letter states.
The Aug. 31 deadline for a hydrological assessment on the Lake Geraldine watershed must also be addressed, the municipality says.
As of Nunatsiaq News press time, the Nunavut water board had not responded to the Town’s letter.