Inuit Association opposes heritage river designation for Back River

On February 21, 2013 the Kivalliq Inuit Association wrote to the Government of Nunavut, indicating that it does not support the nomination of the Back River for Canadian Heritage River status. The letter stated that the KIA opposes the heritage river designation because the KIA owns surface and subsurface rights to some parcels of land in the area that hold significant economic potential.

The KIA’s letter can be accessed here.

Moses Aupaluktuq, MLA for Baker Lake, raised the issue in Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly on March 18, 2013. 

 

Bill 49 – Appropriation (Operations & Maintenance) Act, 2013-2014 – Environment 
– Consideration in Committee
 
Mr. Aupaluktuq: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. On page 133 of the business plan, the 
priorities for 2013-14, second bullet, correction, third bullet indicates complete 
negotiations for an umbrella Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Canadian Heritage 
Rivers in Nunavut. Followed by the fourth bullet with the support of residents of 
Kugaaruk and Baker Lake, which would include Gjoa Haven, to develop formal 
nomination development for Back River and present to the Canadian Heritage Rivers 
board for consideration.
 
Can the minister update the Committee of the current status of the nomination of Back 
River as a Canadian Heritage River? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Aupaluktuq. Minister Arreak.
 
Hon. James Arreak (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Pinksen can 
respond to his question. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you. Mr. Pinksen.
 
Mr. Pinksen: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The discussions are ongoing, but fairly recently 
the Kivalliq Inuit Association raised a number of concerns with the nomination of Back 
River. We have met with them just last month to discuss those concerns and those 
discussions are ongoing.
 
The concerns related to possible impacts of a Heritage River nomination on development, 
so we met with them just last month and those discussions are ongoing. We are still 
pursuing the designation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Pinksen. Mr. Aupaluktuq.
 
Mr. Aupaluktuq: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the fact that the department 
does acknowledge that there was a letter submitted from the Kivalliq Inuit Association 
stating that they do not support the nomination of Back River, “that it has significant 
economic potential.”
 
There is some confusion from constituents as well as the process on, as well, from 
myself, that the priorities and as well as an opening comment prior that the environmental 
concerns is for the benefit and the protection of Inuit in Nunavut under their land claim 
agreement.
 
It appears to be that the regional Inuit organization opposes this, based on the benefits of 
significant economic potential. In noting that the letter was received and the department 
has indicated that they are still ongoing with the nomination of Back River, I am glad that 
that was documented for the record.
 
I want to ask; has the department received any other such letter from any other Inuit 
representatives on the nomination? Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
 
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Aupaluktuq. Minister Arreak.
 
Hon. James Arreak (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. To date, we have not 
received any further correspondence aside from the Kivalliq Inuit Association. They are 
the only ones we have received correspondence from on this matter. Thank you, Mr. 
Chairman.
 
Chairman (interpretation): Thank you, Minister Arreak. Mr. Aupaluktuq.
 
Mr. Aupaluktuq (interpretation): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I definitely will be 
consulting with my Baker Lake constituents in the hopes of resolving this issue and help 
them gain a full understanding. We will need to learn all the facts involved to come up 
with a solution, and to determine whether there will be sufficient support for the 
nominations.
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About makitanunavut

Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit (Makita) is a Nunavut-based non-governmental organization. Made up of members from Baker Lake and Iqaluit, Makita is dedicated to fostering a critical public discussion about uranium mining in Nunavut.
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