Nunavut port-road project needs full environmental assessment: NIRB – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – November 2, 2017)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—Western Nunavut’s Grays Bay road and port—a project which received robust support from the previous Nunavut government and Kitikmeot Inuit—will undergo a full environmental review, the Nunavut Impact Review Board said Oct. 31, in a screening decision.

“The board has indicated to the responsible minister(s) that the proposed project should undergo further assessment best facilitated through a full environmental review,” the NIRB said.

The NIRB’s screeing decision contained stern words about the project, which it says has “the potential to cause significant adverse effects on the ecosystem and may be a cause of significant public concern.” The NIRB cited many reasons for doing a full review, including the importance of allowing members of the public to provide comment.

The 89-page screening decision looked at the proposed $500-million project—160 kilometres east of Kugluktuk and 290 km southwest of Cambridge Bay—which will include a road, port, camps, airstrip, deepwater port, a small craft harbour, a wharf and more.

Chief among the impacts that the review will look at is “the potential for this project to contribute to cumulative impacts on caribou populations.”

The proposed project would take place in habitat considered critical for the health of caribou, “specifically the Bathurst herd.”

So the NIRB said it will be important “to demonstrate to the affected communities and the public generally that project components have been adequately evaluated and appropriately mitigated.”

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