January 24, 2011
1. About Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit
Nunavummiut Makitagunarningit (‘Makita’) is an independent, non-governmental organization with members in Iqaluit and Baker Lake.
We are aware that as one of the few ‘civil society’ groups in Nunavut, we are sometimes viewed as being negative and adversarial. But we view what we do in positive terms.
We are in favour of a clean environment, in favour of future generations being able to enjoy healthy wildlife, and therefore in favour of energetic citizen participation in the review of proposed developments. We are not anti-mining per se, but we have concluded that opening Nunavut to uranium mining is not in the best interest of Nunavummiut.
The participation of intervening organizations like Makita is an essential feature of environmental assessment in Canada. Bodies like the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) assume that there will be tough questions.
The role of intervenors is to ensure informed decision making. We’re an important part of the process, and we hope that our comments are understood in that light.
These are our preliminary comments on NIRB’s approach to issuing EIS Guidelines for the proposed Kiggavik project. More detailed comments will follow after NIRB releases the Revised EIS Guidelines, and Makita holds community consultations are held using a NIRB document translated into Inuktitut.
2. Lack of essential documents translated into Inuktitut
These comments are not the result of the community workshops we had intended to hold by this point. Proper community consultation is not possible without essential documents being made available in Inuktitut.
Makita raised this matter with NIRB on November 18, 2010, and on November 23rd NIRB stated that it “is currently endeavouring to translate … key provisions of the Draft EIS Guidelines for the Kiggavik Project, and we will make these documents available for information purposes as soon as meaningful translations have been completed.” We have not yet received the “key provisions” in Inuktitut.
(Eight pages + two appendices)