Cape Dorset, Nunavut, residents debate new power plant at public meeting

The president of Qulliq Energy Corporation, Peter Tumilty, and his staff met with members of council and about 50 residents in Cape Dorset Thursday to address concerns over the location of the new power plant. But according to South Baffin MLA David Joanasie, most residents aren't convinced.

Residents say they're tired of inhaling diesel fumes from existing plant

The old power plant, located in the downtown core, was built in the 1970s and is operating at capacity. (CBC)

The president of Qulliq Energy Corporation, Peter Tumilty, and his staff met with members of council and about 50 residents in Cape Dorset Thursday to address concerns over the location of the new power plant.

But according to South Baffin MLA David Joanasie, most residents in attendance didn't seem convinced.

"It seemed like the majority attending wanted it built outside of town, and the council as well," he said. "People were concerned with diesel exhaust being blown right next to the health center, and with potential oil and diesel spills."

The old plant, located in the downtown core, was built in the 1970s and is operating at capacity.

Over the years, residents have complained about noise pollution and diesel exhaust coming from the plant.

Hamlet council recently decided the new plant would be built next to the fuel tank farm, on the outskirts of town, but QEC wants to build it right next to the old one.

Tumilty said building at the new location would delay construction by up to three years, and cost an additional $3 million.

QEC said they would be doing regular monitoring of the site, and that the new engines would use 10 percent less fuel, resulting in lower emissions.

The corporation also plans to install an engine exhaust scrubber to further reduce pollution, and a hospital-grade silencer to reduce noise.

Social housing projects put on hold

Infrastructure and social housing projects have been put on hold until the new plant is built.

Many elders made the case that the plant should be built as soon as possible to allow for new social housing projects.

"It's a pressing issue. We heard compelling argument from both sides but Cape Dorset hasn't had new housing allocated for years," said resident Chris Pudlat, who was homeless for several years.

"Everybody in town has a friend or a relative who is looking for housing."

Cape Dorset's SAO, Ed Devereaux, says council will be meeting next week to decide on the next course of action.

"Now they have a better sense of all the different views," he said. "They might decide to hold a plebiscite, or they might decide to vote on the issue."

The special meeting will be open to the public.

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