Iqaluit City Council has promised residents it will put out the fire that's been burning at its dump since May, no matter what the cost.
In July, council approved a $2.2 million plan to fight the fire, expecting the territorial and federal governments would help pay the bill. But the Government of Nunavut says the city has more than enough money in its reserves to pay the bill itself.
"Funding for this project is left to our citizens," Fire chief Luc Grandmaison told councillors at a special meeting last week.
Grandmaison says he now projects the total cost of extinguishing the fire to be at least $3.3 million and "the chance of success has reduced."
Councillor Joanasie Akumalik is frustrated Nunavut's MP and premier aren't stepping up.
"There's no Leona. There's no Taptuna trying to help us out," he said. "I guess everyone in this room is a little bit disappointed."
Grandmaison says things will get worse before they get better. When firefighters begin digging out the smouldering garbage, more particulates, more soot and more carbon monoxide will be released into Iqaluit's air.
He says the areas most affected by smoke will have to be closed for safety reasons. Grandmaison says the causeway will be closed whenever firefighters are working. He expects buildings will also have to be closed.
Councillors will meet again Wednesday to sort out how the city will pay for the plan. Then they'll look at when firefighters can begin work.