WWF-Canada supports full environmental assessment of Grays Bay Road and Port proposed mega-project
Iqaluit, Nunavut, Jan. 25, 2018
– WWF-Canada supports a full environmental assessment that takes into account cumulative and transboundary impacts of the proposed Grays Bay Road and Port mining and shipping project. The assessment was recommended by the Nunavut Impact Review Board and accepted by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
, though no funding is in place for the massive, $500-million proposed project in the Kitikmeot region of western Nunavut.
Paul Crowley, vice-president of Arctic conservation for WWF-Canada, says:
“Any commitment to assess cumulative effects on a regional basis is worthy of praise. And in this case, a regional assessment is especially critical given the magnitude of this project, which would be unprecedented in scope in Nunavut, with impacts that would also be experienced in the Northwest Territories.
“A full and comprehensive assessment is appropriate as the proposed Grays Bay Road cuts through core calving grounds and post calving grounds of the Bathurst barren-ground caribou herd, which is rapidly approaching a population minimum with no sign of recovery in sight. Communities have made many sacrifices – including a harvest moratorium in Northwest Territories – to safeguard this herd. Now, when this herd is so vulnerable, is not the time to allow the first-ever road to be built through its calving ground.
“A full and comprehensive assessment of the proposed port is also fitting as the port will result in increased ship traffic that will have far-ranging impacts on the North. As we have seen in other places, when shipping increases, communities have reported negative impacts on marine wildlife such as beluga, bowhead whales and seals. If ice-breaking is added into the mix, it could put at further risk the already endangered Dolphin and Union caribou herd that migrate between the mainland and Victoria Island.
“The main intent of the Grays Bay Road and Port proposed project is to encourage future development – resulting in unforeseen cumulative impacts on land and in the marine environment. WWF-Canada recognizes the strong desire in the region for economic stimulus, and supports development that is sustainable and does not put wildlife populations at risk. We support a full regional environmental assessment that takes into account transboundary and future cumulative impacts of this proposed project, that gives a voice to communities near and far that will be impacted, and will help people throughout the North understand the potential impacts of such a massive subsidized development.”
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For more information
Rebecca Spring, senior communications specialist, WWF-Canada