Delivered on May 29, 2018
Mr. Speaker, as we have heard many times in this House, the impacts of climate change in the Northwest Territories are real, and they are having a profound effect on Northwest Territories communities. The community of Tuktoyaktuk is at the center of these changes. Coastal erosion has impacted the community for decades. However, with the increased frequency and intensity of storms and rising sea levels caused by climate change, the impacts on the community’s coastline have reached the point where adaptation measures are now required.
The Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk has been proactive. Over the past two years, the community government has undertaken a project to revise its community plan and zoning bylaw. The revised plan and bylaw support the community government’s plan to relocate inland those homes at greatest risk. The community will also continue to search for techniques to slow erosion and protect the community’s infrastructure and cultural sites which need to remain on the peninsula for the near to medium term.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce that the Government of the Northwest Territories has received funding for the community of Tuktoyaktuk to begin adaptation efforts to address the erosion issues impacting the community. This is an example of our government working, through its ongoing engagement, with the Government of Canada to access funding for the Northwest Territories that will directly benefit residents. The departments of Municipal and Community Affairs and Environment and Natural Resources worked in partnership with the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk to access funding, through Indigenous Services Canada’s, Climate Change Preparedness in the North program. The total funding for the project will be $800,000.
This funding will be used to relocate private residences from the western shore of the peninsula to residential parcels located further inland. This funding will support the relocation of those homes that are facing the most severe erosion issues, where the erosion has reached the home’s foundation. This is a commendable first step to addressing climate change impacts in this community, and I would like to thank Indigenous Services Canada for their support of this project.
This project is also supported by the work the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and Municipal and Community Affairs began in late 2016 on the development of a mitigation plan for the community. The mitigation plan is being developed with funding support through Public Safety Canada’s National Disaster Mitigation Program. Once complete, the plan will outline the long-term adaptation measures for the community.
Mr. Speaker, Tuktoyaktuk is not the only community facing hazards related to climate change. The department has identified eight other flood risk communities in the Northwest Territories. These communities include: Hay River, Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, Nahanni Butte, Tulita, Fort Good Hope, Fort McPherson, and Aklavik. The Department of Municipal and Community Affairs is actively working with these community governments to develop the plans and access the funding needed to address these issues. Creative solutions and inter-governmental collaboration, as we have seen with the project in Tuktoyaktuk, will enable us to meet these serious environmental challenges to the greatest extent possible.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.