Northern News Services
Published Monday, February 27, 2012
Hamlet officials in Pangnirtung are taking another look at the community's master plan to deal with news that some lots are no longer fit for development due to melting permafrost.
"Fortunately at this point it's not a lot of land but every loss to us is critical," said senior administrative officer Ron Mongeau, speaking after a three-day meeting Feb. 15 to 17 with geologists who have been looking for permafrost instabilities in the hamlet.
He was not sure how many lots would be affected. "It will affect the latter years of the master plan. The area where we're going to build the next two subdivisions is relatively unaffected."
The geologists, from the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office and Universite Laval, focused on the community after permafrost erosion triggered a flood that destroyed a bridge at Auyuittuq National Park in 2008. Starting in 2009, the scientists set up five 15-metre deep monitoring stations in Pangnirtung to measure temperature and permafrost levels.
"When the bridge washed out, that was a big shock to the community," said chief geologist David Mate of the Canada-Nunavut Geoscience Office. "It raised people's awareness of terrain sensitivity and what could happen to built structures. When you think of climate change and increased development up here, it's good to know what the terrain is and know more about permafrost."