The territorial government has provided new information about plans to resupply three communities by air after their barge was cancelled.
Impassable ice in the Amundsen Gulf forced the territory to call off its resupply barge to Paulatuk, Cambridge Bay, and Kugluktuk last week.
Wally Schumann, the minister responsible, subsequently pledged the territory would “find the money” to conduct resupply by air – which is significantly more expensive – without residents having to pay.
On Tuesday, the territory produced an update setting out what will happen next. We’ll keep this page updated as more information is made available.
First, Paulatuk will have its petroleum supplies topped up so the community has enough fuel for the entire winter.
After that, the territory will prioritize all of the waiting cargo as ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential’ on a case-by-case basis.
The cargo is being organized in Inuvik, where it is being held temporarily inside a secure weather-protected storage facility. Cargo that can’t freeze will be housed inside temperature-controlled storage.
Cargo deliveries are expected to begin within the next 10 days, although the territory said it’s still figuring out exactly how the flights will work – and doesn’t know how many airlifts it’ll take to get everything moved.
An extra staff member has been hired at the Marine Transportation Services customer service desk, in Hay River, to take customer queries. The territorial government acknowledged there had been “a high number of calls.”
Exactly how the case-by-case prioritization of goods will take place remains a key concern.
Last week, Suzanne Maniyogina – from Cambridge Bay – addressed the minister online in a Facebook post regarding her waiting goods.
Maniyogina described being a mother of four with no means of transportation, waiting for a new vehicle to arrive from Hay River.
“It would have made my busy household life so much less stressful day to day,” she wrote. “I see businesses, companies, hamlets will be getting what they need … so what will happen for me?
“What will happen for me and my family now? I’m paying for a truck on loan I cannot use for a year.”