How to keep Iqaluit's beach area clean has been top of mind for the City of Iqaluit and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association this summer, as garbage has littered the area.
Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell and deputy mayor Janet Brewster picked up garbage along the beach Thursday, ahead of their annual waterways cleanup. They wanted to assess the situation on the beach ahead of the joint cleanup with Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA), which happened Friday.
Residents have been complaining on social media about beer cans and partying on the beach.
"It's a beautiful beach and we want to be able to use it and walk our dogs and enjoy the area," said Bell.
"But currently right now because of the drunkenness and the random garbage everywhere and broken glass it's not really usable."
Bell and Brewster filled several garbage bags with cans, coffee cups, plastic and discarded clothing. Bell said he thinks some of the garbage is coming from the city dump across the bay.
The beach is known as a spot where people live in shacks or where people will take shelter for the night.
On the walk, a flipped over canoe was being used as a shelter and some beach residents waved from the doorways of their shacks.
Brewster has been thinking of ways to make it easier for them to throw out garbage, including putting accessible bins in the area.
"Having some sort of garbage receptacle that the city will clear out on a regular basis would go really far in creating a safer place and also just in beautification," she said.
However, the city can't do anything on the beach without permission from the QIA because the beach is Inuit-owned land and therefore the association's responsibility.
They are working together to come up with a longer term plan.
"We [QIA] are land managers, we are not enforcers, there's a big difference," said Joanna Awa, conservation economy specialist with QIA.
"It's a bit of a challenge for us to manage this beach area because it is a public place and a lot of people use it and we just have to ensure that it's managed in a way that benefits everyone."
Awa said QIA is planning on doing a public survey on how people want the beach to be managed once COVID-19 restrictions lift further.
"Once we gather the information, then we can move forward from there," said Awa.
In order for a joint plan to move forward, the QIA would need to present its ideas to the city's planning and development committee, which would bring the recommendations to city council.
"I think we have an excellent opportunity to work together to benefit everyone so that there are clear guidelines and a clear mandate," Awa said.