A collection of unused shacks and derelict vehicles found on the shore in Apex are being removed by the City of Iqaluit.
The area is littered with garbage, broken glass, old car parts and electronics. Workers began removing the debris on Thursday morning, starting with an old pickup truck.
Iqaluit mayor Kenny Bell says the site has become a small metal dump, and is a risk to public safety.
"There's a battery right on the edge of the ocean, there's human feces, there are propane tanks sitting around, Jerry cans that are unsecured and open, Coleman stoves laying around," he said. "There's a lot of fire hazards around here."
It's not uncommon for shacks in the area to be used as temporary housing. Last week, a man died when a shack burned on the beach in Iqaluit. Last year, three other shacks were lost to fire, and over the past few years people living in shacks have been displaced or injured by fires.
Bell says the city made sure no one was living in these structures.
"There's mushrooms growing inside, there's car parts, there's no way a human could use it, they're being used as storage sheds," he said.
One of the shacks does have an owner, and it is used as an outdoor space. It will be moved to the home of the family it belongs to.
Notices were put up on site before the cleanup started, so people could move any skidoos stored at the beach area, and take car parts they needed.
A work crew from Baffin Correctional Centre hired by the city will help clean up the waste.
'It's a good day for Apex,' homeowner says
Longtime Apex resident Ann Hanson says garbage has been collecting at the shore for more than a decade. She sent a letter to the city asking to have the shore cleaned up.
"The children play there, people play there," she said. "It was a safety factor for our children in Apex and also for the fishers — people who have nets, people who fish by rod and reel — and some hunters have their boats along that shore."
She says no one has been living in the shacks for quite awhile.
"It looks like a dump," she said. "I remember it as clean, rocky outcrops and scenery."
When she moved to Apex as a child in the late 1950s, Hanson said people often put tents up along the shore. She's hoping to see that happen again when the garbage is gone.
"People go there to enjoy the ocean and people go for walks along here too," she said. It's a good day for Apex residents to have it removed, I'm grateful."
Safety plan coming for Iqaluit beach
The Apex cleanup also comes after the City of Iqaluit and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association worked earlier this month to make a plan for cleanliness and safety at the beach in Iqaluit.
While the beach area in Iqaluit is Inuit Owned Land, this area in Apex falls under the jurisdiction of Nunavut's commissioner.
When commissioner land is unused, it's the responsibility of the hamlet or municipality, Bell said.
"It's a beautiful area, but we've got to clean up all the stuff that's here first," he said.