Public hearings for 4th draft of Nunavut land use plan set for fall
The Nunavut Planning Commission has announced what it says will be the final public hearings on its years-in-the-making draft land use plan.
The hearings are set to start mid-September and run until mid-November, taking place in several Nunavut communities and one Manitoba community. The schedule is as follows:
Sept. 12-15 in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.
Sept. 19-23 in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
Sept. 26-27 in Thompson, Manitoba.
Oct. 24-27 in Pond Inlet, Nunavut.
Nov. 14-19 in Iqaluit.
The planning commission said it's tasked with drafting the world's largest land use plan. When completed, the plan will cover one-fifth of Canada's land mass, along with freshwater and marine areas.
The land use plan — a legal requirement under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement between Nunavut and the Crown — is supposed to dictate what land will be protected and what land will be open for development across all of Nunavut. It divides the Nunavut Settlement Area into three parts: limited use areas, conditional use areas, and mixed-use areas.
The plan also gives guidance to developers on land use, including where and when projects will be allowed and under what conditions.
Existing rights held by companies working in Nunavut, such as mining companies, are not affected by the new plan. Wildlife harvesting is also exempt from the plan and instead, handled through the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, according to the commission.
The process has taken over a decade, with multiple drafts — four as of July 2021 — and consultations.
Earlier drafts of the plan, which has been in the works since 2007, were released in 2012, 2014 and 2016. The commission says the latest draft plan from 2021 was developed through consultations with all 25 Nunavut communities, hunting and trapping organizations, and Inuit organizations.
In addition to the reviews and feedback by the communities through public hearings, the draft plan also needs to be reviewed and approved by the Nunavut government and the Nunavut land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., as well as the federal government, in order for the plan to become legally binding.