N.W.T. cancels annual barge to Sachs Harbour



Austin Larocque says he does not know when he could get most of his worldly possessions, at present sitting in a delivery container in Sachs Harbour, N.W.T., after a barge set to arrive within the High Arctic group this season was cancelled.

Larocque moved along with his younger daughter from Sachs Harbour to Hay River, N.W.T., in July with simply two suitcases, hoping to get the majority of their belongings as soon as the barge returned from the territory’s northernmost group. He mentioned it value greater than $7,000 to buy a sea can to retailer and ship their issues.

“Pretty a lot our life is in that sea can,” he mentioned. “Certain issues are replaceable, however sure issues should not. Certain issues you possibly can’t put a value on it.”

Larocque mentioned he’s ready for every little thing from child photos to the instruments he wants to make his residing as a mechanic. He mentioned he hasn’t been ready to come up with anybody with Marine Transportation Services, which gives barging companies within the territory.

The N.W.T. authorities introduced late final week it was cancelling the annual barge supply to Sachs Harbour due to dangerous climate and a late begin to the crusing season due to local weather change, delayed buoy placement, and flooding in Hay River and Inuvik this spring.

The territorial authorities mentioned a tug and barges shall be saved in Paulatuk over the winter due to climate and ice circumstances.

Larocque mentioned he feels the N.W.T. authorities just isn’t taking accountability by blaming the cancellation on local weather change.

“It simply leaves a bitter style in your mouth the way in which they did enterprise,” he mentioned.

Many coastal communities within the North depend on annual barges to transfer freight, meals and gasoline as they aren’t related to the south by street or rail and transporting objects by air is dear.

Shelby Lucas, supervisor of the Ikahuk Co-op in Sachs Harbour, mentioned cancellation of the resupply barge has had a big effect on her group, which is house to simply over 100 folks.

“Everybody was fairly upset about it,” she mentioned.

The hamlet’s solely retailer has been getting low on some provides, Lucas mentioned, including it hasn’t had pop for about 5 months and it is attainable some cargo on the barge has now frozen.

Several residents are additionally ready on snowmobiles.

“An enormous a part of our group is folks going out searching to have meals,” Lucas mentioned.

Marine Transportation Services, which was taken over by the N.W.T. authorities in 2016 after its earlier proprietor filed for chapter, presents barging companies from the Port of Hay River to places alongside the Mackenzie River and within the western Arctic. It accomplished marine resupply for 9 N.W.T. communities and one Nunavut group this yr, together with personal contracts.

Jackie Jacobson, member of the legislative aggregation for Nunakput, just lately questioned within the legislature why Marine Transportation Services didn’t prioritize group resupply and left it till the top of the delivery season. Before the barge arrived in Paulutuk and Ulukhaktok this yr, he mentioned, diapers and different important items had to be flown in at a excessive value to residents as cabinets within the communities have been naked.

“The folks of the Northwest Territories ought to be put first,” he mentioned.

Diane Archie, the territory’s minister of infrastructure, mentioned she couldn’t commit to reimbursing these prices, however did promise that residents in Sachs Harbour wouldn’t have to pay extra prices to fly objects from the barge into the group. She mentioned her division is working to guarantee mandatory freight and gasoline “arrive in a well timed method,” however mentioned there’ll “have to be some onerous conversations on coping with the outsized freight.”

The N.W.T. authorities didn’t reply to a request for additional remark.

This just isn’t the primary time lately items have had to be flown into communities. The territorial authorities cancelled barges destined for Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay in Nunavut and Paulatuk in early October 2018, citing impassable ice circumstances. It was later revealed {that a} dangerous gasoline cargo that had to be returned from Alberta additionally performed a job in delaying the barges. While important objects have been flown into the communities others, resembling automobiles and building supplies, have been saved in Inuvik over winter.

The territorial authorities quietly settled three lawsuits outdoors of courtroom this August, which have been filed in federal courtroom by two firms in Cambridge Bay and one in Paulatuk in search of damages associated to the barge cancellations and claiming their cargo was broken. The authorities filed statements of defence and counterclaims in all three instances.

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Oct. 23, 2022.

This story was produced with the monetary help of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here