WASTE SITES MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE
On April 1st, 2014, management for lands and resources in the Northwest Territories (NWT) devolved from the Government of Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories in accordance with the NWT Lands and Resources Agreement. This agreement was made between the Government of Canada, the Government of the NWT, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the Northwest Territory Metis Nation, the Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, the Gwich’in Tribal Council and the Tlicho Government, signed on June 25, 2013.
The Agreement describes the process for the devolution of Lands and Resources. This includes the devolution of responsibility for NWT waste sites, detailed in chapter 6. Schedule 7 of the Agreement is an “inventory of sites” and contains a listing of dispositions that were once under federal jurisdiction. But “sites requiring remediation” are still retained within federal authority until cleanup is complete.
As part of Chapter 6 in the Agreement, the Federal Government of Canada through the Contaminants and Remediation Department (CARD) , created a “Waste Sites Management Committee” (WSMC). The committee consists of representatives from signatories of the Agreement. CARD staff acts as the secretariat. SSI is represented on this committee by Charles McNeely and the deputy member is Cindy Gilday.
WSMC has only two meetings each year and had only its 3rd meeting this June. The committee mandate is basically to review, discuss, consider and provide advice to Canada on its legal responsibilities on management of waste sites pursuant to Chapter 6. So far, at these meetings, the morning agenda has been descriptions of CARD’s work reports, and processes. The afternoon agenda on GNWT’s new lands department and work on policies regarding waste sites.
The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) raised the issue of sumps in their region. The GNWT is working with IRC in sharing sumps database. They have done the first round of air survey of sumps in the Delta, Dehcho, South Slave and Sahtu last summer. Due to bad weather they did not even land in Sahtu region.
At the second meeting the NWT Metis Nation submitted, a list of contaminated sites in their region they wanted addressed. They are working with both levels of Governments to address them.
SSI initiated “A Review of Waste Sites, Contaminated Sites of Concern in the Sahtu Region” a documentation work that started in fall of 2015 and was completed in May, 2016. This draft document was presented to the SSI Board at their meeting in Norman Wells on June 15, 2016. They will review it and make comments by August. This will be reviewed by WSMC for comments, adjusted where appropriate and tabled with WSMC for discussion, consideration and hopefully support for action.