Inuvik debates dome transit
Dog musher asks why damage to his trails was allowed

by Glenn Taylor
Northern News Services

INUVIK (Apr 25/97) - Town council was to send a fact-finding group to investigate damage caused by the moving of a former DEW-Line dome from Tuk to Inuvik, after questions surfaced about whether the damage violated town environmental bylaws.

Alan Fehr runs a dog team touring company in Inuvik. He told council at its last meeting that scrape marks left by the moving of the building from the ice road to its new location on Firth Street had destroyed his dog trails. "It effectively wiped out my April touring season," said Fehr.

Fehr returned to council Monday to say that new damage had been done on the route the dome took along Navy Road to Marine Bypass Road and on to Firth. He said a bulldozer had since returned and trees had been uprooted.

While Fehr agreed the damage was minimal, he said his real concern was that he wasn't consulted before his trails were destroyed.

"I agree (the work) didn't do any damage to the tundra," said Fehr. But he asked why "there was never any consultation with myself" before the work went ahead.

"Why were (the town's) new zoning bylaws not considered when the project was originally passed (by council)?"

Councillor David Connelly was incensed by the issue.

"We were assured by staff that (further damage) would not happen." Connelly said the town has a bylaw that fines $50 to cut down a tree within town limits.

"There's 200 trees down there. Now, are we sucking or blowing? I believe in development, but I also believe in the integrity of council when it said it wouldn't happen again."

Tom Zubko of Inuvik TV said very little damage was done while the building was moved.

"There was an absolute minimal impact on any land whatsoever," said Zubko. "The only places where soil was showing was when we crossed over an old gravel pad, and when we moved aside old debris," left behind from an earth moving job done years ago.

"Council has shown a very aggressive way of dealing with this issue, and is playing to the press," he said.

Zubko reiterated that it was "inappropriate for council to spend as much time and effort dealing with this particular issue."

For Fehr, his concern is that he wasn't informed, and the council "just allowed the building through, with trees being cut, with no consideration of others using that area."

"Who is looking out for the credibility of council?" asked Connelly. "How did people entrusted with caring for us let this happen?"