Pipeline to go ahead?
Arlooktoo to make a final decision on pipeline this week

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Nov 26/97) - Keewatin residents will know by the end of this week if the controversial resupply pipeline will be built in Arviat, Coral Harbour, Chesterfield Inlet and Rankin Inlet.

Minister of Public Works and Services Goo Arlooktoo said in a letter to Keewatin mayors last week that he will announce the status of the project no later than Nov. 28.

He said that he is aware of strong feelings on the issue and acknowledges the concerns surrounding the $5- million proposed pipeline.

"People seem to feel that more consultation is needed along with more research on the impacts of this kind of change on the entire Keewatin transportation system," he said.

He will be reviewing the project and the concerns people have expressed at various community meetings over the next few days, he said in the letter, released the middle of last week.

"I want to assure you that I have listened to what people have told me on this important issue and recognize the deeply-felt concerns," he said. "I intend to review the proposed directions in light of the feedback I have received and discuss the matter with my cabinet colleagues before making a final decision on how to proceed."

Arlooktoo does, however, remain firm on his commitment to reduce fuel transportation costs in the Keewatin. He said that the high resupply costs in the Keewatin are forcing Baffin residents to help subsidize the price.

"So long as Keewatin transportation rates are two to three times as high as similar communities in the Baffin, expensive government subsidies on commodities such as fuel will continue to be necessary," he said.

He said residents can't afford to lose an opportunity like the pipeline that will reduce the price of fuel.

"The net impact of such a change would be an overall improvement in the standard of living in Nunavut," he said.

Arlooktoo said that he will make a final decision based on all the information that he has been given, one in which reflects what is good for the people.

"I am currently considering how to take into account the wishes of the region while recognizing the needs of other Nunavut residents," he said.