Eggleton, NTI ink DEW cleanup protocol
The cleanup is scheduled to be completed over the next 10 years. All told, it could cost about $175 million

Arthur Milnes
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 07/98) - Relics from the early days of the Cold War currently scattered across Nunavut could be on their way to being cleaned up thanks to an agreement signed this week.

National Defence Minister Art Eggleton signed a cooperation agreement on the environmental provisions for a cleanup of the 15 former Distant Early Warning Line radar sites in Nunavut with the Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated's first vice president James Eetoolook.

The signing took place in Cambridge Bay Tuesday.

"The agreement between the people of Nunavut and (the) Department of National Defence is an important step forward in restoring conditions in and around these former radar sites," Eggleton said in a prepared statement. "We acknowledge our responsibility to correct this environmental conditional across the North and look forward to working with Inuit across the territory of Nunavut to complete this cleanup..."

The cleanup is scheduled to be completed over the next 10 years. All told, it could cost about $175 million.

Tuesday's agreement states how the cleanup will be carried out and attempts to address environmental issues such as: demolition and landfilling of unused DEW debris and buildings; and containment, repair and monitoring of landfills, the removal of some hazardous materials and other matters.

NTI's Allan Maghagak, speaking from Iqaluit Thursday, said the deal was an important one for Nunavut.

"It's very critical to us," he said. "Without the protocol in place, what was buried and taken out could have been decided (only) by them (DND)."

"They recognized we needed a complete inventory of what was buried in the past ... They will start the inventory site by site and the environmental assessments will be done site by site -- that is our biggest victory in this," he added.

At the Canadian Arctic Resources Committee, research director Kevin O'Reilly was cautiously optimistic about the deal.

"It's certainly an improvement over what the Inuvialuit got (in 1996)," he said. "The monitoring (of the DEW sites in that deal) is only nine years, for NTI, it's 25 years."

"I think NTI should be proud of the agreement."

However, O'Reilly, said the deal wasn't perfect.

"The military brought this stuff in (to the North) they should bring it out and treat it," he said, adding some contaminants will be landfilled near some of the former sites.