Clyde River still on the hunt for diesel after declaring state of emergency
Government of Nunavut considering how it can help blizzard-hit hamlet, spokesperson says
After Clyde River declared a state of emergency due to snow-covered roads and houses last Thursday, another blizzard hit the hamlet over the weekend and the municipality’s last snow removal vehicle broke down, said Mayor Alan Cormack.
Over the past month, the combination of a series of blizzards and the breakdown of its snow removal vehicles has meant that the hamlet has not been able to remove snow from roads or homes quickly enough.
Water delivery took up to five days instead of two, and sewage tanks froze because they hadn’t been cleaned in two weeks, said Clyde River administrative manager Jerry Natanine at Nunatsiaq News.
The snow removal vehicles – two loaders and a bulldozer – broke down because they were running on Jet A fuel, which has a higher sulfur content and damages machinery, Natanine said. The Hamlet learned that the fuel was damaging equipment when a technician examined the vehicles a few weeks ago, he said.
The vehicles need diesel fuel, but the community had none, Natanine said.
Fortunately, the hamlet was able to obtain 11 barrels of diesel fuel from a nearby Parks Canada site on Sunday, Cormack said.
Those diesel fuel drums will be used on the airport’s snow removal machinery, which includes a loader, a snow plow grader and a snow blower, Cormack said. Once the snow is cleared from the airport, the machines will be used on the hamlet, he added.
Natanine said the hamlet contacted the Government of Nunavut, before a state of emergency was declared, requesting that diesel fuel for snow removal vehicles be flown in.
“If that happened in Ottawa, the whole army would already be there,” Cormack said of the Clyde River situation.
The Government of Nunavut’s Department of Community and Government Services received the hamlet’s declaration of a state of emergency on Feb. 11 and is reviewing what resources the government can provide to the hamlet, spokesperson Ronnel Guilaran said in a statement to Nunatsiaq News.
Cormack said the community tries to be resilient because everyone helps each other by shoveling as much as they can.
“We’re getting faster as the days go by,” Cormack said.
Cormack said the Hamlet thought its vehicles ran on diesel, but only found out they were running on Jet A fuel when the technician tested the snow removal vehicles’ fuel.
Natanine also said he doesn’t know why Clyde River has Jet A fuel, and it’s the GN’s Petroleum Products Division that makes that decision.
The two loaders and the hamlet bulldozer will not be able to use the newly obtained diesel fuel immediately because the Jet A fuel has damaged their cooling systems and mufflers too much, Cormack said.
Natanine said the hamlet had had snow removal vehicles for a few years and continually had problems with them. Colder weather is exacerbating these issues, which is likely why vehicles broke down over the winter, he added.
Since the Hamlet’s older snow removal vehicles were less environmentally friendly, they might have handled a heavy fuel like Jet A better, Cormack explained of why newer vehicles failed, but not the previous ones.
A technician is expected to arrive in Clyde River on Tuesday to help repair the vehicles, Natanine said.