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Feds promise $53M to help protect Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., from shoreline erosion, climate change | CBC News


The federal government is putting more than $53 million toward protecting the community of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., from the ongoing effects of climate change and coastal erosion.

N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod made the announcement Thursday, along with Tuktoyaktuk Mayor Erwin Elias and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation chair Duane Smith.

A news release from the federal government states the community is experiencing rapid coastal erosion of up to one metre per year, flooding and permafrost thaw.

It also states Arctic communities in the Beaufort Delta are now more vulnerable to the effects of climate change, such as declining sea ice, warmer temperatures, and more frequent and intense storms. 

The roughly 1,000 residents of Tuktayaktuk — most of them Inuvialuit — are “at great risk of losing the very land where they live, work and play as well as the services on which the hamlet relies, such as the health care centre and the local college,” it reads.

The $53.7 million is from the federal government’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, and will be spent over three years to build new infrastructure along the shoreline in Tuktoyaktuk.

A man in a tuque stands outside.
Tuktoyaktuk Mayor Erwin Elias, seen here last fall, has said his community is in a state of emergency because of its eroding shoreline. (Juanita Taylor/CBC)

Armoured rock and other materials will be installed along parts of the shoreline and in front of 1.5-kilometre-long Tuktayaktuk Island, which sits just offshore from the community, to “reduce the force of waves that are washing away the land,” the release states. 

Other work will involve improvements to protective concrete slabs that are already in place, and upgrade work to the barrier beach at the south end of Tuktoyaktuk.

“This will help the community prepare for future climate change scenarios,” the release says.

Mayor Erwin Elias, who has said his community is in a “state of emergency” because of shoreline erosion, said in a statement Thursday that the new funding will also help create many jobs and opportunities for local businesses.

Duane Smith of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation said the investment demonstrates the federal government’s “responsibility to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change and its ongoing commitment to reconciliation.”


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