Me­tal drums not con­tam­i­nated

The Labradorian - - Front Page - Danette@nl.rogers.com BY EVAN CAREEN

Inuit groups host Cel­e­brate Life event on Par­lia­ment Hill

Gath­ered at Par­lia­ment Hill in Ot­tawa on Mon­day, Sept. 10, a num­ber of Inuit peo­ple were there to rec­og­nize World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and Na­tional Inuit Youth Coun­cil (NIYC) hosted the Cel­e­brate Life event in part­ner­ship with other Inuit or­ga­ni­za­tions.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sents the four re­gions of Inuit Nu­nan­gat — the Inuit home­land en­com­pass­ing the Inu­vialuit Set­tle­ment Re­gion in the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries, Nu­navut, Nu­navik in North­ern Que­bec, and Nu­natsi­avut in North­ern Labrador. Ap­prox­i­mately 60,000 Inuit live in Canada.

Events rec­og­niz­ing Sept. 10 as World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day were held in other com­mu­ni­ties through­out the coun­try, in­clud­ing Labrador.

ITK re­leased its Na­tional Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Strat­egy – an Inuit-led Ap­proach to Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion in July 2016.

The strat­egy notes that the four Inuit re­gions of the coun­try, sui­cide rates range from five to 25 times the rate of sui­cide for Canada as a whole.

The doc­u­ment out­lines how gov­ern­ment, other stake­hold­ers and the com­mu­ni­ties can work to­gether to ad­dress the high num­bers of sui­cides in Inuit com­mu­ni­ties.

Raise aware­ness

In a state­ment mark­ing World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day, Nu­natsi­avut Pres­i­dent Jo­hannes Lampe told how his son died by sui­cide 10 years ago.

Not a day goes by when he doesn’t think about his son, he said.

“Since that tragic day of Aug. 9, 2008, I’ve en­dured much suf­fer­ing and pain. I spent many sleep­less nights, try­ing to fig­ure out what went wrong, what I could have done to pre­vent it, and try­ing to un­der­stand why peo­ple de­cide to take their own lives,” the state­ment read.

While he re­al­ized he couldn’t change the past, Lampe said, he knew he had to find the courage and strength to carry on – not only for his own men­tal well­be­ing, but for his fam­ily and friends, for other sui­cide sur­vivors and for his com­mu­nity.

“World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day is an op­por­tu­nity for all of us, from all walks of life, to come to­gether to pro­mote an un­der­stand­ing about sui­cide and to raise aware­ness about pre­ven­tion ac­tiv­i­ties and ini­tia­tives.”

This year’s theme, “Work­ing To­gether to Pre­vent Sui­cide,” is most fit­ting, Lampe said, be­cause “by sup­port­ing each other, by work­ing to­gether, we find strength within our­selves – the strength that helps us move for­ward.”

The Nu­natsi­avut Gov­ern­ment has worked hard over the years to raise aware­ness of men­tal health is­sues, Lampe said, and con­tin­ues to pro­vide many pre­ven­tion, in­ter­ven­tion and postin­ter­ven­tion pro­grams. The gov­ern­ment also works closely with other gov­ern­ments, agen­cies, or­ga­ni­za­tions and groups in deal­ing with this is­sue, he noted

“As we rec­og­nize World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that life is to be cel­e­brated and cher­ished,” the state­ment read. “I en­cour­age all Labrador Inuit to come to­gether as one, to raise aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing, and to work to­gether to im­prove the men­tal well­ness of all of our com­mu­ni­ties.”

White said he wouldn’t miss the op­por­tu­nity of com­ing out to the event on Par­lia­ment Hill.

“Inuit rec­og­nize the nega­tive im­pact (sui­cide) has had in our com­mu­ni­ties but choose to come to­gether (on World Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Day) and cel­e­brate life. To be thank­ful for what we do have in spite of the hor­ri­ble re­al­ity,” White said.

The Nu­natsi­avut Group of Com­pa­nies (NGC) is­sued a press re­lease on Tues­day, Sept. 11 re­gard­ing the me­tal drums they took out of the ground on Hamil­ton River Road.

NGC hired en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tants Stan­tec to test the me­tal drums and soil on the Town Cen­tre site and found there were no con­tam­i­nants in the drums or the soil.

Tom Lyall, gen­eral man­ager of NGC, told The Labradorian in Au­gust they knew there was some­thing me­tal un­der the ground there and that was why they were ex­ca­vat­ing the area.

“There was a mag­netic sur­vey done of the site be­fore my time and it that par­tic­u­lar area, they de­tected a metal­lic anom­aly in the ground that we were ex­ca­vat­ing,” he said.

The drums were dis­cov­ered un­der­ground through elec­tro­mag­netic sur­veys dur­ing the devel­op­ment of the site.

Lyall said the drums were opened and empty when they were taken out of the ground.

“They weren’t crushed, but they had been opened and emp­tied, there was no resid­ual ma­te­rial left in them,” he said.

Lyall said they don’t know where the drums came from; they were a prob­lem they in­her­ited on the site. The area where the drums were found will be the fu­ture park­ing lot for the new Labrador Well­ness Cen­tre.

NGC said ar­range­ments are be­ing made to col­lect the drums and he’s hope­ful con­trac­tors can be­gin putting the ex­ca­vated soil back by the end of the week.

“Peo­ple can be as­sured that we have com­pleted a thor­ough as­sess­ment of the ex­ca­vated ma­te­ri­als that were dis­cov­ered on the site,” Lyall said in the re­lease. “We are dis­pos­ing of the me­tal drums that were taken from the ground and the test­ing has clearly shown there are no con­tam­i­nants in the soil that is be­ing put back in.”

EVAN CAREEN — THE LABRADORIAN

These me­tal drums were ex­ca­vated at the fu­ture Labrador Well­ness Cen­tre site. Af­ter en­vi­ron­men­tal test­ing they were found to con­tain no con­tam­i­nants.

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