Metal drums not contaminated
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.
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.”
These metal drums were excavated at the future Labrador Wellness Centre site. After environmental testing they were found to contain no contaminants.