The Nunavut Planning Commission released its updated land use planning proposal on Thursday after years of consultation and earlier drafts.
The plan, which covers 2.1 million square kilometers of land and water, involves determining which parts of the territory are open for resource extraction, which parts need protection and which parts are closed.
The plan is also a legal requirement under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement between Nunavut and the Crown, which laid the foundation for the creation of the territory.
The first drafts of the plan, in preparation since 2007, were released in 2012, 2014 and 2016. The panel says the new draft plan was developed through consultations with the 25 communities in Nunavut, hunting and hunting organizations. trapping and Inuit organizations.
The plan serves as a guide to determining where resource extraction is permitted, dividing the region of Nunavut into three parts: limited use areas, conditional use areas and mixed use areas.
Limited use areas make up approximately 22% of the Nunavut Settlement Area and are subject to the most stringent restrictions, including year-round bans on one or more types of land use.
Harvesting of wildlife is exempt from the plan and will be handled by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, the commission said. Inuit harvesting rights are not affected by the plan.
Conditional use zones cover nine percent of the settlement area and include seasonal bans on land.
Mixed-use areas represent 65% of the land area and “have been identified for their potential to support a variety of land uses,” according to the commission. There is no ban on land use in these areas.
Restricted Use Zones also support the National Marine Conversation Areas proposed by Canada.
For example, the areas around Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) are a limited use area under the proposed plan. This means that things like the exploration and production of resources and the development of infrastructure are prohibited.
The plan also provides guidance to developers on land use, including where and when projects will be authorized and under what conditions.
Existing rights held by businesses operating in Nunavut, such as mining companies, are not affected by the new regime.
Communities in all three regions of Nunavut must now review the plan through public hearings and provide feedback to the panel. In order for the plan to become legally binding, it must also be reviewed and approved by the federal government, the government of Nunavut and the Nunavut land claims organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
The commission received additional funding from the federal government to hold regional public hearings in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut and the Kitikmeot regions in November 2021. It also plans to hold public hearings in the Baffin region next year. , pending further federal funding.
The commission announced its intention to submit the draft final plan for approval by March 31, 2022.