Original Published on Sep 19, 2022 at 11:30
By David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Hikers and snowmobilers travelling between Iqaluit and Kimmirut will soon have a way to charge their GPS devices and other electronics along the way.
The Nunavut government is planning to install solar panels at each of nine emergency cabins located along the 123-kilometre Itijjagiaq Trail, which runs between the two communities through Katannilik Territorial Park.
One of those — Cabin 7 — already has solar panels and battery storage. Located along the Soper River, it has a USB charging port and lights.
The small amount of maintenance that would be required, in addition to positive reviews about Cabin 7, convinced the government to move ahead with a plan to install them on every cabin.
“From what the tourists have been saying that use our parks, they always say good things about Cabin 7 and the solar panels and the charging port,” said Tommy Akavak, a co-ordinator with Nunavut Parks, in an interview.
The project will cost $40,000 and is being paid for by the Trans Canada Trail, a registered charity, said territorial Environment Department spokesperson Casey Lessard.
Each cabin will get solar panels mounted on its roof, lights with 60-minute timer, and a USB charging port, he said.
Nunavut Parks staff will do the installations and renovate the cabins’ windows and doors.
Lessard said the upgrades will be installed by next spring.
Akavak, who lives in Kimmirut, will be one of the staff members from his office installing the panels, alongside employees from the office in Iqaluit.
He said the solar panels are being stored in Kimmirut’s visitor centre and are ready to be taken out to the cabins and installed in the springtime.