Inuvialuit Regional Corporation has published a note asking its membership to contact them if a “squatter’s cabin” notice is left near an Inuvialuit Camp.
The short Feb. 18 notice includes a sample copy of a letter the GNWT may issue to cabins found on Crown Land without the proper paperwork.
“Contact Charles Klengenberg – Director of Lands if you see a GNWT Notice on or near your camp,” reads the notice. “You can reach Charles, Director of Lands by email email@example.com or call and leave a voicemail at 777-7009.”
Lands Minister Shane Thompson announced the GNWT’s intent to implement a new strategy to deal with unauthorized cabins on Crown Land on Feb 10. The GNWT estimates there are up to 700 such cabins throughout the territory, with 550 near Yellowknife.
“Unauthorized occupancy is a long-standing land management issue across the community. It has been an issue for over 50 years,” Thompson said. “The GNWT has been taking steps to address unauthorized occupancy since taking over the responsibility for land management (from the federal government).”
In the announcement, the GNWT stressed Indigenous Cabins would not be subject to the legal process, at least yet, and the GNWT would work with Indigenous governments to confirm rights-based cabins.
Department officials plan to spend the next two years inspecting suspicious cabins. The project has budgeted $6,423,000 over the next eight years. It expects to spend up to $2,250,000 in removal costs, and $991,000 to cover the legal costs of removing the structures.
Primarily in their sites are unauthorized cabins built after April 1, 2014, which was when the GNWT assumed responsibility for public land management from the federal department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC).
Buildings established after that, including cabins and outhouses, that don’t have the proper paperwork will be subject to a legal process for removal.
“We’re getting tough on those who are breaking the law, and you will have no legal right or authorization to build on public land,” said Thompson.
With files from Blair McBride.