Taloyoak health centre to reopen month after fuel spill

Taloyoak’s health centre, built in 2015, is named after Judy Hill, a nurse who died in a medevac plane crash in 1972. (Government of Nunavut)

The health centre in Taloyoak, Nunavut, is expected to reopen on Monday.

A 1,200-litre fuel spill in a boiler room forced the territory to reduce the Judy Hill Memorial Health Centre to emergency services on Aug. 18. A little more than a week later, the building was completely closed as the fumes grew worse, and eventually fire crews started keeping watch over it in case of a fire.

In a statement Friday, the health department said an environment consultant has deemed the building safe for staff and clients. The department said the health centre would reopen for regular health services on Monday.

It said the spill has been cleaned up, contaminated insulation has been pulled out of the floor and work to re-install the floor is currently underway. The department said there is still some contaminated soil left to clean up, but it isn’t expected to affect air quality or operations at the centre.

Nearly all health services have, for the past month, been running out of the community’s old health facility. The community’s dental team was moved to Cambridge Bay.

The health centre was built in 2015 and was named after Judy Hill — a nurse who died in a medevac plane crash in 1972.

It usually offers full-time health care, public health and emergency medical services, as well as visiting and tele-health specialist services.

This is not the first time it’s been forced to shut down. It was closed in 2021 as well, because of flooding.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Cleanup of historic oil spill in northern Canada underway, source still unknown, CBC News

Finland: Finland prepares for ‘nightmare’ wintertime Baltic oil spill, Radio Canada International

Norway: Norway app helps reaction to oil spills, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Nornickel must pay €1.62 billion for its huge oil spill in Arctic tundra, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Oil spill cleanup ongoing in Sweden after freighter runs aground, Radio Sweden

United States: Grim outlook for Arctic wildlife in oil spill, Alaska Dispatch News

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