Power play
NWT Power staying intact isn't a done deal yet

Darren Campbell
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 17/98) - Will they or won't they?

That is the question the Western Coalition, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and leaders of Nunavut have to come to grips with regarding keeping the NWT Power Corporation intact after division.

All sides agree that the corporation should stay as one when the NWT divides in 1999. But they have yet to agree on how to make that happen.

Floyd Roland, Inuvik MLA and a member of the Western Coalition, said they had planned to settle the issue by July. Now they hope to come to an agreement by the end of August.

He said until that agreement is reached there is no guarantee the corporation will stay intact.

"It's not an absolute," said Roland. "Right now there is no feedback from the other parties on whether they agree, want changes or disagree."

The main sticking points for coming up with an agreement between Nunavut and the West are: the makeup of the corporation's board of directors, transfer of jobs from Hay River's head office to Nunavut, and the sharing of profits and equity.

Roland said with negotiations ongoing, he couldn't reveal what the Western Coalition's final position on these points are. But in a July 29 brief to the Western Caucus, the coalition's final position regarding keeping the corporation intact is outlined.

With another meeting set for the end of August the brief calls for a board with equal representation from the GNWT and the Nunavut government.

It also calls for the profit and equity distribution to be 66 per cent for the western territory and 34 per cent for Nunavut. As for the transfer of jobs, the coalition's position in the brief is that will only happen if the president and board of directors agree it is necessary.

Roland said if the sides can't come to an agreement a transition or termination agreement will have to be negotiated.

Nunavut's negotiators, which includes the Office of the Interim Commissioner and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., have wanted a 60/40 profit split and headquarters staff from Hay River moved to Nunavut to give the corporation a presence there.

Hagar Idlout-Sudlovenick, assistant executive director of NTI, said she couldn't talk about their position. She did say that NTI still wants to keep the corporation intact after division.

"I think both sides are willing to compromise," said Idlout-Sudlovenick.

Hay River mayor Jack Rowe, where approximately 70 headquarters positions are staffed, said he is also optimistic the sides will agree to keep the corporation intact.

However, he would like to see the issue settled soon.

"I'd like to see some closure to this issue," said Rowe. "I'd like to go back to the community residents and tell them what the future is going to hold."