Outpost camp victory
QWB says operators will benefit

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

CLYDE RIVER (Aug 24/98) - Patrick Palluq wants the economic picture for outpost camp operators to improve.

"One complaint I always get is that the money is not growing but more people are going to live out at the outpost camps," said Palluq, the secretary-manager for the Hunters and Trappers Association (HTA) in Clyde River.

Under the outpost camp program, families or individuals wishing to establish or reside at an existing outpost camp can apply for funding to the HTA board of directors in their communities. If they are chosen for the program, they are currently eligible to receive territorial money for start-up costs and heating and travelling fuel.

Palluq said he wanted to see changes that would allow operators to spend the money on food or other supply needs they might have, not just on petroleum products.

"I feel that they should be in charge of the money that is given to them. The government gives them the money and then tells them what to do with it," said Palluq, whose wish for reform might just come true.

As of last week, the Qikiqtaaluk Wildlife Board (QWB) managed to successfully negotiate with the department of resources, wildlife and economic development for the control of the outpost camp program.

Joanasie Akumalik, the executive director of QWB, said the acquisition, which included control of the budget and saw the creation of a full-time position at QWB to oversee the program, meant good news for the operators.

"I keep saying we should set up a program that will benefit the operators...in a way that they have a sense of ownership, security," said Akumalik.

With an annual $165,000 in territorial funds to administer to operators, Akumalik also hoped the new program would be geared to the needs of the people starting up new camps and to the existing 35 camps around Baffin Island.

He explained that in order to fully understand what the operators wanted, QWB set up monthly teleconference calls with the HTA secretary-managers.

"We were chatting about the common problems and do they know what the money is for, who looks after the bookkeeping," said Akumalik.

Poasie Peter, in his new QWB position as finance and development officer, has to collect financial reports from each camp and said that as soon as he started receiving signed agreements, QWB would officially begin administering the funds -- between $3,000 and $7,000 for each camp.

"Once we get the signed documents, we'll start sending out cheques."