Countdown to Nunavut
Community growth -- at least in Iqaluit -- is also about more post office boxes and a second telephone number prefix

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec 14/98) - Community growth isn't just measured by the number of new houses constructed or new vehicles on the roads. Community growth -- at least in Iqaluit -- is also about more post office boxes and a second telephone number prefix.

According to Jackie Grace, manager of the Canada Post outlet in Iqaluit, there had been a post office box waiting list with about 50 people on it until last month when 250 new boxes were installed.

"We ran out of mailboxes. We had 50 people just using General Delivery," said Grace.

Almost 200 of those boxes currently sit empty, but Grace predicted that in a fairly short period of time, more drastic steps would need to be taken.

"I anticipate that we'll need a bigger post office."

Northwestel has also found itself in a similar situation. Until recently, the Northern telephone service providers found themselves with a single prefix -- 979 -- to serve all of Iqaluit's customers, be they residential or commercial.

But, Mark Hickey, the assistant vice-president for Northwestel in Nunavut, said that was about to change.

"We're running out of numbers here," said Hickey.

He explained there are about 10,000 possible numbers that can be run with any one prefix before an additional set of three numbers has to be added. Hickey said "975" was in the process of making its grand debut.

"It mainly has to do with our new cellular service...and the expansion of the government and the growth of the community, of course," said Hickey.

He added that Yellowknife and Whitehorse were also getting new numbers and, while there were 10,000 possible combinations, only a certain amount of them were usable.

The Nunavut collection

Plans for completing the final stages of the Nunavut legislative assembly are well under way and officials are just looking for sponsors to help pay for the pieces of art that will grace the $11-million building.

Beth Beattie, co-ordinator of the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association (NACA), said the project of filling the legislature with art was moving ahead, but she needs sponsors to step forward and put their money behind it.

The artistic endeavour will run in the neighbourhood of about $500,000 and Beattie said the sponsors that do step forward and help foot the bill will have their name put on a plaque beside their donation and will likely be included in a book commemorating what may become known as the Nunavut Collection.

While those details have yet to be finalized, NACA, an arts council-type body, has succeeded in making surface changes to the inside of the structure and have moved on to the next stage.

"The building was designed without art in mind," said Beattie.

"The central lobby area was going to be designed like a street with siding like on the outside, but we got that changed to gyprock. They've moved fire bells for us and fire extinguishers have been moved and we've asked for additional plugs to light up showcases."

Beattie said NACA is now advertising for commissioned pieces of artwork to fill the empty walls, display cabinets and pedestals and that applications from Western Arctic artists would also be accepted.

"We're leaving it wide open. My goal is to get the word out there to all the galleries, to the artists, to the hamlets, to the radios, so it's being announced all over," said Beattie.

She explained that once the expression-of- interest period closed, a jury would be formed early in February and it was its responsibility to start making decisions on which pieces would actually grace the new building.

Beattie said NACA was now deciding who should be on the jury, but she assumed representatives from across Nunavut, different artistic mediums, the architect and the Nunavut Construction Corp. would all participate.

The overall goal for the project is to choose pieces of art to represent all 27 Nunavut communities.

Interested parties or sponsors can contact Beattie at Nunavut Arctic College in Iqaluit for an application form.

Jack's last show

Interim Commissioner Jack Anawak appears on television this Wednesday evening for the final episode of the Interim Commissioner's Report.

Airing at 7 p.m. (ET) on TVNC, Anawak and his co-host, Jonah Kelly, will talk about the Nunavut legislative assembly and how residents of the new territory can use it to benefit their lives.

This is the tenth episode of the program, designed to help Nunavut residents better understand the incoming bureaucracy. Other segments have included health and social services, justice and community government, housing and transportation.