Meeting of the mayors
Constitution and community empowerment top priorities

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 24/97) - Mayors, councillors and territorial government officials will gather in Rankin Inlet this May to discuss community empowerment and other issues of concern.

They'll be attending the NWT Association of Municipalities' annual general meeting from May 9 to 13.

A tentative agenda includes a general overview of property assessment in the NWT, municipalities dealing with insurance policies and claims, formula funding review and open discussion with GNWT ministers.

Hay River Mayor Jack Rowe is in the process of drafting resolutions to bring to the meeting.

He hopes to gain a consensus regarding his town's lobby for a diamond evaluation facility for Hay River. BHP Diamonds Inc. has said it would prefer such a centre be located at the BHP site, 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife.

Rowe plans to give a presentation on community empowerment. "We're satisfied with the way things are going so far," he says.

The municipality of Hay River has been in the process of taking over responsibility for the hospital.

"We've taken over everything but physician services," says Rowe.

He'd like to see that taken over eventually too.

Inuvik Mayor George Roach said the constitution and community empowerment are his two priorities.

He plans to report to the association membership about how Inuvik's government program downloading is proceeding.

Some programs have already been transferred over from the territorial government to the town of Inuvik. A report is currently being written on the transferral of income support.

Other priorities for Inuvik are the proposed highway to Tuktoyaktuk and lobbying for a Mackenzie Highway extension -- "down the road." Roach put it this way: "So people can drive "coast-to-coast-to-coast."

Norman Wells Mayor Max Melnyk, who is also planning to attend the AGM, says his two main concerns are also the constitution and community empowerment.