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Keeping cache on hand

Repaired freezer filling up in Repulse Bay

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Repulse Bay (Oct 24/01) - Consider for a moment the story of the ant and the grasshopper.

While the ant diligently used the warm days of summer to build up a store of supplies for the winter, the grasshopper spent his the days loafing, lazing, and generally being a twit. Guess who got the last laugh when the snow started to fall?

No one's doing any laughing in Repulse Bay. Much like the ant in the tale, people here are too busy making provision for the winter.

That means storing goods in Repulse Bay's community freezer. Unlike the ant, though, people here had to wait.

"One of the compressors on the freezer wasn't working. It was leaking freon," says Steven Kopak, Repulse Bay's financial officer. Unlike some Northern communities, The hamlet's deep freeze is the genuine mechanical type. In Tuktoyaktuk, large tunnels have been dug deep into the permafrost to cache perishables.

The 7.5-metre-square walk-in has been back to full strength for a few weeks now, says Kopak. "It usually starts to fill up around the middle of the month of July to August," he says.

Luckily, cold August temperatures gave way to a relatively balmy September, which allowed people more time to pick berries, catch meat and fish, and prepare for the winter.

When repairs were completed, Kopak said people started using their personal shelves in the freezer.

"People put everything in there," says Kopak. "Meat, frozen vegetables. On top of that, the Northern Store has their own freezer," which means more capacity for the people of Repulse Bay.