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Justice department wants camp reopened

Final decision expected in the new year

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Arviat (Dec 19/01) - The fate of Arviat's alternative justice correctional land camp still has not been decided.

Hamlet senior administrative officer Darren Flynn says Nunavut's Department of Justice would like to see the camp reopen.

He says the department has been lobbying the hamlet to reopen the camp for the past six months.

Hamlet council has looked at a number of different options and held one radio call-in to weigh the community's feelings on reopening the corrections camp.

The program lasted an hour and had 27 callers.

"I was somewhat surprised to hear the vast majority of the callers wanting to see the camp reopened," says Flynn. "Judging strictly by the way it had been brought up in council a couple of times, I figured the majority of people were against it."

Flynn says the hamlet is going to take its time and hold further discussions with community members.

Another call-in is planned for January as community support for the camp appears to be rising. Flynn says if the hamlet does reopen the camp, it will probably run from April until September.

He adds that council may also look at relocating the camp, making it easier to resupply.

Flynn says the pending inquest into inmate Bruce Aasivaaryuk's death during the camp's first year of operation is not the reason it remains closed.

Aasivaaryuk, 25, of Baker Lake died after getting caught in a blizzard while checking trap lines near the camp this past January.

"It was a sad and tragic accident, but it's not why the camp isn't open. We've kept the camp closed up to this point because we want to review how we operate it, including how it's funded," says Flynn.

The camp has to be at least a break-even preposition and can't cost the hamlet money to operate.

He says the municipality is not in a position to subsidize the Department of Justice.

"If hamlet council wants to proceed with the camp once we complete our review next month, we'll go back to the negotiating table with the Department of Justice."