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Cam Bay pushers risk losing shelter

Kent Driscoll
Northern News Services

Cambridge Bay (Nov 20/06) - Dope dealers and bootleggers in Cambridge Bay may find the winter very cold, thanks to new measures adopted by the Cambridge Bay Housing Association.

The organization has passed a motion that includes drug dealing and bootlegging as violations of the tenancy agreement.

Those who repeatedly violate the tenancy agreement could be evicted, but the process doesn't take place not overnight, said Vicki Aitaok, manager of the association.

"People get four warnings. When they get their fourth and final warning, we make an application to the housing officer to have them removed," said Aitaok.

The housing association's plan is to treat illegal sales of substances as seriously as other violations of the housing agreement, such as making too much noise or damaging the apartment.

Most people in Cambridge Bay live in one of the 212 public housing units.

"In a community of this size, it is probably 60 to 70 per cent of the population," said Aitaok.

Rent is determined through annual income. Every wage earner - minus some exceptions for students returning to school - counts under the existing formula. Those making all their money from illegal activities wouldn't be claiming that income on taxes, meaning they could be paying as low as $60 a month for their "business" rent.

"We are not interested in having these people in public housing," said Aitaok.

Tenants have lodged complaints about drug dealers and bootleggers, according to Aitaok.

"This came up from the tenants. The people are tired of it," she said.

With many people often forced into a single home, the stress of crowded living conditions often hurts elders and youth, the most vulnerable.

In a worst case scenario, elders could lose their homes because someone under their roof keeps selling a bottle.

Aitaok doesn't see this as a problem.

"If they are knowingly allowing this to go on, since when does the law allow elders to break the law," she said.

There are people waiting for those homes, if the association kicks out the dealers.

"We need 49 more units to have nobody on the waiting list. There are 29 people on the waiting list for one bedroom apartments, from as far back as 2003," said Aitaok.

Since 2004, there has only been one eviction from Cambridge Bay public housing. Eight people left their units before eviction proceedings could conclude.