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News Briefs: Monday, May 14, 2012
Tender for water well

The Hamlet of Enterprise will call for tenders this month to drill a water well for community uses, such as the fire department and community garden, along with sampling and flow-testing for a possible water treatment plant in the future.

A large reservoir of water is required at the fire hall for practice and in case of fire. Currently, the hamlet buys the water from the Town of Hay River.

Peter Groenen, the hamlet's senior administrative officer, said the well water will be for non-potable uses. Groenen doesn't expect the drilling to take place until August.

- Paul Bickford

Enterprise bursaries

The Hamlet of Enterprise has created a bursary program to help residents obtain post-secondary education. As many as three annual bursaries of up to $1,000 each will be made available for full-time students in college or university.

The hamlet council approved the bursary program in April.

- Paul Bickford

Medical service stability

A contract physician services in the NWT, was agreed upon by the GNWT and the Northwest Territories Medical Association May 8.

Debbie DeLancey, deputy minister of Health and Social Services, said the agreement provides needed stability to health care services in the territory.

"(Long-term projects) really count on having a stable base of physicians and having our physicians part of the planning," DeLancey said. "Having the contract negotiations out of the way, and knowing we have the contract for four years, that gives us the ability to do that planning and to start working in partnership."

DeLancey said many long-term projects under consideration include a greater use of communications technology, such as a territorial support network where remote health care providers will have 24-hour access to specialist knowledge.

- Lyndsay Herman

Teachers agreement

NWT teachers and the GNWT reached a tentative collective agreement May 4 and expect to complete ratification of the agreement by the end of the month.

"I am pleased that a tentative agreement between the NWT Teachers' Association and the GNWT has been reached, especially in these trying economic times," David Reid, president of the NWT Teacher's Association, stated in a news release.

Both parties recommended moving forward with the agreement, which will regulate teacher salaries, schedules and benefits.

- Lyndsay Herman

Council voting on business licence bylaw


Enterprise council has passed first and second reading of a bylaw that would, if finally approved, create a business licence in the hamlet.

The third reading of the proposed bylaw will take place at the council meeting on July 9.

Peter Groenen, the senior administrative officer with the hamlet, said the two months until the next vote will give residents time to offer comment to councillors or request to appear as a delegation at a council meeting.

However, Groenen doesn't expect the business licence proposal to be controversial.

"Most small towns have business licences," he noted.

Currently, businesses in Enterprise are licensed by the GNWT.

- Paul Bickford

Fundraising fun begins


Fundraising is well underway for the highly-anticipated Kingalik Jamboree. Joanne Ogina, recreation co-ordinator for the hamlet of Ulukhaktok, said she already has some sponsors for the event and will continue hosting community bingo nights to raise more funds.

"All my donation letters were sent out as of last month," she said. "We have secured some sponsors already."

The jamboree, which takes place June 15 to 17, will host traditional and contemporary activities, including seal-skinning, fish-filleting, bannock-making, square dancing, drum dancing, and many others.

Ogina said she anticipates 250 to 300 people to attend, and added that most of the community will be in town for the king eider duck hunting season.

- Lyndsay Herman

Enterprise to review emergency plan


The Hamlet of Enterprise is planning to do a review of its emergency plan and conduct some training for its emergency committee.

It will be issuing an invitational tender this month to find a consultant to do the work.

Peter Groenen, the hamlet's senior administrative officer, said the work will be funded with just over $13,000 from the federal government and a matching amount from the hamlet.

As part of the project, there will also be a tabletop emergency exercise and a live exercise.

- Paul Bickford

Dreamcatcher conference in Edmonton

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

Eight youth in Sachs Harbour are preparing to travel to the Dreamcatcher Aboriginal Youth Conference in Edmonton this fall.

The youth have to collectively raise $30,000 to attend the trip and Andrea Keogak, co-ordinator for the Sachs Harbour Community Corporation, said the corporation is doing what it can to help. Fundraising activities have included cake walks, raffles and bake sales, but the youth are still working hard to meet their goal.

The conference will take place Oct. 12 to 13 through Grant MacEwan University.

- Lyndsay Herman

Coiled fruit basket workshop in Fort Smith

Thebacha/Fort Smith

A workshop on making coiled fruit baskets will be presented early next month at Northern Life Museum in Fort Smith.

The two-day workshop, which will be instructed by Rosanna Strong of Yellowknife, will be held on June 2 and 3.

It will explore a sculptural technique to create unique baskets using rope, raffia, wool and embellishments.

Participants will make tenerifes, a base starter in pine needle basketry using waxed thread and a metal ring. The basket can be used to hold fruit or other items.

- Paul Bickford

Student achievement recognized


Moose Kerr School has been busy with student recognition and after school programs, said Bobbie Greenland, administrative assistant for Moose Kerr School.

The school celebrated hard working students at the Aklak assemblies that took place May 3 and 4. The assemblies are held approximately every two months, and students who show excellence in areas like academics, attendance and school values receive certificates to recognize their work and achievements.

Members of the Junior Rangers were treated to one of their bi-annual visits by the Canadian Rangers on Tuesday. The Rangers take member students on training exercises to provide them with fun, educational and rewarding experiences. Junior Rangers also travel to Whitehorse each summer as part of the program.

- Lyndsay Herman

Drop-in Days


The Midnight Sun Recreation Centre may not be quite as busy as it is during hockey season, but its regular programming is keeping kids and adults active.

Dennis Bulay, administrative assistant for the centre, said the facility is not quite as hectic because the ice rink is converted from an ice floor to a dry floor.

"It's not really busy. It's not really slow because there's no ice in here anymore," said Bulay. "When summer comes in we take out the ice and we do some different stuff with the ice skating rink."

Bulay said the centre hopes to turn the dry floor into a "Drop Zone" this month. The Drop Zone will be a space where community members can participate in activities including batting cages, basketball or ball hockey.

The centre is still offering its regular programming in the meantime. Weekly Saturday swimming lessons for children consistently has 15 or more students enrolled throughout the morning. Alternating boys and girls nights are also held every Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for kids aged five to 12.

- Lyndsay Herman

Bear hunt closing


The polar and grizzly bear hunting season, which started last September, will close at the end of this month and the Hunters and Trappers Committee only has a few tags left.

"We started out with 26 tags," said Jocelyn Noksana, secretary for the Hunters and Trappers Committee. "Out of 26 polar bear tags we have only five left. And then out of the 11 grizzly, that's including east and west, I only have three. This year we had an increase in our tags, in our grizzly and polar bear tags our quota went up a little bit."

Noksana said the committee usually sells almost all of the tags each year and, even with the quota increased this year, they expect to do the same.

- Lyndsay Herman

Qulliq and union reach tentative agreement


Voting starts today in Iqaluit on a new collective agreement between Qulliq Energy Corporation and the Nunavut Employees Union.

It will continue in Rankin Inlet on May 16 and in Cambridge Bay on May 22.

The collective agreement between the energy corporation and its approximately 160 unionized employees expired on Dec. 31, 2010.

The three-year tentative collective agreement would see wages increase 2.5 per cent retroactively for 2011 and two per cent each for 2012 and 2013, according to information posted on the corporation's website. It adds all QEC employees at date of ratification will get $1,100 and overtime would be allowed to be banked, up to a certain limit.

If ratified, the agreement would be effective retroactively to Jan. 1, 2011.

Both parties will sent the tentative agreement for ratification but no timeline could be provided.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Patrol ships delayed another three years


Arctic residents won't see the federal government's $3-billion patrol ships for at least another seven years, National Defence stated in a status report tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

The report shows the Royal Canadian Navy's arctic offshore patrol ships (AOPS) will not be delivered until 2018, three years later than expected last year, and five years later than originally planned. The details are outlined in National Defence's 2012-13 Status Report on Transformational and Major Crown Projects.

The project's budget is now $3.074 billion, excluding tax - only slightly more than the original $3.067 billion first budgeted in the 2008/09 report, but that number included tax.

The project budget includes six to eight ships, a 25-year service contract, and the required infrastructure in Nanisivik, Halifax, and Esquimalt, B.C.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. in Halifax will be making the ships.

"Previous dates for AOPS were based on a traditional competitive procurement strategy," the report stated. "Engagement with ISI has begun and the dates in this submission reflect a schedule that takes into account a collaborative approach, ISI's shipyard infrastructure improvements and production strategy."

The first ship will be operating in 2019, and the project will reach full operational status by 2023 with an end date of 2024, four years later than originally planned.

- Casey Lessard

Co-op hotel will reopen this summer


Arctic Co-op Ltd. is currently recruiting a general manager for the Qausuittuq Inns North in Resolute as the hotel has reservations for July, according to the manager of the Inns North Group of Hotels.

The hotel closed around Dec. 20 when the cook/manager's contract ended, wrote Michael Hart in an e-mail.

He added Qausuittuq Inns North is seeking a new general manager, and once that person is chosen, the other vacant hotel positions will be filled. The organization decided not to fill the manager's position immediately, due in part to slower business after the New Year, said Hart.

"We have commitments for July 15 for a large group until early August at this time and (we) will monitor needs while we continue to search for the GM (general manager)," wrote Hart. "We will open earlier if the need is apparent."

The Tudjaat Co-operative Ltd. owns and operates the Qausuittuq Inns North.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Kugaaruk turning 40

Kugaaruk/Pelly Bay

Kugaaruk is turning 40 this year and the community is holding an afternoon of activities on May 14 to mark the occasion.

The hamlet was incorporated April 1, 1972.

Mayor Stephan Inaksajak said the event is certainly cause for celebration.

"I would like to thank all the hamlet workers for the past 40 years. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't be here 40 years from now." "It's 40 years," he said, adding the next four decades should be as good as the first.

A fishing derby and scavenger hunt are some of the indoor and outdoor activities planned for that afternoon. There is also a ceremony with a birthday cake, said Otto Apsaktaun, the hamlet's recreation co-ordinator.

- Jeanne Gagnon

Three-day celebrations in July

Taloyoak/Spence Bay

Invitations were sent out for three days of inauguration celebrations in Taloyoak this July.

The community will celebrate the grand opening of the new water treatment facility on July 10, followed by the inauguration of the new municipal officers the next day, said Chris Dickson, the hamlet's senior administrative officer. The grand reopening of the swimming pool, with its redone interior and new pool liner, will take place July 12.

Tea and bannock will be served at the grand opening of the water plant, a community feast and talent show is planned for the inauguration, and refreshments will be offered at the swimming pool, said Dickson. Premier Eva Aariak, the MLAs, the ministers, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq and people in the private sector involved in the projects are some of the people invited, he added.

"We should have a fairly good turnout. We spread them out over a three-day period so if somebody is only able to attend one, because we do have limited hotel space here, they're spread a little bit to accommodate that," said Dickson. "It should be a very busy and very optimistic week. It should be very fun-filled and community-wide involvement."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Award winner

Qamanittuaq/Baker Lake

Peter Tiktaalaaq of Baker Lake was a cowinner of the annual AgnicoEagle Mines (AEM) Ltd. Paul Penna Award this past month.

Tiktaalaaq has been with AEM at its Meadowbank gold operation since 2009 as a haul truck driver.

The Paul Penna Award is given to an AEM employee who best exemplifies the philosophies of the company's founder.

This marked the fifth year the award has been presented.

- Darrell Greer

Someone turn down the heat


At one degree above normal, communities on the eastern and northern edges of Nunavut were among the regions of Canada that stayed closest to their normal winter temperatures this winter, Environment Canada stated May 7 in its Climate Trends and Variations Bulletin.

A small portion of Labrador and parts of the southern Pacific coast of British Columbia were the only other regions within one degree of normal for the 2011/12 winter.

The western Kivalliq region was the warmest part of Nunavut at 5 C warmer than normal.

The national average was 3.6 C above normal, making it the third warmest winter since 1948. The 2009/10 winter was the warmest.

In the long term, Environment Canada's data shows a continuous warming trend of 3.2 C from the 1961 to 1990 average.

- Casey Lessard

Turbot beats char

Qikiqtarjuaq/Broughton Island

A good season for Pangnirtung's turbot fishermen is making life a little tougher for Qikiqtarjuaq's Arctic char fishermen, Inuktivut Hunters and Trappers Association manager Harry Alookie said.

"The fishermen are having a hard time selling their catches due to the large volume of turbot at Pangnirtung Fisheries this year," Alookie said. "There's no room right now because they're overloaded."

The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the community freezer is old.

"Fishermen are able to freeze them in there, but it's time consuming," he said. "When it gets warmer, it's a problem."

At this time of year, carrying a 1,000-pound load over slushy ice conditions can take fishermen two days to return from the char lakes to the hamlet, so char arrives spoiled and bruised, he said.

Add in the fact that fish plants prefer fish harvested in the winter, when fattened Arctic char have lost the fat in the journey from the ocean to the lakes, and it's easy to understand why the season is more or less done, he said.

- Casey Lessard

Year-end fun for Kugaaruk students

Kugaaruk/Pelly Bay

A school-wide water balloon fight and chocolate-covered ants are on the menu for Kugaaruk School students as they enjoy a week of fun-filled activities before school ends for the summer on May 23.

Principal Michael Bartley said it's going to be carnival week for kindergarten to Grade 9 students from May 14 to 18, with activities including the Silent Library, featuring quick, fun challenges such as eating crickets and chocolate-covered ants. He added they will also have a Kugaaruk's Got Talent contest on May 18, which a new event in the year-end lineup. The last day of school, May 23, will feature prizes for attendance and a school-wide water balloon fight, said Bartley.

"I think this Kugaaruk's Got Talent is going to be a real hit because they are now getting used to being in front of the crowd and having fun," he said. "It's (school) a place for learning, a place for fun, a place for learning about life ... You learn everything in school and this is one of them. School is a fun, good place to be."

- Jeanne Gagnon

Grise Fiord goes fishing

Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

Grise Fiord is getting ready for its annual Victoria Day fishing derby, assistant senior administrative officer Marty Kuluguqtuq said.

"This year we're going to Devon Island, about 100 km due southwest from us," Kuluguqtuq said of the event, which takes place May 19 to 21. About 75 per cent of the hamlet's residents usually take part, he said.

Prize values and categories have not yet been determined, but usually include cash prizes for the longest and heaviest fish, as well as for getting closest to a size kept secret from competitors.

The contestants are broken into age groups for six to 12, and 13 and over.

- Casey Lessard

Training opportunity

Rankin Inlet/Kivalliq

Kivalliq beneficiaries are reminded the Sakku Investments Corp, through its Nunami Stantec company, will be offering an environmental monitor training program in Rankin Inlet from June 4-30.

The program provides students with a basic understanding of the theory of environmental management and monitoring, as well as hands-on training for a variety of sampling and monitoring techniques.

Those who complete the program will be qualified to act as field assistants in environment baseline data and monitoring activities, conduct routine compliance monitoring and perform other monitoring duties.

Those interested in the training can contact Robert Tookoome at the Sakku Investments office in Rankin for more information.

- Darrell Greer