Around Iqaluit

December 23, 2005

Iqaluit this week

Christmas games

Christmas games started yesterday and run to Dec. 31 this year.

Games will take place in the Abe Okpik Hall in Apex tonight until Saturday, Dec. 24.

There will be no games on Christmas day.

Games resume in Apex on Monday, Dec. 26, starting at 7 p.m. at the Abe Okpik Hall and running every night until Saturday, Dec. 31.

Iqaluit games begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26 at the parish hall on where they will also take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, games move to the Cadet Hall. On Saturday, games and a feast start at 6 p.m. at the Arctic Winter Games arena.

This year’s snowmobile parade begins at Nakasuk School at midnight, Dec. 31.


Around Iqaluit

December 16, 2005

Iqaluit this week

Christmas games

Christmas games in Apex and Iqaluit run from Thursday, Dec. 22 to Dec. 31 this year.

Games will take place in the Abe Okpik Hall in Apex from Thursday, Dec. 22 to Saturday, Dec. 24.

There will be no games on Christmas day.

Games resume in Apex on Monday, Dec. 26, starting at 7 p.m. at the Abe Okpik Hall and running every night until Saturday, Dec. 31.

Iqaluit games begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 26 at the parish hall on where they will also take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, games move to the Cadet Hall. On Saturday, games and a feast start at 6 p.m. at the Arctic Winter Games arena.

This year’s snowmobile parade begins at Nakasuk School at midnight, Dec. 31.

Christmas toy drive

D.J. Sensation’s gift shop is collecting Christmas toys for children. Drop off gifts at Tumiit Plaza, building #626.

Santa parade winners

Arctic Ventures won Best Float in this year’s Santa Claus parade. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association won Best Kid’s Entry. Northmart took the prize for Most Creative float and Qikiqtaluk Corp. won for Best Holiday Spirit.

The City of Iqaluit also offers special thanks to Tower Arctic, Northmart, recreation workers Simon, Todd and Levi, and most especially to Dave Angrove of Baffin Building Systems.


December 16, 2005

Asphalt plant leaking oil, city says

The city of Iqaluit wants Baffin Building Systems to close its asphalt plant and clean up oil spills at the site.

That’s because between 1,500 to 2,000 cubic metres of soil have been contaminated with petroleum around the immediate area, according to a motion passed by council after an in camera sitting on Nov. 22.

The city plans to bill the company for the cost of managing, monitoring and cleaning up the mess. It will also order the company to dismantle and remove the plant by July 1, 2006, under the direction of federal and territorial regulators. These plans are all subject to legal approval from the city’s lawyers.

The asphalt plant is located in North 40, the city’s abandoned metal dump and its current source of gravel. BBS built the plant several years ago after winning a contract to pave the city’s streets.

The council motion passed unanimously. BBS did not return phone calls before Nunatsiaq News press-time the next day.


December 16, 2005

Iqaluit prepares for union talks

The city of Iqaluit’s administration is preparing for talks with its unionized workers on a new collective agreement in the New Year.

The city’s chief administrative officer, Ian Fremantle, will spend three days in Yellowknife with his director of finance and human resources officer to meet with the city’s lawyers, from Jan. 11 to Jan 13.

The subject of their meeting is the collective agreement with city workers, signed in August 2003 and set to expire at the end of June 2006.

“As you know, at any time between May and June we could be put on notice by PSAC,” Fremantle said during a Dec. 13 council meeting.

“We’ll be going through from cover to cover with solicitors in Yellowknife to make sure we’re ready.”


December 16, 2005

Plateau II gets go-ahead

Iqaluit’s city council approved plans to begin phase two of the Plateau subdivision this coming summer.

That means residents could see another 45 to 50 lots developed in the next year, at a cost of about $4 million.

That money comes from the city’s development fund, a pot of money that’s separate from the rest of the city’s finances. The fund is refilled when residents buy property or pay down their leases.

Lots from the first phase of the Plateau subdivision sold out quickly during a ballot draw in April. With no end to Iqaluit’s housing shortage in sight, the city’s lands officials expect the new lots will be snatched up as well.


December 16, 2005

Joshua Kango to head Amarok HTA

Joshua Kango was elected chairperson of the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association in Iqaluit during a vote that didn’t get underway until after midnight at the organization’s annual general meeting this past Monday.

The previous chairperson, Michael Qappiq, stepped down earlier this year after being charged with drinking and driving. Qappiq was replaced by acting chairperson Sammy Josephee. Josephee was re-elected to the board for another term.

Also re-elected were Jeetaloo Kakee, Nutarajuk Arnauyumayuq and Norman Ishulutak.

Three new members were also elected: Nash Sageatook, Jacob Shaimaiyuk and Naulaq Inookie.

All of the board members were elected to serve two-year terms. That could change when the board implements new bylaws to extend the length of the terms, as voted on by the members.


December 16, 2005

Polar bear season opens Feb. 1

Polar bear season will open in Iqaluit on Feb. 1, 2006.

The Amarok HTA has 23 polar bear tags this year, but that number was reduced to 22 after scientists reported an accidental polar bear kill near Resolution Island. The quota of 22 could be further reduced this year if too many female bears are taken.

The membership voted to keep 15 tags open for any members to use, and to put seven tags into a ballot draw.

Last year, 23 polar bears were killed, 15 of which were males. The majority of the bears were older than five years, and only one was under the age of three. That bear was a defence kill, shot by a wildlife officer.


December 16, 2005

HTO wants polar bear studies stopped

Scientists should not be allowed to tranquilize polar bears for scientific studies, said the membership of the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association this past Monday, when members voted unanimously to pass a motion calling for an end to the studies.

Discussion started when Jeetaloo Kakee, an HTA board member, told an animated story to the crowd, which had dwindled to about 40 people around by 11 p.m.

Kakee described traveling with a scientific team studying polar bears from Aug. 26 to Sept. 22. He recounted, in detail, how scientists flew in a helicopter until they spotted a bear, then tranquilized it before getting closer to take samples while it was asleep.

“We would always rush going to see that polar bear!” he said, in Inuktitut, laughing.

He described how scientists measured the bear from head to tail, around its chest, and the size of its nose. They clip fingernails, he said, and take a piece of skin from around the earlobe to put into a little bag. Next, they tattoo the bear on the lips, and pierce the bear’s ear with a plastic tag, and put an ointment on the ear to prevent infection. They also spray the bear with a bright color so they can see from the air which bears have already been tagged.

Kakee held up a screwdriver to illustrate about how long the tranquilizer needle is that delivers the dose of tranquilizer, and he also mentioned that it is not safe to eat polar bear meat from a bear that was tranquilized, as the chemical remains in the bear for a whole month, and sometimes up to a year.

Kakee also described how one polar bear cub was killed when the tranquilizer needle punctured its spine.

“It was paralyzed and losing blood. As a hunter you can’t forget that experience.”

That disturbed several audience members.

“As a hunter, I do not agree with this at all,” said David Alexander. “I am a hunter who provides food.”

Natsiq Kango agreed, and made the motion that polar bears not be tranquilized for the studies.

One audience member asked Kakee why he co-operated with the scientists.

“If I were not there, you wouldn’t have heard what I witnessed,” Kakee said.


December 16, 2005

Northmart arson attempts land youth in restorative justice

Police charged a 14-year-old boy with arson in Iqaluit during the afternoon of Dec. 3.

The arrest followed a suspicious fire inside Northmart.

The RCMP forensic unit concluded the fire was set in the staff washroom and storehouse. Staff quickly extinguished the fire, avoiding much damage to the building.

The 14-year-old will be dealt with in the restorative justice system, police say.


December 16, 2005

Thirteen hunters awarded new gear

Thirteen Iqalummiut got hunting equipment from the Nunavut Harvester Support Program this year.

This year, the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association took applications for equipment, so they could decide who should get what equipment. Last year, hunters were determined by a lottery draw, which resulted in some people getting equipment that they didn’t plan to use.

Poasie Nowdlak got a 50-horsepower outboard motor; Jomie Aipeelee got a 60- horsepower outboard; and Kowmagiak Mitsima got a 70-horsepower outboard.

Jotah Adla and Joanasie Shaimaiyuk each got a 22-foot freighter canoe. Mathewsie Kilabuk and Peter Aningmiuq each got a 24-foot freighter canoe. Jeremiah Veevee and Sammy Josephee each got a 20-foot welded aluminum boat.

Pauloosie Lucassie and Jacob Shaimaiyou each got a 550 cc snowmobile. Joseph Teemotee Mitsima and Naulaq Inookie each got a 340 cc snowmobile.


December 16, 2005

Knife gets student thrown out of school

A 13-year-old student pulled a knife on a teaching assistant in Inuksuk High School on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

The student has been suspended from school for 20 days, with a recommendation to expel. Criminal charges are still pending, according to police.

The incident occurred in the school hallways while classes were in session. Two students burst from one classroom, one chasing another down the hall. A classroom support assistant stopped the child in pursuit and pinned him against a row of lockers.

That’s when the student drew a small folding knife, just longer than a pen once unfolded.

When four police officers arrived at the scene shortly afterwards, the student had already been disarmed and was speaking to a school counselor. Police arrested the child, who has since been released to his family.

“The school is safe,” said Christa Kunuk, chair of the Iqaluit District Education Authority, who otherwise remained tight-lipped about the incident.

School staff were told by IDEA not to speak to the media about the incident, according to principal Terry Young.


December 16, 2005

Attempted robbery unsolved

Iqaluit RCMP are calling for more information about an attempted robbery on Dec. 8.

A man grabbed a woman walking in the White Row area and demanded money during the early hours of that day. When she refused, he ran away. Police are asking for information from the public.

 


December 9, 2005

Iqaluit this week

Santa Claus parade

Saturday, Dec. 10, 11 a.m. This year's Santa Claus parade will once again begin at the Arctic Winter Games Arena and wind its way to the Parish Hall. For information or to register a float, call the City's recreation department at 979-5617.

Food bank "stuff a bus"

Saturday, Dec. 10, at Northmart from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Arctic Ventures from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Nunavut Food Bank will attempt to stuff an entire bus full of non-perishable food from grocery shoppers. For info, call 979-4242.

Human rights book launch

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m., Unikkaarvik Visitors Centre. Jack Anawak will be at the visitors' centre to launch his new booklet, "Who is Equal?: The passage of Nunavut's First Human Rights Act" on Human Rights Day. The book will be available free of charge; refreshments will be served.

Christmas concert

Monday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m., Inuksuk High School. The Iqaluit Music Society and Inuksuk High present a Christmas concert featuring the high school choir, concert band and teacher's band as well as the youth bell choir, the Iqaluit community choir and band, the Tulugait Strings and soloists. Admission is free; donations are accepted at the door.


December 9, 2005

Parents need to be involved in school

The first day of school should be for parents, said a parent attending the Iqaluit District Education Authority's annual general meeting at Inuksuk High School last Tuesday night.

Many parents don't send their kids to school, don't come to parent teacher nights, and are generally "disengaged" from their children's education, the parent said.

IDEA chair Christa Kunuk said part of the problem is that parents are intimidated by the school system.

"I think there's an intimidation factor," Kunuk said, pointing out that many parents of this generation went to residential school, and many were also taught not to ask questions, which makes it difficult for them to find out just what is expected of them.

IDEA member Jeannie Eeseemailie agreed.

"Parents who are older than me don't really have an understanding of the school system," she said. "They want to come, but some are kind of confused about what exactly is expected of them."

All of the school principals warmly greeted the suggestion of an orientation day for parents, where they could meet the teachers, learn about the school system and ask questions.

"Even if it takes time, that would be worth it if we kept doing it every year," said acting Joamie School principal Eelee Higgins.


December 9, 2005

Plateau II recommended

Iqaluit's engineering and planning committee of the whole voted to recommend to council to move ahead with phase two of the Plateau subdivision during the 2006 construction season.

That plan would see another 45 to 50 lots added to the city's newest subdivision, at a cost of about $4 million.

That money comes from the city's development fund, a pot of money that's separate from the rest of the city's finances. The fund is refilled when residents buy property or pay down their leases.

When lots from the first phase of the Plateau went up for sale through a ballot draw this April, they sold out immediately. Clarissa Lo from the city's lands department anticipates they won't have trouble selling more.

"There's a demand out there," she said.


December 9, 2005

Iqaluit councilors slam snowmobiles

Iqaluit city councilors are calling for a special meeting on snowmobiles in the New Year.

"I want snowmobiles out of the core area, going at astronomical speeds, and missing me by inches," said Coun. Nancy Gillis, during a committee of the whole meeting on Dec. 6.

The committee decided it will recommend to council that a special meeting be held on snowmobile issues in mid-January, before the legislature sits.

That meeting would aim at deciding where snowmobiles belong, and dealing with public safety and noise concerns.

It would also deal with problems the city has encountered in building proposed snowmobile trails.

City staff hoped the small snow-clearing machines used to clear pedestrian walkways could also create these trails. But the mini-snowplows are equipped with wheels, rather than tracks, making them unsuitable for rolling across the tundra.

But public safety is the big subject on the minds of councilors.

Coun. Glenn Williams said he's seen people nearly clipped by snowmobiles as they leave DJ Ventures with their heads down, opening a pack of smokes.

"Somebody's going to be whacked," he said.

Claude Martel said the vehicles should be barred from city streets: "They can't be on the road. That's it."

Others said a ban would be wishful thinking.

"It's so much a part of the culture here, you won't be able to eliminate them completely," Theresa Rodrigue said.

City bylaws governing snowmobiles do currently exist, calling for direct travel from home to destination during the early hours to restrict noise. But because bylaw officers don't patrol on snowmobiles, enforcement is a problem.


December 2, 2005

Iqaluit this week

Live theatre: Nuliajuk

Tonight, tomorrow and Sunday, Dec. 2 to Dec. 4, 8 p.m., the Cadet Hall. The Qaqqig Theatre Co. presents its first original bi-lingual production, Nuliajuk, featuring Celina Kalluk, Vinnie Karetak, Sylvia Cloutier and Jeff Tabvahtah. To buy tickets, $10, call 979-2637. Some tickets will be available at the door. There will be a special pay-what-you-can performance on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Candle Light Service Tuesday

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 3 p.m., Anglican Parish Hall. Everyone is invited to join the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council on the National Day of Remembrance and Action of Violence Against Women. Dec. 6 marks the 16th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when 14 young female students were killed while at school in Montreal. "The day is also a day to pause and reflect on the continuing high levels of violence against women in Nunavut," a Qulliit press release said.

Jewellery and metalwork sale

Friday, Dec. 9, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Nunavut Arctic College main campus. Arctic college jewellery and metalwork students will hold their annual Christmas sale, featuring Christmas ornaments and other artwork.


December 2, 2005

Iqaluit budget meetings postponed

The city of Iqaluit cancelled its budget meetings, scheduled for Thursday and Friday this past week.

That means the city will likely enter a new fiscal year on Jan. 1 without a budget to guide its spending.

The meetings will be rescheduled for shortly after the Christmas holidays, said Ian Fremantle,the city's chief administrative officer.

The city has requested a 30-day extension from the Government of Nunavut, whose legislation calls for municipal budgets to be submitted before the New Year.

But that hasn't always happened in the past, said Fremantle, who has heard of past administrations filing new budgets as late as May. "And that's not good," he added.

Fremantle announced the cancellation just one day before budget meetings were to begin.

He said city staff hoped some issues holding them back could have been cleared up by then, such as two consultant reports the city is waiting to receive: one on the cost of repairing the sinking AWG arena, and another on the cost of a new municipal pool. But those meetings have been pushed ahead to next week.

"That kind of killed it," he said.

Other issues include recently revised assessments on property taxes, which have added $88 million in value to property around the city. "That's significant," Fremantle said, explaining that would have to be factored into new mill rates.

Problems with new computer software and time needed to translate documents were other obstacles.


December 2, 2005

Parents need to be involved in school

The first day of school should be for parents, said a parent attending the Iqaluit District Education Authority's annual general meeting at Inuksuk High School on Tuesday night.

Many parents don't send their kids to school, don't come to parent teacher nights, and are generally "disengaged" from their children's education, the parent said.

IDEA chair Christa Kunuk said part of the problem is that parents are intimidated by the school system.

"I think there's an intimidation factor," Kunuk said, pointing out that many parents of this generation went to residential school, and many were also taught not to ask questions, which makes it difficult for them to find out just what is expected of them.

IDEA member Jeannie Eeseemailie agreed.

"Parents who are older than me don't really have an understanding of the school system," she said. "They want to come, but some are kind of confused about what exactly is expected of them."

All of the school principals warmly greeted the suggestion of an orientation day for parents, where they could meet the teachers, learn about the school system and ask questions.

"Even if it takes time, that would be worth it if we kept doing it every year," said acting Joamie School principal Eelee Higgins.


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