Iqaluit in 2012: a look back at the year that was
Nunavut’s capital copes with devastating fire, infrastructure headaches
• A torrent of water from a broken water mains pipe near Inuksuk High School around midnight Jan. 13 forces a virtual shut-down of most activity in Iqaluit, as city workers work all night and all morning to fix the damage. Millions of litres of water were lost from the city’s reservoir in about 20 minutes, causing substantial flooding in the breakwater area.
• Iqaluit resident Aaju Peter is named to the Order of Canada for her work promoting Inuit culture.
• Air Greenland announces plans to re-launch the once popular Iqaluit-Nuuk route in the summer of 2012.
• The City of Iqaluit releases a statement of defence denying allegations made by former senior employee, Michele Bertol, who in 2011 presented the city with a wrongful dismissal lawsuit.
• A 21-year Iqaluit man appears in court Feb. 14 to face 15 charges alleging sex offences against children and youth, including procuring.
• An Iqaluit girl who was under the age of 18 at the time of the offence, is convicted of using a broken broomstick in the 2009 anal rape of an Iqaluit man and will serve 13 months in custody, plus an additional 45 days, for four breaches of undertakings she committed as an adult.
• A massive fire destroys the 300 block of rowhouse units at Creekside Village in Iqaluit. The fire starts just before 10 p.m. on Feb. 26, and burns all night amidst -50 C windchills, leaving 83 people homeless. Twenty-seven year-old Andrew Papatsie and 25-year-old Connie Papatsie, both residents of Iqaluit whose mother is a student at Arctic College, die in the fire.
• The Government of Nunavut makes plans for a temporary jail in Iqaluit to relieve overcrowding at the Baffin Correctional Centre.
• A long-awaited inquest into circumstances surrounding the 2009 death of Adamie Alariaq Nutaraluk, 56, inside an RCMP jail cell in Iqaluit, begins March 12 at the Nunavut Court of Justice. The death is later ruled “accidental.”
• Nunavut’s Qaggiavuut Society gets backing from Iqaluit City Council in the form of a letter of support, as it moves ahead with a feasibility study for a performing arts centre in Iqaluit.
• Flags fly at half-mast at Iqaluit’s City Hall, the elders qammaq and the Arctic Winter Games Arena in honour of Deputy Mayor David Ell, 53, who died unexpectedly on the afternoon of March 26.
• The Chartroom Lounge, a bar located inside Iqaluit’s Navigator Inn, will suffer an eight-day licence suspension from March 26 until April 3 and pay a $10,000 fine, the Nunavut Liquor Licencing Board ruled March 23.
• Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. opens an office in Iqaluit April 17.
• Iqaluit city councillors praise the RCMP April 17 for Operation Vegas, a series of busts that scooped up half a dozen small-time drug peddlers from the front of the Northmart store and other public spaces.
• Iqaluit City Council said yes April 17 to the idea of declaring the first Friday of Toonik Tyme an all-day holiday, when they give first reading to a new civic holiday bylaw for Toonik Tyme.
• New artificial turf at the Arctic Winter Games arena, which provides for recreational soccer during the summer, is unveiled May 19.
• Theo Fleury, the former NHL star, visits the Frobisher Inn May 22 and offers advice on how to cope with child sexual abuse.
• Students at Iqaluit’s Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit get an afternoon off May 28 when a bomb threat sends everyone home.
• David “Ed” Devries, 53, of Iqaluit is sentenced to six years and 34 days in jail for convictions on drug trafficking and sex charges in a June 6 ruling.
• A food price protest associated with the Feeding My Family Facebook group is held June 9 across the road from the Iqaluit Northmart store.
• Air Greenland’s inaugural flight from Nuuk touches down in Iqaluit June 15.
• Kakivak Association’s new employment resource centre opens June 20 in Iqaluit.
• A decision by the RCMP to add foot and all-terrain vehicle patrols has helped curb drug trafficking in front of local businesses, Sgt. Kevin Lewis tells Iqaluit City Council.
• The City of Iqaluit plans to start targeting drivers and passengers who don’t wear their seatbelts, Kevin Sloboda, the chief municipal enforcement officer, says June 26 at a city council meeting.
• The Government of Nunavut takes the next step towards a new, privately-built airport in Iqaluit June 29, when they issue a call seeking private groups interested in building and running it. The estimated cost is between $250 million and $300 million.
• An Iqaluit woman faces five criminal charges following an early morning fight July 15 in which police allege one woman used a pit bull dog as a weapon to attack another woman.
• With huge chunks of ice washing up on Iqaluit’s shoreline seemingly overnight, 2012 was an unusual year for ice conditions in Frobisher Bay, says Environment Canada.
• The first day of the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final public hearings on the Mary River iron project, held inside a packed Iqaluit cadet hall, start July 16.
• Mayor Madeleine Redfern announces that she will not contest the Oct. 15 municipal election.
• The Astro Theatre comes under new ownership: Piksuk Media Inc. of Clyde River, owned by Joelie Sanguya, Charlotte DeWolff and Ole Gjerstad, announce Aug. 13 that they’ve bought the business from Bryan Pearson.
• An Iqaluit man facing two sexual assault charges alleged to have occurred at two different locations in Iqaluit Aug. 14 is released on a $1,000 surety.
• An emergency preparedness advisory committee, with representatives from 24 agencies in Iqaluit, starts meeting monthly to create contingency plans to guide action if or when a catastrophe occurs.
• The interim board of the Iqaluit Homeowners Association, the Namminiq Angirraliit Iqalunni, announces plans to revitalize itself.
• Iqaluit restaurant owner Brian Twerdin rescues a woman from frigid sea waters in front of the Grind and Brew restaurant Sept. 30.
• Eulalie Ussak, 53, of Iqaluit, pleads guilty to manslaughter at the Nunavut Court of Justice Oct. 23, conceding that her actions contributed to the death of her husband, Ken MacFarlane, 50, on Dec. 12 2009, when he died of smoke inhalation.
• The old swimming pool at the Astro Hill complex closes indefinitely after the city discovers big cracks in the pool’s basin.
• John Graham, the former manager of the Iqaluit airport, wins big in the Oct. 15 municipal election, taking 71 per cent of the vote to score an easy victory over Al Hayward and Noah Ooloonie Papatsie. About 42 per cent of voters turn out to cast ballots.
• Also on Oct. 15, Iqaluit ratepayers vote in favour of a proposal that gives the City of Iqaluit permission to borrow up to $40 million to pay for a new aquatic centre.
• Inmates set two fires inside the Baffin Correctional Centre in a disturbance that occurs Nov. 12.
• The Iqaluit retail store, Arctic Ventures changes proprietors Nov. 1, when Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. takes over from the man who’s owned it for the past 27 years, Kenn Harper.
• Cody Rennie, 22, receives an 18-month jail sentence Nov. 8 for sexually assaulting three boys under the age of 14 in his taxi cab in 2009.
• Jimmy Nowdlak, 29, an Iqaluit man convicted of manslaughter, has received the legal equivalent of a 12-year sentence for a sexual attack behind Inuksuk High School in 2008 that led to the death of a Pond Inlet woman about two years later.
• The CFRT community radio station launches a new schedule Nov. 23 with a circumpolar dance at the francophone centre.
• Iqaluit City Council honours restaurant owner Brian Twerdin Nov. 27 with a certificate for saving the life of a distraught young Iqaluit woman this past September.
• Iqaluit City Council votes Dec. 3 to not renew its lease for the old swimming pool at the Astro Hill complex. The pool requires at least $160,000 in repairs and the building’s owner, Nunastar, could only guarantee 15-month’s occupancy under a proposed new lease. Council decides to focus its efforts on building a new aquatic complex by 2016.
• Iqaluit’s public health service moves into a new permanent location at building 1091, near the airport.
• Iqaluit residents attend a vigil Dec. 6 to mark the national day of remembrance for women who have died violently, and to honour the memory of 13-year-old murder victim Jennifer Naglingniq, who was found dead Dec. 6, 2002 after a brutal stabbing.
• The Qulliq Energy Corp. announces that it’s revitalizing plans for a hydroelectric project near Iqaluit. The QEC starts a feasibility study and begins preparing a project description for the Nunavut Impact Review Board.
• Eepeebee Campbell, an Iqaluit resident missing on the land since the evening of Dec. 23, is found Dec. 26.