Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit May 14, 2014 - 11:59 am

Iqaluit school kids take Apex complaints to city council

Teacher brings students to city hall for civics lesson

PETER VARGA
A group of Nanook elementary school students at an Iqaluit city council meeting May 13. Their teacher, Jeremy Smith, far right, brought them there to list problems that need fixing in Apex. (PHOTO BY PETER VARGA)
A group of Nanook elementary school students at an Iqaluit city council meeting May 13. Their teacher, Jeremy Smith, far right, brought them there to list problems that need fixing in Apex. (PHOTO BY PETER VARGA)

If you see too many things that aren’t quite right in your neighbourhood, take it straight to your municipal council.

That’s what a schoolteacher in Iqaluit’s community of Apex taught his students May 13.

Jeremy Smith brought 10 of his students from Nanook Elementary School in Apex to a city council meeting that evening, where they took turns describing a list of issues in the area that they want the city to fix.

Unmarked and unwieldy speed bumps, littering, loose dogs, and dangerous roads topped the list, as described by a mix of Grade 3 to Grade 5 students.

Smith had his students list their complaints as part of a class lesson in civics, he said. The group of 10 strung the list together to recite to city council.

“We felt that these could be addressed by you guys tonight,” Smith told council, who then had each of the students read out their top issues, one by one.

Kids identified the issues as problems they see “every day” in Apex that “we want the city to fix,” said one student.

The first student to take the delegate’s microphone highlighted “the unmarked speed bumps, the littering in Apex, the bumpy roads, the loose dogs that want to bite,” as well as the detour around the community’s bridge, now closed for repairs, where “people are driving too fast,” she said.

Other students pointed to the same problems, and described some in more detail.

“Some speed bumps are too big, so some people are driving around them,” one young man said. “This could damage cars and hurt people if they are not paying attention, and it could cost them a lot of money to fix.”

“There is too much litter,” said another student. “We need more trash cans outside so people will have a place (to put) their garbage.”

One student called for the city to take action on loose dogs, suggesting municipal enforcement insist people keep their canines leashed.

The poor state of Apex’s main roads, especially the roadway linking the community to the rest of Iqaluit, came up in most complaints.

“It’s a bumpy and bad ride,” said one student. The city should paint lines on the road to keep drivers on the right side of the road, she added.

“We would like to thank you for listening,” said the closing speaker, adding “we would like our concerns to be answered.”

Coun. Kenny Bell assured the group that “we’ve talked about these problems quite fiercely for a while now — we’re definitely trying,” he said.

Bell thanked Nanook School principal and Mathew Knickelbein, a former councillor himself, who accompanied the group.

Knickelbein “definitely knows how to get attention of council, which is nice,” Bell laughed.

Deputy mayor Mary Wilman, who chaired the meeting, also thanked the students. “I think they’re all future leaders,” she said.

 

 

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