Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 26, 2015 - 6:59 am

Growing Nunavut community opens bigger hamlet office

"We had long outgrown our previous space"

Arviat's new hamlet office building, which opened Nov. 24, offers more space for its growing population. (HANDOUT PHOTO)
Arviat's new hamlet office building, which opened Nov. 24, offers more space for its growing population. (HANDOUT PHOTO)

People in Arviat have something new to celebrate: the opening of their community’s new $10-million hamlet office.

They joined Nunavut’s minister of Community and Government Services, Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq and Arviat Mayor Bob Leonard Nov. 24 to officially celebrate the opening of the new office.

“As a former hamlet employee who worked in the old office, I understand the importance of this investment for the whole community,” said Nunavut MP Hunter Tootoo via a statement read at the event. “It’s a growing community and I look forward to continued progress in all communities across Nunavut.”

The former Arviat hamlet office was “aged and unable to meet the needs of the growing community,” said a news release from the Government of Nunavut.

The hamlet’s population is now more than 2,600, up from 2,300 five years ago — and this Nunavut community, the third largest in the territory, also has the highest birth rate in Canada with 60 to 70 babies born every year, according to the GN.

“As one of the largest and fastest-growing communities in Nunavut, the workload of the hamlet is always increasing, and we had long outgrown our previous space,” Leonard said in the GN release.

The 570-square-metre building includes staff offices and a much larger council chamber.

This allow for more public meetings and more public participation — and the added, energy-efficient space will also save money for the hamlet, the GN release said.

“I am pleased to be here, in my home community, to officially open Arviat’s hamlet office,” Savikataaq said in the release.

“Investing in quality infrastructure strengthens community economy, wellness and prosperity. The Government of Nunavut is committed to helping all communities succeed. I’m confident this facility will inspire development programs and initiatives in Arviat.”

The GN contributed $2.3 million towards the project, and the Government of Canada provided $7.7 million.

Cambridge Bay in western Nunavut moved into its new $11-million office building last month.

But these two new hamlet offices may be among the last to be built for a while in the territory.

In October, mayors and SAOs at the Nunavut Association of Municipalities meeting in Cambridge Bay learned that the GN now wants to focus capital building plans and money on waste management projects to help hamlets achieve compliance with their Nunavut Water Board licenses.

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