NEWS: Nunavik July 26, 2011 - 8:40 am

Nunavik youth centres a disgrace: youth association

Poor plumbing, polar bears plague Nunavik youth centres

JANE GEORGE

Nunavik’s youth association says young people in Nunavik need more and better youth facilities.

Depending on where they live, youth may have few choices about where to spend their time when they’re in their communities: at their homes, where privacy may be nonexistent, around town, at school, or at a youth centre, a place where they can play games, watch television or engage in other activities.

But youth in Quaqtaq, Puvirnituq and Umiujaq don’t have any youth centres to call their own.

In Quaqtaq, the youth centre was in such poor shape that it moved to the local arena last February. In Puvirnituq, the youth centre also moved to the community centre, as it did in Umiujaq after a string of trailers, which were used by the youth centre since 1983, were finally closed.

Nunavik’s youth association says those communities had no choice but to close down their youth centres.

The youth centres that remain open are in poor condition or too small to meet the needs of youth, who comprise the majority of residents in all Nunavik communities.

There’s no water system or toilet at the youth centre in Salluit, Kangiqsujuaq’s youth centre, an old house, suffers from water damage, and Ivujivik’s youth centre stands in an area of the village where polar bears have been known to lurk, according to information contained in regional plan for new youth centres, distributed earlier this year to the Kativik Regional Government councillors.

In Kangirsuk, the youth centre is located an aging house, in poor shape, which is too close to the busy main road to be safe for younger children.

All the youth centres in Nunavik need some kind of renovation, says Saputiit — and only one, built in 2005 in Kangiqsualujjuaq, is worth saving.

The others need to be replaced, Saputiit says.

Saputiit wants like to see youth centres built throughout Nunavik.

For communities with less than 1,000 residents, a 3,000 square-foot building would be built at an estimated cost of about $2 million.

Youth in communities of 1,000 and up would see new youth centres of 4,000 sq ft., whose construction would cost even more.

While some renovations may flow from a the health board, the $36.9 million or more needed to cover the costs of regional construction program for youth centres isn’t there- yet.

But at the last KRG council meeting chairperson Maggie Emudluk promised to work on this.