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Bears and beers and strikes, oh my! Nunavut stories you liked most

Iqaluit’s elusive white visitor topped the list of popular online stories last week

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

It was a week chock-a-block with news and readers flocked to our website to find out what was going on, especially after a big, four-legged tourist lumbered through Nunavut’s capital city on Thursday.

A round up of our top stories last week included news about polar bears, airplanes, weather, money and beer, not necessarily in that order.

So here, according to Google Analytics pageviews, are the stories you liked most on Nunatsiaqonline.ca from July 12 to July 18.

Our top story — what a surprise — was about the furry white tourist who lumbered through Iqaluit and then disappeared from view down near the causeway July 16.

Now, for people in Arviat, or maybe Resolute Bay, polar bears in town are just a normal occurrence. But government workers and others in Nunavut’s populous capital were pretty shocked, sitting at their cubicles and looking out the window to see a polar bear in town.

Wildlife officers are still on the lookout in case it returns. Another bear, scavenging in Iqaluit’s dump, had to be destroyed last week.

Our second most popular online story gave an overview of issues plaguing First Air, including runway construction at the airport, bad weather and layoffs

A shortened, and more narrow, runway at the Iqaluit airport has required pilots to use visual flight rules instead of instrument landings. Low cloud cover and persistent precipitation around Iqaluit meant a dozen or so flights had to be rerouted or cancelled.

First Air also laid off 20 staff as a result of its new codesharing partnerships with Calm Air and Canadian North and all but two of those employees took similar jobs with the other airlines.

First Air also announced it was hiring 28 new staff in Iqaluit and Ottawa to service it’s new cargo partnership with Cargojet.

Readers also flocked to a story about the announcement that unionized employees at the Qulliq Energy Corp. would hit the picket line July 16.

The Nunavut Employees Union and the Government of Nunavut’s finance department tried collective bargaining for 18 months but failed to produce a new contract, even with the help of a mediator.

Unionized staff are now in day five of the strike. Emergency power services are still functioning in every community.

The next most popular item on Nunatsiaqonline came out of Iqaluit city council. Two Iqaluit-based groups are hoping to launch craft breweries in Nunavut’s capital.

The Nunavut Brewing Co. and the Iqaluit Brewing Co. each got a green light from councillors and now must get approval from the Nunavut Liquor Licensing Board.

The board could begin holding community consultations as early as this fall.

The final story to make our top five list concerned a decision by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to audit the Nunavut Planning Commission.

That decision, to pore over the commission’s books, may have been prompted by a May 8 letter from Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna to AANDC Minister Bernard Valcourt suggesting an audit may be necessary to determine how the commission spends its money and whether its budget is ample enough.

Valcourt delivered a double whammy to the commission last week when he allowed the latest proposed changes to Baffinland Iron Mines’ shipping operations to bypass the commission’s land use rules and go directly to the Nunavut Impact Review Board instead.

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