Battered organization starting all over again

Ottawa names new Nunavut planning chair


About a year-and-a-half after the job became vacant, the federal government formalized the appointment this month of a new chairperson for the Nunavut Planning Commission.

Ron Roach, an ex-SAO at the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet, will now chair the commission, replacing Bob Lyall, who left the job in November 2005.

Jim Prentice, the northern development minister, announced Roach's appointment in a press release issued May 14.

Roach has actually done the job since the time of Lyall's departure. He became a member of the commission in November of 2005 and was named "interim chair" at the same time.

Over the spring and summer of 2005, the commission nearly collapsed after some members went public with a list of embarrassing allegations concerning Lyall and the organization's former executive director, Luke Coady.

At the time, the chair's job paid at least $148,000 a year. Some commissioners alleged that, among other things, the chair and executive director withheld information about annual auditors' letters and salary increases.

After a consultant's report found that he "does not appear to have played a strong leadership role" in fixing those problems, Lyall announced in November 2005 that he would not seek re-appointment.

Also, an audit report revealed that in 2004-05, the commission had run up a $138,000 deficit.

Coady departed his executive director's job, and Sharon Ehaloak, a former assistant deputy minister in the GN's health department, replaced him in 2006.

The planning commission, a creation of the Nunavut land claims agreement, employs about 16 people and maintains offices in Cambridge Bay, Arviat, Pond Inlet and Ottawa. Its main function is to produce a land use plan for Nunavut.

But since 1993, they have produced final land use plans for the Kivalliq and North Baffin regions only, mostly based on work done earlier by the federal government.

They have also approved a draft land use plan for the West Kitikmeot, but that plan has yet to be approved.

After a meeting in July 2006, the commission announced a new 10-year work plan that they say will produce a territory-wide land use plan for Nunavut within a decade.

Meanwhile, Prentice has yet to name a new chair for the beleagured Nunavut Water Board.

Glen McLean, the former MLA for Baker Lake, is widely touted as Ottawa's choice, but the position has sat vacant for nearly two years.

But Prentice did announced the reappointment of Robert Moshenko to the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, also on May 14.

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