Arctic Bay resident thankful for GN visit
The residents of Arctic Bay just had a visit from Premier Paul Okalik, the Honorable David Simailak and the Honorable Peter Kilabuk.
I’m grateful that they took the time to come to Arctic Bay and listen to community concerns in regards to the closure of the Nanisivik Mine. I think this was the first visit of its kind that a premier and two ministers made to a community to listen to concerns.
In respect to that, I’m proud to say we have a unique government that is willing to work with the people. Some comments were that they were too late to visit, but I don’t think so. We can’t do much now with all the demolition of the buildings in Nanisivik, as the plans were to leave Nanisivik at its natural state, and we can only hope that there won’t be any contaminants left behind once the clean-up is completed.
With the visit, I’ve come to realize how much our designated Inuit organizations have done for us here in Arctic Bay. The Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the agencies under QIA have provided available funds to communities that Arctic Bay has taken advantage of. For example, the funds we receive from Kakivak that are important to us are for: the youth friendship centre; the day care; small tools grants for carvers; and small business grants and loans.
Our youth committee receives support from the QIA, the hunter support program from NTI. There is so much more that the DIOs have done for our community that the government has not done.
You see, because we had Nanisivik, the government ignored Arctic Bay for many years. The government building in Arctic Bay was finally condemned last year as it was one of the first buildings built in Arctic Bay, so they renovated an old portable school and made it into a government building.
The infrastructure in Arctic Bay is old. There is no community hall, so the school gym is used for everything, and it is now too small for the whole community to fit in to.
The school closes down often due to problems with the sprinkler systems and the pipes, which freeze up. There are some public housing units that are so old that they reek of mould. That’s why I think this was the perfect time for the government officials to visit Arctic Bay.
They have seen with their own eyes what we need, and I’m happy to hear that they will be setting aside money for a five-year capital plan geared towards Arctic Bay. Thank you for your visit. I hope you’ll visit us again in five years.