Firefighters quit CamBay hamlet

“We’re through”



Cambridge Bay’s fire chief and his deputy have each called it quits, fed up with treatment they claim to have received from the hamlet’s senior administrative officer.

“We’re through,” said Peter Laube, citing irreconcilable disagreements with Cambridge Bay’s SAO, Mark Calliou.

Laube’s resignation is effective March 31.

Calliou was on duty travel this week, and has not responded to phone calls that Nunatsiaq News left for him over the last several weeks. No one else at the hamlet is willing to speak, either.

“Nobody here wants to talk to Nunatsiaq News,” the hamlet’s receptionist said this past Tuesday.

Faulty smoke alarms, broken sprinkler systems and emergency exits that won’t open were just a few of the allegations set out in a letter written by Laube this past February.

Laube elaborated on those issues in an interview later with Nunatsiaq News on March 10.

The Government of Nunavut pays hamlets such as Cambridge Bay to maintain buildings and keep them up to fire safety codes.

Laube alleges that this has not been done in Cambridge Bay, and that in some cases, fire safety problems in Cambridge Bay have been ignored for years.

This week the territory’s deputy fire marshal, Tim Hinds, visited Cambridge Bay to investigate some of Laube’s concerns.

Laube said that the GN has already fixed some problems, such as fire-fighting foam that’s well past its expiry date. That’s because they’ve bought new foam for a number of communities.

But Laube alleges that it won’t be used if there’s a fire at the Cambridge Bay airport.

Laube alleges that the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay has decided not to respond to airline emergency calls, believing that’s the job of bylaw officers and workers compensation board staff instead.

“Now we’re told we aren’t even allowed out on the tarmac,” Laube said.

Laube also alleges that Calliou ordered Cambridge Bay firefighters not to enter the fire hall without 24 hour’s notice.

Last week Cambridge Bay’s hamlet council issued a brief press release saying they now have an “action plan” and a “time line” to fix the fire safety problems.

But the press release said nothing about what those plans are, and no one at the hamlet is willing to explain them or state when they’ll be carried out.

Michelle Gillis, Cambridge Bay’s mayor, did not explain her hamlet’s plans either.

“Stories put out by the media have caused me to be attacked personally by certain individuals and I do not wish to continue down this avenue for the sake of my reputation and the protection of my family,” she wrote in an email.

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