New adult learning centre in plans for Chesterfield Inlet

Chances at training and jobs ‘sorely limited’ with current centre, says community’s MLA

Alexander Sammurtok, the MLA representing Rankin Inlet North-Chesterfield Inlet, is seen here after being sworn in to his position in November. Sammurtok told Pamela Gross, who is the minister responsible for Nunavut Arctic College, about the urgent need for a new adult learning centre in Chesterfield Inlet on Monday. (Photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Chesterfield Inlet’s learning centre, a small building with only one classroom that was deemed to be in poor condition a decade ago, could soon be replaced.

Pamela Gross, the minister responsible for Nunavut Arctic College, told Rankin Inlet North–Chesterfield Inlet MLA Alexander Sammurtok on Monday in the legislative assembly that a new learning centre for the hamlet is in the college’s tentative plans.

Sammurtok told Gross that the need for a new centre is “urgent” for his Chesterfield Inlet constituents.

“Without a decent location in which to learn and study, their options remain limited and their futures look bleak,” he said.

The 90-square-metre centre built in 1982 has one classroom and one computer lab, meaning only one course can be delivered each season.

“When the community tries to run more than one program, students must share the classroom, which negatively affects their learning,” said Sammurtok.

In November 2020, a report on the status of community learning centres across the territory showed the centre in Chesterfield Inlet was last assessed in 2012, and at that time it was found to be in poor condition.

The report notes the centre’s walls and windows were in critical condition, and the stairs, deck and flooring needed replacing. It also says the ceiling and interior were in poor condition and the foundation needed to be assessed in the near future.

But, the report says the rest of the building was in good condition.

Gross didn’t directly answer Sammurtok’s questions about whether the centre has been assessed again since 2012 or if Nunavut Arctic College has had any communication about the centre with the hamlet.

But, she said the community has been identified for the Nunavut Arctic College’s capital planner to visit.

“We realize the importance of these buildings and working collaboratively with the local hamlet is something that we’re hoping to do in the near future,” she said.

Gross told the legislative assembly Chesterfield Inlet’s learning centre is one of four included in Nunavut Arctic College’s capital planning process, alongside Gjoa Haven, Naujaat and Sanikiluaq.

In 2019, MLAs, including Gjoa Haven MLA Tony Akoak, decried the state of their communities’ learning centres.

At that time, Akoak brought up issues like a caved-in floor, leases running out and staff turnover. 

Deficiencies in Naujaat and Sanikiluaq’s learning centres are also highlighted in the 2020 report. In Naujaat, the centre’s windows, stairs, walls and flooring were found to be in poor condition. In Sanikiluaq, the building’s exhaust fans, heating system, lighting system, and fire alarms were in poor condition. 

The four projects are in the Nunavut Arctic College’s 2022-23 capital plan, but still need to be approved to be in the budget officially.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Bigger Picture? on

    With a population of just over 400 it seems there is a larger conversation to be had here around the viability of this community at all.

    It is good to aspire to bettering the education of the people, but what kind of jobs and economy are we preparing them for in such a tiny community?

    • Posted by WestKit on

      Hear of the people who come out of that tinier high arctic community and make a name for themselves? Hope the rest of us follow suit.

    • Posted by Some Better Planning Please on

      I would love to see an all-season road built from Chesterfield Inlet to Rankin Inlet. About 100km should do it. Considering the Gray’s Bay Road and Port Project is calling for $550 million for a 227km road AND a port in the middle of nowhere, constructing a 100km road between 2 existing towns would probably be no more than 200 million.
      Gray’s Bay already got $22 million in federal funds that have disappeared, it could’ve given a decent head start towards this road.
      And think of the potential benefits. One sealift could service both communities. The groceries for both communities could be delivered in one stop. They could both be serviced by one NAC campus. How much is this new/renovated CLC gonna cost? Put that towards the road along with the $22M that disappeared from KIA. Rankin already has a mostly empty NAC building anyway.

      • Posted by Better Planning Please (cont’d) on

        A couple more things…
        Since it’s a hot topic right now, connecting the two communities could be very beneficial for elder care, where you could accommodate elders from both communities in just one community while allowing people from the other community to visit regularly without having to get on a plane.
        Also, didn’t AEM build like a 25-30km road to Meliadine? If AEM can build that road for a reasonable amount, you’d think going 100km between Chesterfield and Rankin wouldn’t be insurmountable.

  2. Posted by 867 on

    Before going ahead and putting another dollar in, it would be nice hear about enrolment rates, attendance rates, graduation rates, job success rates, and general viability of these tiny NAC satellite campuses across nunavut.
    There’s a reason these buildings often get neglected and end up in disrepair.


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