Nunavut mayors speak to strength of residents, hamlet staff

Leaders shared two good things and one challenge within their community during municipalities’ conference in Iqaluit

Sanirajak Mayor Jaypeetee Audlakiak speaks at the Nunavut Association of Municipalities meeting Wednesday. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

It wasn’t all speeches, workshops and presentations at the Nunavut Association of Municipalities’ three-day annual conference this week in Iqaluit.

On Wednesday, the territory’s mayors each took a turn talking about the positive things and the challenges in their communities, with several complimenting their municipal staffs and residents while saying their hamlets lack good infrastructure.

The mayors made the comments at the Aqsarniit Hotel in Iqaluit, which hosted the conference that wrapped up Thursday.

The mayors’ comments came during a panel discussion where they were called on to list two good things and one challenge in their community.

Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. said his community is known to be the friendliest in all of Nunavut.

“We hold that dearly,” he said, adding “staff at the hamlet are like a family.”

Pangnirtung Mayor Eric Lawlor said the two positive things about his community are the senior administrative officer, Jamie Evic, and the community members.

“The people. The people are — it’s the reason why I’ve stayed here for the last 20 years,” Lawlor said. “They’re welcoming, they connect with you and they love to speak up and volunteer.”

Sanirajak Mayor Jaypeetee Audlakiak said he values the support he gets from hamlet councillors and that residents are able to find work at Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River mine.

“We’re grateful as a hamlet,” Audlakiak said.

As for the one bad thing in their community, many mayors spoke about the state or lack of infrastructure.

Igloolik Mayor Erasmus Ivvalu said the community needs a garage to house its heavy machinery and fire trucks, while Clyde River Mayor Alan Cormack said his hamlet doesn’t have enough heavy machinery.

Kinngait Mayor Timoon Toonoo said his community is very friendly, but it’s difficult to maintain a workforce at the hamlet office because of a lack of staff housing.

Baker Lake Mayor Richard Aksawnee said his community struggles to get funding for infrastructure projects, mentioning the 2018 closure of Martha Taliruq Centre, an elders home, due to problems with the building and its operators.

The conference, which brought together municipal officials from around the territory, also heard from Nunavut MP Lori Idlout, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk and Iqaluit city councillor Paul Quassa.

On Thursday, Nunavut territorial cabinet members provided an update on their work for the municipal representatives.


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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by No Nonsense Larry on

    Do the workshops also include how to tackle these challenges in their hamlets? Or does everyone just wait for handouts and the left overs of funding. If we had an article at every annual NAM meeting we would see not much has changed..

    • Posted by Realistic Randall on

      Nowhere else in the world will you find a society almost entirely reliant on handouts and freebies. The stick is way too short and the carrots is way too tasty. Unless the stick gets longer and the carrot starts rotting away, things will never change.

      • Posted by modern times on

        such a Southern comment, obviously has no idea of how things work in the Arctic.

        • Posted by Pedro Gonzalez on

          Doesn’t matter where comment is from. It’s a fact.

  2. Posted by John WP Murphy on

    And when will these same Mayor’s and Councils have the kahoonies to mandate the wearing of facemasks and enforce their mandate to protect the citizens of their communities?

    • Posted by Ship has sailed on

      You now have the freedom to wear a mask anywhere you’d like… plain, work, community center, health center… just don’t infringe on the freedoms of other’s who may or may not want to wear a mask. The jig is up.

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      The mask mandate is over but what I discovered isthat during the time we had to wear them I didn’t catch a cold, flu, pneumonia, covid or any other respiratory illness. It may not be a bad idea to wear a mask in public areas. There’s a lot of illness floating around right now so be paranoid if you like to go down that road but there is considerable protection to be gained by wearing a mask in public places.


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