Steve Baryluk is Inuvik’s new deputy Mayor by acclamation following Town Council’s April 14 meeting.
Clarence Wood was elected assistant deputy mayor by way of secret ballot, defeating Dez Loreen. Wood also turned down a nomination for deputy mayor.
“I’m going to decline to councillor Baryluk’s experience,” said Wood. “He’s done the job before and I have faith in him.”
Inuvik is down to six sitting councillors with six months until the next municipal election. Former deputy mayor Paul MacDonald resigned from council April 24 at the start of the meeting. During the meeting, two councillors were publicly chastised and ordered to make public apologies for criticizing town council decisions in the Inuvik Drum.
Baryluk will likely remain Inuvik’s deputy mayor until the election.
RCMP lay out March numbers
Assaults, pretty thefts, public disturbances and sexual offenses are up in 2021, compared to last year.
An RCMP report to council April 24 notes police had 16 domestic violence calls in March, leading to 11 charges. Impaired drivers also occupied much of the cops time, with 15 reports leading to two charges of impaired operation.
Compared to 53 assaults in March 2020, the number shot up to 57 this year. Sexual offences increased from three to seven. Theft under $5,000 are up to 12 compared to 4 last year.
Complaints of disturbance, mischief and public intoxication are up dramatically, with 189 calls this year compared to 114 last year. No complaints of bootlegging have made to date, consistent with absolutely none made in 2020.
Other reports of crime are down this year. Break and Enters dropped to two complaints from six last year. Drug Trafficking charges are down to one this year, from four in 2020. There are no possession complaints on record this year either.
Liquor act violations are almost half of their 2020 levels, dropping from 15 to eight.
There were also four missing persons complaints.
“All persons were found safe and sound,” said acting detachment commander Mark Bishop, who added he expects to remain at the helm of the Inuvik RCMP until at least July.
Three proposals to save old town sign
Three parties have come forward to preserve the old “End of the Dempster Highway” sign from oblivion.
Council received joint-proposals from Inuvik Community Garden Society and Harder Enterprises, Nihtat Gwich’in Council and the Gwich’in Tribal Council, and Kurt Wainman. Council plans to discuss the proposals at its next meeting.
NGC and GTC want to move the sign to the Marine By-pass and Navy Road Intersection. Harder Enterprises and the Garden Society want to move the sign across the highway to be next to the new hydroponics station. Wainman proposes putting the sign in his yard facing the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway or hanging it up at his shop.
Council intended to vote on which proposal during the April 14 meeting, but put the decision over to allow all three parties to have representatives at the meeting.
A new gateway sign will begin construction this summer.
Code of Conduct controversy closed
Disciplinary action against two councillors for speaking out of turn to the media is complete.
Mayor Natasha Kulikowski brought the topic up during the council concerns portion of the April 14 meeting.
“Coun. Solotki and coun. Loreen have been verbally reprimanded for violation of the Council Code of Conduct. There is no further action to be taken on this item,” said Kulikowski.
“I do have a request for our councillors though —and it is from me directly — that each of you reacquaint yourself and recommit to the council code of conduct so that we can work together through the finish of our term as a united council with respect for one another and for the democratic process.”
For her part, Solotki noted she made zero comments about town staff and administration, and apologized to any employees who felt attacked.
“I sincerely apologize. I think our staff do a wonderful job. Any issues I’ve ever been given by anyone in the community goes directly to the Mayor and to the SAO. So if anyone feels that I made a comment about their work or their work ethic in this community that was not my intent in any way.
“Instead it was an encouragement as to what you said for us to be accountable and for other people to come forward to assist in council in the future when these topics come up again. So if anyone felt disrespected, again I apologize.”
Accepting the apology on behalf of town staff, senior administrative officer Grant Hood said there was no harm done.
“Administration had no misunderstanding that the comments were not attributed to you,” he said. “You’ve supported administration this whole time.”