As newly-elected president of the Northwest Territories Association of Communities (NWTAC), Inuvik councillor Clarence Wood said he wants to address issues such as satellite licensing and broadband access during his term.

Inuvik councillor Clarence Wood was elected NWTAC president at the 2018 AGM.
Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

“One of the issues I am going to bring to the table is regarding the satellite receiving facilities and the process and time that it takes them to get licensing through the federal government,” Wood said. “It’s just ridiculous … we’re really behind the times, and it’s going to affect the economy not only in Inuvik but in the NWT in general.”

Wood said he also wants to address the issue of broadband access in small communities in the territory.

“It’s really important. Internet speeds in most cases are so slow it isn’t funny,” Wood said. “You could practically walk the message out of there faster than the internet can, and it’s a darn shame. We’re in the 21st century, you’d think we’d at least be up to date.”

In addition to these two concerns, Wood said he would also like to see NWTAC directors travel to communities more, and build a better relationship with Nunavut and Yukon.

“I’ve made plans to go to Whitehorse to go to the Yukon association’s AGM,” Wood said. “I’m also checking in to when the Nunavut association has their AGM. I’d like to do a presentation there as well.”

Wood was elected at the 2018 NWTAC AGM in Hay River Feb. 15 to 18.

“Because of my experience with the association and town council I decided to run for president,” Wood said. “I’ve been on the board or involved in one way or another for over 16 years, so I just thought it was time. I’ve got the experience, I’ve got the knowledge, I know the association inside out, I have a lot to offer.”

Wood said he was originally running for the position against Tuktoyaktuk Mayor Merven Gruben.

“I gave my three-minute speech and sat down,” Wood said. “I ran against Merven Gruben from Tuk. He got up to give his speech, and about 10 words in, he said, ‘you know what, I’m going to withdraw.'”

The two have been friends for years, and Gruben decided to withdraw from the race because he was too busy, Wood said.

“So, as a result, here I am,” Wood said. “I hate giving speeches. The first thing I said to Merven was, ‘you bugger, you made me give the speech!’ He just started laughing.”

NWTAC was formed in 1966 with four communities: Yellowknife, Inuvik, Fort Smith and Hay River.

The association now includes all 33 communities in the territory.

“It’s growing every year,” Wood said. “Which to me is very important. The biggest value to meetings like this to me is the connections you make. You meet people that you know their name … you find out you all have common problems, it’s good for information sharing and you can get more things done that way.”

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