Former Inuvik mayor Tom Zubko addresses the current council during a special meeting Jan. 27. Zubko was one of several residents who expressed his concerns over proposed changes to a landfill tipping bylaw that would have allowed council to set specific rates for specific customers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was published in the Jan. 30 edition of the Inuvik Drum, however a more recent development has happened since press time which can be read here.

A potential change to the Inuvik’s landfill dumping fee’s bylaw that would have allowed town council to make one-off changes to the fees for special purposes was defeated on second reading at a Jan. 27 special meeting after strong opposition was raised by several citizens.

Prior to the town’s regularly scheduled Committee of the Whole meeting, town councillors voted down the bill 2-4, with deputy mayor Steve Baryluk and Coun. Clarence Wood in favour, Coun. Dez Loreen absent and Coun. Kurt Wainman excluding himself due to pecuniary interest.

Had the bylaw passed, it would have enabled town council to allow a contractor a reduced tipping fee at the landfill — to the tune of $500 per load — to deposit between 250 to 300 loads of waste from a demolition project being financed by Imperial Oil Limited in Tuktoyaktuk. The current bylaw sets a fee schedule of $1,000 per large load for out of town garbage.

Entering the deal would have seen the town forgo $45,000 in revenue; though Baryluk pointed out if the contractor took their business elsewhere the town would have no deal at all and be out $90,000.

Noting the town recently increased property taxes by four per cent, Coun. Ray Solotki pointed out each per cent increase amounted to roughly $50,000 in revenue for the town. Solotki also brought up a stringent taxi bylaw passed by council early last year.

“We were very strict as to the dates and amounts on the bylaws, and that was passed and did not come out in favour of the person that came through, and we agreed that we spent a lot of time on the bylaws and trusted out bylaw officers when they were created,” she said. “I’m not understanding why we would have leniency on dumping fees but not on somebody’s livelihood.

“If you do a quick internet search of what other rates are at other landfills in the south, they’re looking at it through the tonne. I feel like we’re pushing through something for one contractor. Every piece of garbage that comes to the Arctic stays in the Arctic, so why are we considering charging less money to bring us more garbage?”

Former Mayor and Councillor of 16 years Tom Zubko told council he was concerned the one-off situation would hamper future council’s decision making ability, and Les Klapatiuk questioned if council could be seen to be showing favouritism and potentially opening the town up to lawsuits.

Mayor Natasha Kulikowski, who broke a 3-3 tie on the bylaw’s first reading, said she voted to move the bill to second reading to allow for further discussion. She added she was encouraged by the public participation in the bylaw.

“We exercised our democratic process. That’s a big part of our job, every time we meet we have information presented,” she said. “We do appreciate when we have the community come and speak during public question period or on a specific item.”

She added the issue could potentially come up again during the town’s bylaw review process, but for the time being it was put to rest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was published in the Jan. 30 edition of the Inuvik Drum, however a more recent development has happened since press time which can be read here.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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