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Leg session kicks off with familiar topics

Beer and wine store, Sakku School and Chesterfield Inlet power plant among early discussions
Chesterfield Inlet is slated to get a new power plant, as the old one, seen here, is aging and decaying. However, a lack of funding appears to be slowing progress on making that replacement. File photo courtesy of Qulliq Energy Corporation

No work on reducing hours of beer and wine store yet

Early in the fall legislative assembly sitting, there was no confirmation about reducing the opening hours of the beer and wine store in Rankin Inlet.

“In July of this year, the Municipal Council of Rankin Inlet passed a formal motion calling on the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission to reduce the daily purchase limits at the Rankin Inlet Beer and Wine Store and to reduce the number of hours that the store is open to the public,” said Alexander Sammurtok, MLA for Rankin Inlet North – Chesterfield Inlet.

“In September of this year, the government announced a reduction in the purchase limits, and I applaud the minister for acting on the community’s concerns. Can the minister clarify when the Rankin Inlet Beer and Wine Store’s opening hours will be reduced on a permanent basis?”

Minister Lorne Kusugak, responsible for the Nunavut Liquor and Cannabis Commission, replied that the organization has to follow the law on making change.

“We want to make changes right away, such as reducing the amount of alcohol (that) can be purchased, but we have to follow the law and we can only make amendments following proper procedure,” said Kusugak through interpretation. “For example, in Rankin Inlet, they could buy 24 cans per day and we had to change that and it became 12 cans per day when we were still working on it. That’s currently how it will be operated, but we have not worked to reduce the operating hours yet.”

He went on to say the organization would be looking to judge the pros and cons of adjusting the store’s hours.

“Once we get that information, the hours of operation can be reduced, but we have to review it first. I can’t say it will happen right away,” said Kusugak through interpretation.

Coral Harbour school renovations on schedule

“The Sakku School project in Coral Harbour has been on government’s book for almost a decade,” said Solomon Malliki, MLA for Aivilik, in the legislative assembly Oct. 26.

“The project has finally gotten underway, but the community has expressed some concerns that the material to proceed with construction has not arrived in the community. Can the minister provide an update on when the materials to begin construction on Sakku School will be brought to the community?”

Pamela Gross, minister of education, replied that work was underway, but in terms of the materials question, she would have to get back to Malliki.

“I was informed from the department that they have started the project,” said Gross.

Malliki responded that the community is anxiously awaiting progress on the school and asked Gross to clearly explain “why the project has been delayed again.”

Gross replied through interpretation that the project is not delayed.

“It’s going ahead as scheduled,” said Gross through interpretation. “There is work that is happening, and we do anticipate that over the coming years, the completion of the school, the department anticipates that all of this work will be done by November 2027.”

Lack of funding for Chesterfield Inlet power plant

Rankin Inlet North – Chesterfield Inlet MLA Alexander Sammurtok inquired about the status of replacing Chesterfield Inlet’s powerplant, which is almost 50 years old now.

“In June 2022, the Utility Rates Review Council submitted its report concerning the Qulliq Energy Corporation’s proposal to construct a new power plant,” said Sammurtok Oct. 27 in the legislative assembly, noting the review council recommended the project be approved.

He asked Joelie Kaernerk, minister responsible for QEC, for an update on the timeline for design and construction of a new power plant for the community.

Kaernerk replied that there is a lack of funding.

“When it comes to the Utility Rates Review Council, yes it was looked at, but due to insufficient funds, the Qulliq Energy Corporation has moved the program, but they have budgeted for a new generator for the upcoming budget for 2025 until they have constructed a new power plant in Chesterfield Inlet,” said Kaernerk.