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Cape Dorset mayor takes on wandering dogs, water trucks

Days after being sworn in as mayor on Jan. 4, Timoon Toonoo served notice that he and hamlet council will take action on loose dogs and address the community's water delivery woes.

Timoon Toonoo, Cape Dorset's newly-elected mayor, is addressing loose dogs and water delivery issues in his community.
photo courtesy of Timoon Toonoo

Toonoo said he wants to put together a committee to confront wandering dogs and the hamlet is also recruiting a new full-time bylaw officer, a role that has been vacant for a while.
In addition, the hamlet's legislation on canines has to be updated, Toonoo said.
"There's going to be a lot of work involved trying to get a good (dog) bylaw. The bylaw has been a problem forever. It's very old," he said. "That bylaw officer is a key person for that dog bylaw."
In regards to water delivery, the hamlet was down to a single water truck, which led to some "panic," the new mayor acknowledged. However, a new mechanic was hired and two more water trucks have since been put back on the road, he said, adding that three trucks is the usual capacity, with a fourth truck as a backup.
As for other priorities, Toonoo said he will determine those based on conversations with residents and his council, making sure he has council's backing before tackling issues. But he said he will be sure to keep community members abreast of developments.
"Communication is the key, even on the negative things. If we keep the public informed, they'll be a lot happier," he said. "We're trying to be open. I want council to be open to the public."
Toonoo said many people urged him to run in December's hamlet election, which he won with 140 votes, more than double that of his closest competitor. Four people vied for the office.
Although Toonoo didn't have previous experience on hamlet council, he served as the community's senior administrative officer for several years in the 1990s.
"I'm not new to the hamlet. I know what's supposed to be happening," he said.
He left the SAO position to work for the Department of Community and Government Services until last year.
His other previous work experience was with the West Baffin Co-op as a manager trainee, the Cape Dorset Housing Association, where he became a manager, and with the hamlet's municipal works and services department.