Jaypetee Audlakiak is a newcomer to politics, and he once was a newcomer to Hall Beach, but he says he knows what the community needs.
Housing is so limited that the hamlet cannot hire a mechanic because there is nowhere for that person to live, Audlakiak said.
“That’s how bad it is here in Hall Beach,” he said.
The mayor said he doesn’t know exactly how many residences are required but he’s aware that the waiting list for houses is long.
Another issue is the absence of a breakwater to prevent boats from being battered by waves, Audlakiak said. Numerous boats and canoes have been destroyed over the years, and that can be blamed on the lack of such infrastructure, he said.
“We don’t have any safe place to put them when we when we get rough water,” the mayor said, adding that he knows repeated requests to the territorial government for breakwater funding have gone unheeded over the years.
Beyond those two priorities, Audlakiak said he’s been going through files at the hamlet office to determine what else needs to be addressed. Having spent most of last year unemployed, he said he has plenty of time to devote to his role as mayor.
In December’s hamlet election, Audlakiak garnered 48 votes in what was a crowded field for the top municipal seat in Hall Beach. The closest of his six competitors for office was Levi Qaunaq, who got 37 votes.
Audlakiak made his bid for the mayor’s office without having any background in politics. Getting his bearings will take a little time, he acknowledged.
“I’m still learning this and that,” he said.
For example, he said he’s grateful to his councillors for patiently pointing out protocol and rules of order during their first few hamlet council meetings.
“I just want to be involved and try to help this community,” he said, adding that he relocated to Hall Beach from his home of Qikiqtarjuaq 17 years ago to be close to his wife’s family.
“I’ll try to do what I can do. I know I’ll be sent stuff that is not easy to do but that’s why I want to try the mayor’s job, to see if I could help the community one way or another.”