The Deline Got’ine government has held its first election since ratifying its self-government agreement on Sept 1, 2016. On July 11, voters elected one Ekw’atide (leader) and six councillors, and the Deline Aohda K’aowe Ke (elders council) appointed one elder representative to the eight-member Deline K’aowedo Ke (Deline main council).
Leeroy Andre was voted in as leader, replacing former leader Raymond Tutcho.
With 169 votes, Andre beat out Morris Neyelle, who got 110 votes.
The six councillors are Danny Bayha, Tommy Betsidea, Dora Blondin, Georgina Dolphus, Leonard Kenny and Sidney Tutcho.
Walter Bezha was chosen as the elder representative.
The newly elected government will begin its four-year term on Sept. 1.
– Sidney Cohen
Construction to continue on Dempster Highway
Construction will continue as scheduled on The Dempster Highway (Hwy 8) in Inuvik, stated a news release from the Department of Infrastructure.
The improvements to the highway are being made on a 10-kilometre stretch between kilometre 259.4 and 269 between Hospital Hill Drive and the Inuvik Airport Access Road.
The department is reminding drivers to slow down in construction zones and states all speeds will be registered with radar, resulting in possible tickets for motorists.
Crews have been actively repairing the road since June, however, there is no clear end date on when construction to the highway will be completed, said spokesperson Kelley Ryder.
– Michael Hugall
UNW, Dominion Diamond ratify agreement
The Union of Northern Workers (UNW) membership has voted to ratify a new collective agreement with employer Dominion Diamond, after the company threatened to layoff 150 workers, citing absenteeism.
Dominion Diamond will not proceed with contracting out 150 jobs, and has increased its commitment to maintain a bargaining unit size of 500. The increase in the unit size promises an additional 50 jobs beyond the existing UNW membership at the mine.
“I’m very pleased the new agreement provides job security for our workers at the Ekati mine for years to come,” said UNW president Todd Parsons in an interview with Yellowknifer.
The ratification was finalized yesterday after tallying mail-in ballots.
News that the employer would contract out 150 positions prompted fears that Indigenous employment was at risk, with Tlicho Grand Chief George Mackenzie stating that any reduction in Indigenous employment would not be accepted.
The new agreement will expire on May 31, 2022.
The agreement will see improvements to the sick leave policy, and better stipulations for sick leave, cultural leave and family emergencies, said Parsons.
Union members will see wage increases directly tied to the consumer price index for Yellowknife, a feature not included in the previous collective agreement.
– Avery Zingel
NWT electricity rates to rise temporarily
NWT residents may notice a slight increase on their electricity bills next month.
The Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) is adding 0.17 cents to the kilowatt hour (kWh) for all customer classes from Aug. 1 to March 31, 2019.
This temporary “rate rider” is applied to the wholesale cost of electricity and could amount to about $1 extra per 600 kWh of electricity used.
About 80 per cent of customers use less than 700 kWh of electricity each month, according to the power corporation’s website. The increase is meant to make up for a revenue shortfall that resulted from the late implementation of the 2018-19 electricity rate increase.
The Public Utilities Board, which is appointed by the territorial government, decided on May 28 to increase electricity rates for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
However, because the rates were not put in place until June 1, it meant customers were paying the lower 2017-18 rate for the months of April and May.
This resulted in a revenue shortfall for the NTPC of $357,000, according to a July 25 statement from the company.
“NTPC needs to cover the cost of providing electricity, so a rate rider is used as a temporary measure to make up for any shortfall,” said Doug Predergast, the power corporation’s spokesperson.
Spreading the rate rider out over an eight month period is meant help “minimize the impact on customers monthly bills,” said Predergast.
The cost of electricity varies depending on the location of the community and the GNWT subsidizes the residential electricity costs in communities that are not hooked up to the hydro system.
Twenty-three communities pay a rate of 29.5 cents/kWh for the first 600 kilowatt hours, and a higher rate for any additional kilowatt hour.
– Sidney Cohen