Loving the land through a lensNovember 21, 2017 - Yellowknife
Proud proclamations of Northerner’s affinity for the Northwest Territories aren’t hard to find.
The word “spectacular” sprawls across the territory’s signature licence plate; the City dubs Yellowknife the “capital of cool;”and brave pun-purveyors occasionally don a “It comes with the Territory,” shirt. But what is it that makes NWT “spectacular”? What makes it “cool”? And why have so many visitors-turned residents fallen in love with the territory?
With Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-NWT’s release of its annual Love the Land photo calendar, the non-profit organization asks just that.Read More
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Stanton suspends lobby policy for homeless
Homeless individuals will no longer be able to seek shelter in the lobby of Stanton Territorial Hospital starting May 21, although health officials say they are working on “next steps” for supporting those people.
“In anticipation of warmer weather, Stanton Territorial Hospital is planning for the closure of the pilot warming initiative,” stated David Maguire, spokesperson for the NWT Health and Social Services Authority, in an email to Yellowknifer.
Maguire said the decision was made by Stanton’s chief operating officer – currently Les Harrison – and added the program was always intended as a pilot initiative during the winter months.
“It is our hope that the establishment of a safe ride and sobering centre program in the near future will help to ease the pressure created when clients who are intoxicated or seeking shelter from the cold weather present at the emergency department,” stated Maguire.
But the GNWT still has yet to establish a sobering centre.
Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernethy said in March his department was having trouble finding a suitable location downtown for the facility.
It is still unclear how close the GNWT is to securing a space.
In March, the city also announced it was putting the brakes on a safe-ride program until it has access to a van and the sobering centre was up and running.
Stanton hospital began allowing homeless individuals to seek shelter in its registration area last November after Colin Goodfellow, the hospital’s chief operating officer at the time, sent an e-mail to staff about the idea.
He said the hospital would provide food and water to people who are not in need of medical care, but who have nowhere to go after homeless shelters have closed or are full for the night.
Homeless individuals were allowed to stay in the registration area as long as there was no fighting, no bothering of patients and no begging.
Intoxication would not be tolerated either, the e-mail stated.
Goodfellow is no longer the chief operating officer at the hospital as of April, although the reasons for his departure are unclear.
The lobby policy caused frustration among some people represented by the Union of Northern Workers (UNW).
In January, UNW second vice-president Marie Buchanan expressed concern about staff and patient security.
Frank Walsh, UNW Local 11 president representing more than 500 union members at Stanton, said some staff brought concerns forward about the lobby policy over the winter, but the employer, union and labour relations dealt with them.
“We talked through the problems that were brought forward in a meaningful fashion and everyone seemed to agree … this is a good thing for the homeless in Yellowknife,” Walsh said. “But I can’t emphasize enough that it probably could have been rolled out a little better.”
He said there could have been more involvement from the union and employees before the policy was implemented.
“But I think overall, if we’re reaching out, we’re helping people – particularly people in our own community – I don’t think it could be deemed a failure by any means,” he said, adding hospitals are in the business of helping people. “Nobody froze to death.”
Walsh said the policy served its purpose over the cold winter months, but understands the policy could be revisited in the future.
“It’ll be on our agenda certainly to discuss for the future,” he said.
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Youth run the territory for a day
by Emelie Peacock
Northern News Services
Young, passionate and well-spoken, students from across the territory took their seats at the legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11 for a Youth Parliament session.
Thursday was the culmination of a week of drafting and discussing motions, meeting with MLAs and getting a firsthand look at the democratic process. Nineteen youth in grades nine and 10, each representing one region of the territory, took part in the 15th annual Youth Parliament.
For many of them, the issues they advocated for hit close to home. Angus James Capot-Blanc from Fort Liard, representing Nahendeh, gave an impassioned speech on the mental health crisis in his community.
“It is spreading fast and it’s affecting mainly the youth in the communities, which is pretty sad because that’s our next generation,” he said during a break in Thursday’s session.
Myha Martin, a resident of Inuvik representing Inuvik Twin Lakes, described how elders are suffering from cultural loss and addictions, something she wants to solve by creating more work and travel opportunities throughout the region.
The effects of travel costs for remote communities was a huge concern for many of the youth, including Kyran Alikamik from Ulukhaktok. “I just think it’s very unreasonable,” he said of the $4,000 cost of airfare from his community to the territory’s capital. Another danger Alikamik warned about is drug trafficking and consumption, in particular substances laced with fentanyl .
For Alikmak, the experience of territorial politics weighed heavily on him. “I’m experiencing it right now and I’m sitting on the chairs and I feel like there’s a lot of pressure. I can make a decision but that can also influence others decisions, right?” he said. “Me making decisions for a quite large population is too much pressure for me, a little too much.”
While Alikmak said Youth Parliament has made him realize politics is not for him, others plan to continue after this experience. Capot-Blanc said politics is one of his passions, along with playing music, singing and repairing things.
Yellowknife students debate issues at the legislative assembly
Creative business types wanted
The city should get full marks for its innovative approach to sparking business growth downtown.
A contest is being held awarding one year of free downtown commercial space to the first place winner.
The city has witnessed a business flight from the downtown core in recent years as retailers struggled with high rents, competition from online sales, and social problems related to loitering and public intoxication.Read More
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National air show coming to most NWT communities this summer
A celebration of Northern aviation is bringing pilots and performers from across the country to tour 97 communities this summer.
The Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour spans all three territories as well as a few communities in Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland.
Thirty-one communities in the Northwest Territories are scheduled to have shows over their communities, with 11 receiving a “wheels-down” event where the airplanes will land and community members can meet the performers.
The show kicks off in Fort Liard on June 2 with a wheels-down stop. Fort Liard Mayor Steven Steeves said the hamlet already has plans to give performers a true Northern welcome.
“We’ve got our kids putting up legends and stories … We’re giving them a big drum dance and everything, too,” Steeves said. “We want to show Canada, the world, what we’re all about.”
Hamlet recreation co-ordinator Sophie Kirby said community members are excited about the event.
The hamlet will be putting on a feast before the drum dance, both of which will take place June 1 the evening before the airshow is scheduled to start.
Kirby said the plan is for the show to be done over the Liard River, adding the hamlet plans to have lifeguards on hand as well.
“Hopefully the entire community will be there for the event,” she stated in an e-mail.
Some members of the show’s crew are already in the community for the tour’s education component. Nancy McClure, executive director for the Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour, said that segment is geared toward encouraging young people to pursue dreams of a career in aviation.
“The education piece is all literacy-based. A lot of it will be conversations our pilots have on the ground with kids as they talk about the possible career choices they might be looking at,” she said.
She and her team sees aviation as a career that could bring Northern youth back to their home communities to work and live.
“We’re really focusing on the fact that if you look at Northern people (in) these careers, they’re going to come back home hopefully,” she said.Some of the challenges the team has faced include how to bring in proper aviation gas to some of the smaller communities, securing accommodations and finding sponsors to help cover the cost of the tour.
Most of the project has been driven by volunteers.
McClure said the team is still fundraising, and is also crowdfunding with an initiative that allows people to purchase their own personal kilometre of the tour for $25.
The airshow itself is free of charge, unlike many of its southern counterparts. McClure said when she signed on as executive director, she decided the show needed to something everyone could come to see – despite any financial implications of running a free show.
“We did not compromise on our original vision. That was what was really important to me, because the point of the project was that we would bring this to everyone,” she said.
“We could have solved some of our problems by making this a paid airshow … but we didn’t want people to be excluded because they couldn’t pay.”
The tour will also be carbon-neutral, McClure said. The team partnered with Carbonzero, a Canadian carbon offset firm, by purchasing “carbon credits” to be re-invested elsewhere in the country.
“We made it a priority,” McClure said.
“We’re not only carbon-sensitive, we’re actually net zero on this project.
“The show was developed partly as a way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, but also as a way to celebrate the tradition of aviation in the North.
“We really wanted this to have more of a legacy approach,” McClure said.
“The North-south corridor was built with airplanes, not trains, and that continues to be the case. So how would we bring an event to many of these locations? We’d have to fly an event in. The airshow grew from that.”
Communities will have up to nine aerobatic performances. The team’s Yellowknife stop will include a demonstration jet as well.
Among the performers are Anna Serbinenko, who McClure said is the only performing female airshow pilot in Canada, as well as Bud and Ross Granley.
“In airshow circles in North America, (Bud) is kind of the grandpa of air show performers. He is a legacy,” McClure said.
NWT tour dates
June 2 – Fort Liard
June 7 – Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic
June 8 – Inuvik
June 9 – Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, Paulatuk
June 10 – Aklavik
June 11 – Tuktoyaktuk
June 12 – Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake
June 13 – Norman Wells, Deline, Tulita
June 14 – Fort Simpson, Jean Marie River, Wrigley, Nahanni Butte, Sambaa K’e, Fort Providence
June 17 – Fort Smith
June 18 – Kakisa, Enterprise, Fort Resolution, Lutsel K’e, Wekweeti, Behchoko, Whati, Gameti
June 19 – Ulukhaktok
July 8 – Hay River
July 9 – Yellowknife