Members of the Beaufort-Delta Regional Council (BDRC) voted last week to support Inuvik’s bid to host the 2018 Arctic Winter Games.
The council, made up of the region’s mayors and representatives from each Inuvialuit community, was unanimous in its support.
“This would give us the opportunity to put Arctic back in the Arctic Winter Games,” said Inuvik Mayor Floyd Roland. “It’s going to be huge.”
The joint bid is being put forth by Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, Aklavik and Fort McPherson.
The council cited its support for youth health and wellness as a main reason for its backing.
The BDRC met from Apr. 8 to 10 in Inuvik at Ingamo Hall. On the last day of meetings, members approved 13 other resolutions, including motions to expand the Inuvik airport runway and extend ferry service in Tsiigehtchic by moving the Merv Hardie Ferry from its former post near Fort Providence to the region.
They also requested the GNWT undertake an extensive review of the cost of living factors that resulted in a change to Northern Allowance rates, citing inequalities in the most recent rates.
In addition, council called for an immediate inspection of Moose Kerr School in Aklavik for air quality and safety, and additional funding for an education assistant at Inualthuyak School in Sachs Harbour.
The council also requested the GNWT create a fund and immediate action plan to address shoreline erosion and other climate change impacts.
“Climate change and global warming is a reality and coastal communities are facing serious changes to their shoreline and subsidence of communities from permafrost melting,” the council stated in their motion.
One of the reasons the BDRC meets and passes resolutions annually is to highlight the unique needs of the region and its communities.
“It’s easier to do territorial programs than look at specific initiatives for any one region,” said Bob Simpson, director of intergovernmental relations for the Inuvialuit Regional Corp.
He added the BDRC has become a reporting and consulting mechanism for the Beaufort Delta communities. “We’ve been trying to push that,” he said.
Over the past 20 years, the council has approved more than 300 resolutions, he added.
The BDRC meetings also included presentations by the premier and his cabinet, and discussions between the GNWT and IRC regarding an intergovernmental agreement on programs and services.
Simpson said it has yet to be formalized, but that more discussions would be held over the next six months.
“It basically is a framework agreement to work together in improving programs and services,” he said.
Premier Bob McLeod made a presentation to the council on Apr. 8, with a focus on Aboriginal affairs and intergovernmental relations, the status of women and new energy initiatives.
Ministers Michael Miltenberger, Robert C. McLeod, David Ramsay, Tom Beaulieu, Jackson Lafferty and Glen Abernethy also spoke to the council.
During their time in Inuvik, cabinet also met the new staff of the department of Lands and the petroleum resources division of Industry, Tourism and Investment created through devolution. They also toured the construction site for the new Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk Highway.
In addition, the Beaufort Delta Education Council, Beaufort Delta Health and Social Services Authority and Aurora College made presentations on Apr. 9.