The Hamlet of Naujaat is seeking to build a new municipal garage to protect its small fleet of municipal vehicles from the elements.
“At the moment we’ve got four,” said Mayor Alan Robinson. “One is a recently new gravel truck that we just got a couple of years ago. The same thing with our sewage truck.”
Robinson said the garage has sat neglected on the community’s wish list for several years, but he thinks it’s worth the time and effort to make it a reality.
The onetime journeyman carpenter, who said he spent most of his career working outside before entering municipal politics, sees it as an opportunity to preserve the value of the community’s vehicles.
“We have the land,” he said. “It’s right next door to the power plant and the tank farm. It’s in an ideal location.”
The garage could serve as both a mechanical repair facility and training centre, he said, allowing for salvageable vehicles to be rescued from the dump, repaired and put back to work.
“What I really would like to do if I can get this garage built is set it up as a training centre for apprentices,” said Robinson. “There’s one gravel truck in the dump that can be repaired and put back to use. There’s a front-end loader that has a bit of a problem that can be repaired and restored.”
Last year, municipal officials discussed the need for a new garage in Naujaat at the Kivalliq Mayors’ Forum, he said.
“We did everything we possibly could (to get the project funded),” said Robinson. “We sent the drawings down, we sent lot locations, I sent every piece of paper I could get and guess what? That was a year ago and nothing has happened whatsoever.
“Worst case scenario I’d like to try and do it ourselves,” he continued.
A 2018 letter from former Naujaat mayor Solomon Malliki to the Department of Community and Government Services states the hamlet had “effectively run out of garage space,” and the construction of a new four-bay garage was “vital to our operation going forward.”
“I understand the need for collaboration on this issue and that is why this letter is being sent for your review as soon as possible so that decisions can be made and funds committed as soon as possible,” it reads.
Naujaat is also dealing with another infrastructure problem, said Robinson. The community’s freezer has been out of commission since a breakdown occurred in September 2020.
“It stopped working right at the tail end of summer,” he said. “We lost half, if not two-thirds, of our frozen foods for the winter at the worst possible time, when we were right in the middle of the coronavirus.”
“We’re still trying to get enough money to get the thing fixed,” he added. “We’ll get there eventually but it’s going to take time.”
-by Ezra Black