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Rankin plans community complex

Rankin Inlet hamlet council held a special meeting to discuss plans for a new community complex on Nov. 15.
Hamlet senior administrative officer (SAO) Justin Merritt said a lack of infrastructure is Rankin’s most critical challenge right now.

He said the biggest needs are a new hamlet office and a new community complex centre.

“We need to expand our recreation hall and, at one point, there was talk about a hamlet office within the complex, but we want a stand-alone office as a separate item,” said Merritt.

“We’ve identified that to the premier and ministers and we’ve selected possible sites for the hamlet office already.

“The complex is going to be a four-year project and among the ideas council is discussing are getting a hall twice the size of our current one and adding a number of other facilities for the community.

“We’ve talked to the community on Facebook but we haven’t conducted an official survey or anything like that just yet.”

Among the recommendations to be included in a new Rankin complex are a kitchen area that can be used by different groups in the community, while an indoor playground for the winter months tops the list of many parents.

Merritt said a weight-and-fitness room and a multi-use room for things like yoga classes and aerobics are also being considered.

The SAO said hamlet council plans to consult more with the community to see what other services people might want to be included in the new complex.

“Basically, it comes down to an amount of space using the old arena as a platform for the size of the new building and putting four or five other things along with the rec hall in there.

“Council would really like to see housing set up for young people who are just starting out and can’t afford to rent an apartment or buy their own home right away.

“The hamlet hopes the government will build some form of apartment complex along the lines of what the Qikiqtani Inuit Association is trying to do for beneficiaries in Iqaluit.”

Merritt said also an elders’ centre is high on the hamlet’s list of priorities for the community.

He said the Government of Nunavut is looking at putting new facilities in the territory’s three regions and hamlet council sent a letter to the premier stating if there’s going to be a new facility put in the Kivalliq, then Rankin Inlet is the place to put it.

“We’ve listed a number of reasons why a regional elders’ facility should be in Rankin, including running water (utilidor), having a health centre with doctors here already, land we can set aside for them and 24-hour ambulance service.”

Merritt said if he could have one project done tomorrow, it would be a new hamlet office.

He said hamlet staff simply need to get out of the current building.

“The current hamlet office was originally built in 1969, with the extension being added in 1992 or 1993. The area where you first walk into the hamlet office used to be our fire hall at one time.
“We need more space. That’s all there is to it.”