Naujaat youth are having a great old time finishing out hockey-and-skating season in style, thanks to an outdoor rink that was built next to Tusarvik Elementary School this past week.
Acting senior administrative officer Kevin Tegumiar said the idea for the outdoor rink came from Naujaat Mayor Solomon Malliki.
He said SAO Rob Hedley then took the idea another step by applying to the North West Company for funding to cover the project.
“Rob (Hedley) and I met with a member of the management team of the North West Company and we were told the project would fit under a grant through their Healthy Horizons Foundation,” said Tegumiar. “They granted us $6,500, which covered the entire cost of the project.”
The hamlet needed another well-lit area for the kids to skate, he said, especially with the arena set to close in about a month.
“It works out really well for us now too, because the Arctic Circle Cup senior men's hockey tournament is set to get underway this coming weekend, and the outdoor rink gives the kids another place to skate so they don't miss any time on the ice so near the end of the season,” said Tegumiar.
The North West Company representative said that not a lot of communities were applying for a grant through the Healthy Horizons Foundation, he continued.
He said while he'd like to see other communities benefit from the foundation, the fact that not a lot were applying meant Healthy Horizons could cover all the costs associated with the outdoor rink.
“We had the guys at the fire department get the project started,” he said. “They were excited to help out with something like this because it's not something they get to do all the time. We had the heavy equipment operators spend about half an afternoon clearing all the snow, and a couple of the firefighters and a couple of guys from our recreation department handled the flooding.”
“We weren't long seeing a few kids hanging around the area and growing impatient,” he continued.
Tegumiar said this is the first time an outdoor rink was constructed next to the elementary school.
He said the project was slowed just a bit due to bad weather this past week.
“The community seems to really like the idea, and I'm pretty sure they'll be expecting something similar to be done next year,” he said. “That's what it's all about.”