Rankin Inlet’s recreation department is in the early planning stages of pursuing a municipal park behind the baseball diamond, director David Clark told council March 28.
“We have preliminary drawings done up,” said Clark, noting that the park could include a playground area, bike track, parking, skate park, bigger bike track, basketball court, walking trail, garden area and picnic tables.
“It’s very early in the planning stages,” he said.
Council moved to support the park pursuit. Senior Administrative Officer Darren Flynn said it could take four to five years to get the park fully financed.
Clark also discussed the cancelled Terence Tootoo Memorial tournament, which organizers are hoping to potentially reschedule for December, but those plans are uncertain, he said.
The arena was set to close April 4 following the last hockey tournament of the season. In about six weeks, the volleyball courts will be installed and ready to go. Following that, the recreation department will put down turf for summer soccer.
Clark committed to keeping the skating rinks at Williamson Lake maintained every day, even weekends, so long as weather doesn’t interfere.
The Area 5 basketball court will be completed toward the end of June this summer, he added.
For the upcoming Pakallak Tyme, council voted to make April 29 a municipal holiday for staff.
Clark said the big race dates are set for the annual event, with planning work to continue.
At the end of his presentation to council, Mayor Harry Towtongie said, “I’d just like to say you guys do so much work for this community” and thanked him and his department.
Clark responded that he has great staff and appreciates working for the hamlet.
Hamlet vaccine mandate to end with state of emergency
Flynn was tasked at the March 14 council meeting to research what impact ending the vaccination mandate for hamlet staff might have.
“I checked with the heads of all departments,” he said at the March 28 meeting. “Nobody has any concerns.”
The hamlet’s municipal vaccine passport bylaw includes a clause that it will end once the Government of Nunavut ends the state of emergency, currently forecast to end April 11, but the vaccine mandate for staff was a separate policy with no end date written in. It requires all staff and council members to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Council decided to align the policy with the passport bylaw so that both would end when the GN’s state of emergency ends.
“We don’t want to have that paternalistic attitude,” said Coun. Megan Pizzo-Lyall. “We want people to be able to make the right decision on their own, to be vaccinated or whatever their decision is.”
Flynn said that there were some people who left their job at the hamlet because they refused to get vaccinated. Those people would not be offered their jobs back, but anyone can apply for future positions posted by the hamlet.
Council rejects fluoridation
Council was swift to reject the idea of fluoridating the town’s water supply, an idea floated by Dillon Consulting in the company’s analysis of Rankin Inlet’s water treatment plant site plans.
“Something like that needs to go to a public discussion,” said Coun. Michael Shouldice, adding he would be “very uncomfortable” to approve adding fluoride into the town’s water without a significant public engagement process.
“I wouldn’t approve a motion supporting fluoride in the water,” she said, adding it goes back to her not wanting the hamlet to play a paternalistic role in people’s health choices.
Council voted to decline fluoridating the town’s water.