In keeping up its efforts to remain one of the cleanest communities in Nunavut, the community of Baker Lake has begun its annual two-week long community cleanup this week.

The event runs from June 26 until July 7 this year.

Karen Yip is playing a leading role in this year’s cleanup and she’s planning to recognize Baker Lake’s volunteers as the community champions she said they are.

Yip, who moved to Baker Lake in 1995, said, as far as she can remember, the community has always held an extended community cleanup.

She said residents of Baker Lake have always taken pride in having a clean community.

“For as long as I can recall, I’ve always heard that Baker Lake is the cleanest community in Nunavut,” said Yip. “And many people who have visited our community have commented on the fact that it’s very clean.”

Yip said the campaign always tries to offer incentives to people to get them to volunteer because they realize the people who volunteer are the hamlet heroes of the community.

She said people who keep volunteering and spend their time and energy tidying the community should be recognized.

“It’s always been a kind of traditional start to our community cleanup that the offices will clean-up around their buildings.

“This year we decided that we would do something a little bit different and offer an office-prize draw for people who want to participate.

“A lot of businesses, organizations and government offices take the time to clean up around their buildings. So this year we’re going to have a prize of Tim Hortons coffee and doughnuts for the whole winning office.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s two people or 15 to 20 people.”

Yip said usually the prizes are awarded by draw and, before the Nunavut Day celebration, they’ll be holding daily draws for the volunteers. The prizes could be gift cards from the stores, a small food hamper, a hunting item or loads of practical items like Tide, Bounce, toilet paper, body wash and dish soap.

“Every day for the two weeks prior to Nunavut Day, we’ll be having a draw at the end of the day for the volunteers. They’ll be smaller prizes than the ones we’ll be giving out on Nunavut Day.

“On Nuanvut Day, we’re also going to be doing a presentation of a couple of plaques for people who have been providing outstanding community service.

“There’s one gentlemen, William Manernaluk, who started cleaning up May 1 and he’s out there every day. He’s just doing it on his own and he participates every year.

“He, himself, has challenges, but he’s out there every year making a difference in his community.

“A lot of people in the community take pride in the reputation Baker has for its cleanliness, and it sort of adds nicely to Baker being the geographical centre of Canada and the rubber boot capital of Nunavut.

“You have to admit, that’s a pretty cool list.”

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