The SAO of Baker Lake is speaking out against government waste after the community’s playground was bulldozed by Government of Nunavut contractors.
“There’s people in town that are very disappointed,” hamlet SAO Sheldon Dorey told Kivalliq News.
Dorey said he received a call from the Department of Education several weeks ago notifying him that a piece of playground equipment erected by the hamlet on school property last year would have to be torn down because it did not meet the required safety standards.
Dorey said the department told him the contractors that installed it were “unqualified individuals” and that adjustments had been made to the original plans, which ultimately rendered the equipment unsafe.
“The hamlet may have made brackets that didn’t belong to the structure,” said Dorey.
Rather than getting rid of the structure entirely Dorey asked the department to dismantle it so it could be reused, to which they agreed.
Last week contractors showed up to remove the structure but in the process they also ended up bulldozing two other pieces of playground equipment, which had been there for years.
Dorey said he didn’t see why the department didn’t want to keep the parts from the old playground so they could be re-used.
“It’s a frivolous waste of money,” said Dorey, who pointed out that playground equipment can cost upward of $10,000. “If you got an old ski-doo from the ’70s or ’80s it won’t meet new standards. But will it work? It sure will.”
Dorey said the Department of Education has a new piece of equipment that was brought up via sea lift last year, which he hoped would replace the ones that were demolished.
“I don’t know how big the new big play structure is going to be. It may be bigger but it’s still a waste to me,” he said.
Kivalliq News reached out to the education department to explain what happened but had not received a response by press time.
Dorey said he hopes to be able to rebuild the hamlet’s playground. However, he is awaiting clarification on what safety requirements need to be met in order for it to be up to code. At the moment he is concerned that the department will require the hamlet to hire specific workers to do the job.
“(The department) said you have to have a certified installer or you install it and you accept the liabilities,” he said. “We don’t have the resources to do that.”