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Cape Dorset mayor reviews agenda for second term

Timoon Toonoo was re-elected mayor of Cape Dorset on Dec. 16 but he plans to be the municipal leader of a community with a different name in the near future.

Timoon Toonoo received a strong endorsement from residents of Cape Dorset in December to embark on a second term as the community's mayor. Getting a mechanical sewage plant and a breakwater constructed and fixing local roads are among his objectives. photo courtesy of Timoon Toonoo

The greatest number of voters in a plebiscite that accompanied the mayoral by-election chose Kinngait as the preferred name, in replacement of Cape Dorset. There were 80 ballots in favour of Kinngait, 61 for Cape Dorset and 51 wanted the name Sikusiilaq.

Toonoo wants to honour that choice, although he noted that the territorial minister of Community and Government Services has to formally sign off on the name change first.

“I'm going to go along with the people's choice,” the mayor said. “Once we get the approval of the minister we'll let the public know.”

The last council, which Toonoo headed during his first term, initiated the plebiscite. Land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated has been promoting the idea of communities reverting to traditional Inuit names, the mayor noted.

Kinngait means “hills” in Inuktitut, said Toonoo.

“We've got pretty high hills here,” he said.

The name change is just one of the items on Toonoo's agenda in his second term. Another challenge is fixing roads damaged by substantial water runoff – some of it coming from those nearby hills. The volume of water can no longer be contained by existing culverts, Toonoo said, attributing the problem to global warming.

“We're going to be doing work this summer,” he said. “A consultant is going to help us proceed with the work.”

Something else in the 10-year capital plan is to acquire a mechanical sewage plant because finding a location for a new sewage lagoon is difficult, according to Toonoo.

“They'll be doing planning on it, hopefully soon,” he said.

He said he and council also want a barrier constructed to protect local boats.

“We don't have a good breakwater here,” he said.

They're also aiming to host a Canadian Coast Guard auxiliary vessel in the harbour.

Local water delivery, which has been a source of complaints over the past few years, particularly due to tanker trucks breaking down, has been going smoothly as of late, according to Toonoo.

“Hamlet operations, we're doing that pretty good, so we don't have to change the hamlet stuff that's being carried out,” he said.

But things are rarely quiet for long.

“We're always busy, myself the SAO (senior administrative officer) and the council,” Toonoo said. “We always have something on the agenda.”