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Elder advocates for historic 'boat museum' at Apex beach

Ann Hanson hopes the old boats at Apex beach will be preserved as historic pieces. The 74-year-old Apex resident looks out the window of her home and sees them not as junk, but “history pieces.”

74-year-old Apex resident, Ann Hanson says she is “very grateful” Apex beach has been cleaned up. Neevee Wilkins photo

For example, at Apex beach there is a boat belonging to Simonie Michael, a former Inuk politician, said Hanson. “Simonie Michael did a lot for the people of Northwest Territories before we had Nunavut,” she said.

There are also "flat bottom boats" and freighter canoes at the beach, said Hanson.

“And that’s history because before people had big boats, we had those freighter canoes,” she adds.

The Elder says, “I’d like to have these boats lined up neatly. It will be a photo opportunity for people.”

Hanson has already reached out to the City of Iqaluit for support.

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell agreed, “I think it would be awesome to see them all there lined up nicely."

“We're not exactly 100 per cent sure who owns all the boats there,” said Bell. “We're trying to find out who owns them all.” Once the owners are identified the city will try to get permission to use them for historic purposes.

Besides having a historic site at the beach, Bell hopes to get permission to build “a little park” too.

“I would like to see something that's usable. So people can go down there and have a little bonfire or a little barbecue pit,” said Bell.

The City of Iqaluit removes an abandoned vehicle from Apex beach on Aug. 20. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photograph

Apex beach was cleaned up by mid-September after Hanson wrote a letter to the city this summer. Hanson, who moved to Apex in 1972, said she was concerned about the safety of people at the beach.

“There were a lot of broken-down vehicles, trucks and cars. The windows were broken, old tires lying on the ground, and there was seepage of old oil and old gas. And it's not very healthy for people and the environment,” said Hanson as she described Apex beach.

Waste has been accumulating at Apex beach for the past 10 to 15 years, says Elder Ann Hanson. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo

The City of Iqaluit began the clean up on Aug. 20. It has cost the City about $25,000 including labour, equipment and disposal fees.

“Three dump trucks were filled, five shacks removed, and five vehicles removed, along with hazardous waste including batteries and fuel of various kinds,” said Lisa Milosavljevic, communications officer with the City.

“I'm very grateful that it's cleaned up,” said Hanson.

An abandoned shed, two boats and trash at Apex beach on Aug. 20. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo