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Newly elected Qikiqtani mayors and their priorities

On Oct. 28, 2019 municipal elections were held throughout Nunavut.

Nunavut News reached out some of the mayors to learn about their priorities.

Harry Alookie, the mayor of Qikiqtarjuaq has a long list of issues for his community.

Kenny Bell was elected as the new mayor for Iqaluit. Bell, who has lived in Iqaluit since the age of six, was a member of city council from 2012 to 2015. One of his first priorities as mayor is to ensure city staff feel appreciated.

"I plan on making a pretty big splash," he said. "I want to make sure that they realize that they're appreciated."

Bell is also aiming to support and celebrate businesses in the community. He wants to be very transparent with them so they can understand how all the policies, procedures and bylaws work.

"I plan on being very business friendly," he said.

The mayor plans on working with community leaders, city employees and council to make sure that everyone can thrive together.

Meeka Kiguktak, the newly elected mayor of Grise Fiord, has a full agenda of priorities for her small community. Her first priority is to deal with the transportation situation. She wants to bring down the cost of flights for residents.

According to Kiguktak, most flights in and out of her community stop in Pond Inlet. As a consequence, the number of seats available for residents of Grise Fiord are limited. To remedy this, she hopes to establish direct flights from Grise Fiord to Ottawa.

Kiguktak's second major concern is to provide more daycare services within the community. There are many parents who cannot work because they do not have a babysitter, she said.

The third major concern for Grise Fiord is climate change. It is greatly affecting the community, said Kiguktak.

Kenny Bell, the new mayor of Iqaluit plans on following a business friendly agenda.
photo courtesy of Frank Reardon

Due to warmer temperatures, the ice is not freezing as early as in past years. This makes it very difficult for the residents to hunt seal and polar bear. This is a community that relies heavily on these animals for food, she said.

About 75 per cent of the voters, elected Harry Alookie as the mayor for Qikiqtarjuaq. With three years of working experience in the community's hamlet, Alookie has a long list of issues he wants to tackle. The housing crisis, economic development, municipal infrastructures, judicial system, education, elders and youth involvement are all on his list.

More specifically, Alookie wants to build a new municipal garage. According to Alookie, its location is not ideal since it is located in the middle of the community.

In terms of economic development the new mayor wants to build a fish plant with a cold storage unit as his community boasts a fleet of three fishing boats.

He also wants to involve the elders and youth more in the community. Although he did not mention specific plans, he did state, "Our youth is our future and we ought to bring opportunities for their future endeavours."