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NEWS BRIEFS: Community rallies around family displaced by house fire


A Sept. 28 fire destroyed a home in Kugluktuk and has forced a man, woman and their two teenage children to seek refuge with relatives.

Residents have been donating essential supplies to the family.

"The whole community is pitching in to get them whatever they need," said Kugluktuk Fire Chief Gordon Hikomak.

The blaze, which is still under investigation, broke out around 2 a.m. in the one-storey, three-bedroom home. The occupants were out of the building before the fire crew arrived, Hikomak said.

"It was really bad. As soon as we made it there, it was really in flames," he said of the scene. "The whole building was on fire really fast because the wind was a west wind. It made it worse."

Eleven firefighters responded and it took them close to four hours to fully extinguish the fire. Water trucks were needed to combat the blaze after the pump on the fire truck broke down about 15 minutes after it was deployed.

– Derek Neary


Kugluktuk man's death in police custody triggers investigation


The Calgary Police Service and the Nunavut Coroner's Office are investigating the death of a 22-year-old Kugluktuk man who died while in RCMP custody on Sept. 19 at Stanton Territorial Hospital in Yellowknife.

Emma Poole, team lead with the Calgary police force's media relations unit, said few others details will be made public at this time.
"I'm afraid at this point, this is about as much as I can confirm as the investigation is still ongoing," Poole stated. "These types of investigations typically take months, although it could take longer. We want to get it right and that takes time."

The results of the investigation, along with any recommendations relating to charges, will be forwarded to the Crown prosecutors' office for review, Poole added.

'V' Division RCMP, who contacted Calgary Police Service to conduct the external investigation, wouldn't elaborate.

"It would be inappropriate for the RCMP to comment further on this matter until the investigation is concluded," read a statement from the Iqaluit detachment.

– Derek Neary


Baffinland, QIA sign updated Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement


Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced the signing of an updated Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement (IIBA) on Oct. 3.

The mining company says the new deal will strengthen Baffinland's commitments to Qikiqtani communities.

Baffinland and QIA have jointly pledged to increase the benefits of the Mary River Mine to Nunavummiut by enhancing the focus on Inuit training and employment, according to a Baffinland news release. This will be done through:

- Increased skills and training opportunities for Nunavummiut

- Increased financial commitments to training and skills development

- Development of a state-of-the-art training facility in Pond Inlet

- Programs designed to specifically increase Inuit employment in all aspects of Baffinland's organization

- Improved support for all residents of the Qikiqtani communities

The updated agreement immediately replaces the original IIBA, which was signed in September 2013.

"The signing of the amended IIBA represents another major step in our commitment to deliver on our promise to bring employment and training opportunities to the Qikiqtani region," said Brian Penney, Baffinland president and CEO. "It also reflects the strong relationship between Baffinland and QIA, as we continue to find new ways to work in partnership and understand how we can continue to move forward and make a real difference for all Nunavummiut."

– Derek Neary