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Rockin’ the lake for the new year

Folks in Rankin Inlet were treated to a dazzling fireworks display to ring in the new year, thanks to the combined efforts of the local fire and recreation departments on Dec. 31.

Fire Chief Mark Wyatt is a licensed pyro technician, and he and hamlet SAO Justin Merritt worked together to give the green light to have three members of the fire department (George Aksadjuak, Kyle Lowe and Kelly Kabvitok) and two from the rec department (David Clark and Cody Tulugak) receive professional training for doing fireworks shows.

Fireworks burst behind the inukshuk to create an almost magical image in Rankin Inlet on Dec. 31. photo courtesy of Atuat Shouldice

Wyatt said he worked with the Winnipeg-based Archangel Fireworks Inc. to have an Energy, Mines and Resources Canada certified course delivered in Rankin.

He said all five passed the course and became certified fireworks technicians.

"Passing the course means the five of them can work on fireworks shows, but they have to work on three shows as a technician before they can get certified as a display supervisor, which is the level I have," said Wyatt.

"They'll work with me on three shows: the New Year's Eve show we just did, one we'll try to do in the early spring, and the next show on Dec. 31, 2018.

"Once that's done, anyone of them can purchase commercial fireworks and organize shows.

"So, that's what went into it in order to pull it all together, and we worked with Archangel Fireworks to put on the New Year's Eve show and that company was absolutely superb to work with."

Wyatt said the hamlet also ordered some new mortars because a lot more were needed than what the hamlet had to properly do a show.

He said the show was set up for Dec. 31, and it turned out to be a perfect night for a fireworks display.

"Everything went really well and the overwhelming positive response of the public to the show says it all.

"In the past, the hamlet was using the family-type fireworks that you can buy at the local Co-op.

"That would have a roman candle that would go 60 feet up into the air, where we were using commercial 100-shell cakes and two-, three- and four-inch fireworks shells.

"The four-inch shells go about 600-feet up into the air, so it's the difference between fireworks you would do in your backyard, and fireworks you'd see in any major city for a major celebration."