Stevie Komoartuk and Eric Lawlor are in a two-way race to become Pangnirtung’s next mayor. One of these candidates will be filling the shoes of the former mayor Hezakiah Oshutapik, who died of a heart attack last April. The municipal byelection is set for August 24.
Komoartuk was elected mayor of Pangnirtung in 2017. However, due to medical problems, he had to resign his position after two years in 2019.
Komoartuk said he is now well and ready to utilize his past experience in public service to help the community.
Before being elected as mayor Komoartuk was a hamlet councillor from 2010 to 2017. He believes his years of experience working for the hamlet has provided him with an understanding of how the hamlet operates.
One of his top priorities as mayor would be to deal with the local airstrip.
“I would really like to get something going for our local airstrip here,” he said.
“Here we are (in) 2020, we are still looking at the dangers of coming into Pangnirtung every day with the aircraft.”
For Eric Lawlor, this is the first time he is running for mayor. He has been working with the hamlet since 2007.
“I know pretty much all the roles within the hamlet pretty well,” said Lawlor.
He has been a bylaw officer, youth centre manager, economic development officer and most recently the planning and lands officer for the Pangnirtung hamlet.
Lawlor said his past experience has helped him recognize the needs of the community and allowed him to develop a “good connection” with community members. He has been living in Pangnirtung since 2002 after moving from New Brunswick.
“I’ve always been very keen on helping the community and doing what I can to make the community better for my kids when they grow up,” he added.
The 38-year-old has five children, including two foster children.
He wants to push for the establishment of a “community development corporation or community interest corporation,” in order to tackle economic, social and environmental issues.
Lawlor said as a mayor he would prioritize the relocation of a youth centre, which is presently closed.
“The youth need a place to go and stay,” he said.
Voting will take place from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the community hall on August 24. On August 17, advanced polls will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., while mobile polls will be held at the council chambers from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.