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Legislative Briefs

Storage no solution

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 27/02) - Great Slave Lake MLA Bill Braden said he's not liking where the search for a solution to the looming hazard beneath Giant Mine is heading.

Braden said leaving the arsenic where it is unacceptable. He was responding to a CBC report broadcast earlier this month. In the report, the contractor in charge of the clean-up suggested that, currently, the best approach to dealing with the 237,000 tones of toxic dust stored underground at Giant is to leave it where it is, freezing the ground around it if necessary.

"My contention is that's not a solution and I think it's DIAND's responsibility to deliver a solution, not an interim management approach," Braden said.

The rookie MLA urged residents of Yellowknife, Ndilo and Dettah to attend information sessions DIAND is hosting this week and next.

A 2001 report on options for dealing with the arsenic trioxide stored underground at Giant indicated leaving it where it is would be the cheapest and safest option.

"The NWT needs a permanent solution to end this problem for good, not a storage site that we hand off to our grandchildren in the hope that they have the will and the way to fix it," Braden said.

Party poopers

Why can Yellowknifers tip a few in their favourite watering holes while watching the U.S. pro football championship but not while witnessing Team Canada skate to Olympic hockey gold?

Range Lake MLA Sandy Lee raised that question in the legislature Monday. Lee said a local hockey team sponsored by Boston Pizza was denied a special event permit that would have allowed Boston Pizza to open for Sunday's 5-2 win against Team U.S.A.

"I'm quite mystified by the reasons given to them. Apparently the reason was that the only special sports event that special licences are given are the Super Bowl and Grey Cup," Lee said.

Lost along with a good time was a chance to be part of the broadcast of the event. Television coverage of the game included fan reaction from across Canada. The Boston Pizza gathering was to be one of the featured locales.

The Black Knight Pub was also denied a special event permit for the game.

No karaoke in Wha Ti

The recreation centre in Wha Ti that burned down Monday will be replaced as quickly as possible, said Public Works Minister Vince Steen.

Steen was responding to a call from North Slave MLA Leon Lafferty, who itemized what was lost in the blaze.

"In addition to losing this community hall, the community lost a big screen TV, VCR, stereo system, pool tables and karaoke machine," Lafferty said. "Now they have nowhere to sing."

Lafferty called for the materials for the new hall to be moved up the winter road this season. Steen initially said it was not possible to move that quickly, but later added, "If it is at all possible, we will do it this year."

Ralph wrong

Premier Stephen Kakfwi denounced his Alberta counterpart's attack on the Kyoto agreement during the "Team Canada" trade mission to Moscow and Munich.

"It was all a surprise to us," said Kakfwi of Ralph Klein's presentation of a letter demanding Ottawa not ratify the Kyoto protocol. Klein said all of the provinces supported the letter. The protocol, signed in 1995 is aimed at limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

"We felt given we were on a foreign trade mission and we were in another country, this was not a way to do business and certainly not a way to lend dignity and respect to the office of the Prime Minister," Kakfwi said.

The premier said the territorial government remains committed to ratifying the agreement. Kakfwi added he Northern stakeholders must be consulted before an agreement is ratified.