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Mixed reviews on legislative sitting

Jillian Dickens
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Dec 07/05) - MLA David Alagalak has nothing good to say about this last round at the legislative assembly, while his counterpart MLA Patterk Netser is quite pleased with its outcome.

Both members from the Kivalliq, Alagalak represents Arviat, while Netser's riding includes Coral Harbour and Chesterfield Inlet.

The Nunavut assembly reviewed the territories proposed 2006-2007 capital budget.

And from what Alagalak sees, "very little" of the budget will go to Arviat. "Even though I put forward many long-overdue capital projects that were even indicated by previous governments," said Alagalak.

Among projects he listed are: a larger water reservoir, the safe harbour project, a larger community hall, a solid waste plant, increased larger oil tank capacity, a new hamlet office and heated parking spaces for hamlet employees.

"Zero of these projects have been identified in the capital budget," said Alagalak.

He complained Iqaluit will be allotted a large part of the budget due in part to the fact it has three MLAs.

"Plus one of them is a minister and another is the premier."

The Nunavut Electoral Boundaries Commission is working on splitting the rapidly expanding community of 2,200 into two ridings, which would give Arviat more representation in the legislature, he said.

Coral Harbour's one school is bursting at the seams, said Netser, which is why he is so pleased a new high school is to be included in the capital plan. "The school we have now was built in the '70s; it's overcrowded and there are health concerns and other concerns because of that," he said, adding the facility handles kindergarten to Grade 12 students.

Construction of the new high school is scheduled to begin in 2010, but Netser hopes "to speed it up a couple of years."

The fire truck Netser has been requesting for Chesterfield Inlet over the last few years is also expected to show up in the next budget, he said.

"That is a very good thing for the community," he said.

He's also hoping a portion of the $5 million set aside for non-decentralized communities from the territory's Northern Strategy funding will go to Chesterfield Inlet.

"There haven't been too many disappointments with this sitting, although issues have been progressing slowly," he said.

"I would like to see these needs addressed yesterday, but there's not enough money around for that."