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Legislative Assembly briefs
New aviation memorial needed: MLA

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny wants the territorial government to commission a new aviation memorial in the wake of three tragic plane crashes last year that claimed the lives of 16 people, including six Yellowknife-based crew members.

The GNWT hasn't commissioned an aviation memorial since 1969 with the completion Pilot's Monument, said Dolynny.

He said it's important to discuss a memorial for the people who died in these incidents now because the assembly won't be sitting during the one-year anniversary of the accidents.

First Air flight 6560 crashed Aug. 20, 2011 while trying to land in Resolute. Among the 12 dead were Yellowknife residents David Hare, the co-pilot, and flight attendants Ute Merritt and Ann Marie Chassie.

A little more than a month later Arctic Sunwest pilots Trevor Jonasson and Nicole Stacey were killed after the Twin Otter floatplane they were flying crashed on landing in Old Town, Sept. 22.

Air Tindi pilot Matthew Bromley and passenger Timothy Harris died after the Cessna 208B they were flying in crashed into a cliff, Oct. 4.

Dolynny wants a memorial commemorating the lost lives.

"August 20, 2011 will be ever ingrained in our history as being a very terrible day," said Dolynny, referring to the First Air crash.

Transportation Minister David Ramsay said the idea of an aviation memorial is a good one, and agrees the government should have some involvement.

"There are a lot of issues that would have to be covered in the development of a memorial," said Ramsay.

He said there are a lot of aviation companies, businesses and families who would have to be considered.

"We haven't received a proposal from any party interested in the development of a memorial," said Ramsay.

"If that was going to happen we would certainly work with whoever brought forward a proposal."

Transitional housing left in the cold

The Residential Tenancies Act doesn't provide a definition for transitional housing, and that's a problem for people trying to get back on their feet, said Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro.

She said without a definition the NWT rental officer has no power.

Transitional housing is provided by places like the Bailey House, Rockhill Apartments and the Centre for Northern Families and is designed to act as a step between homelessness and independent living.

"They can offer life skills, like cooking or finance classes," said Bisaro on Monday, following statements made on housing in the legislative assembly the week before.

Her statement on June 5 was part of three housing related issues she raised. The first was on the lack of power of the NWT rental officer to enforce orders.

The second was a lack of cap on rent increases - the only limit being it can only happen once every 12 months - and the third was regarding transitional housing.

She drew her statements from the NWT rental officer's report, released in December 2011.

Bisaro said without a definition of transitional housing in the act, the rental officer is powerless to mediate in disputes between tenants and landlords.

Their only option would be to go to court, which is time-consuming and costly.

She said some of her constituents have been repeatedly asking about protection for transitional housing tenants.

"All NWT renters and landlords should be covered by this act no matter what type of accommodation they live in," said Bisaro.

The last time the act was amended was in 2008, which did not address the rising popularity of this type of housing.

Justice Minister Glen Abernethy said all of the rental officer's recommendations are being looked at by the department and the findings will be discussed in the sitting in October.

"We are going to do the review and we are going to bring it to members for some decisions," said Abernethy.

Local food key to lower costs

Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley says the GNWT needs to do more to lower the cost of living, and one way is to encourage local food production.

"We are dependent on costly southern food so the affordability of eating right is an issue," said Bromley.

He said not only are costs higher, but it means hard-earned money flows south instead of staying within the territory.

"We lack a long-term plan for agriculture including an NWT food production policy," said Bromley.

Bromley said infrastructure and access to the land is needed.

According to Bromley, there are 1.3 million hectares of arable land in the NWT and only 170 hectares are being used.

There are current community based projects that are making a difference, said Bromley. Most communities now have community gardens sprouting up and providing access to local produce.

He also said increased production in birch syrup, wild berry harvesting and exotic mushroom collecting are on the rise in Yellowknife.

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