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Mayor Tommy Aiyout says Taloyoak's air terminal building is in need of replacement. - NNSL file photo

Airport and arena issues in Taloyoak

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 25, 2012

Taloyoak continues to have infrastructure woes, with its arena needing renovation and its air terminal building needing a full replacement.

The community has had ongoing issues with the arena, such as with the heating and cooling system, the glass boards and the changing rooms, said Taloyoak Mayor Tommy Aiyout. He said the building dates back to the early 1990s.

"We need some work on the arena badly for the upcoming season. We had so many problems before with the arena," he said. "The construction workers, they go there, they fix up a little bit at a time. It's a big issue here."

Aiyout said the hamlet closed the arena in April for safety reasons.

"The glass boards were broken and it wasn't safe anymore for the kids and adults," he said. "The community is very frustrated ... we had to close it down for safety issues."

Nattilik MLA Jeannie Ugyuk raised the issue at the legislature on June 4, noting this is the third year the arena has not opened on schedule and, when it has opened, it has only been for two to three weeks at a time.

Community and Government Services Minister Lorne Kusugak said he could not state when the arena would be renovated but added it is a priority.

Officials at CGS and the contractors are meeting to resolve issues with the project, said Kusugak.

Ugyuk invited the minister to come to Taloyoak and see the arena for himself.

"When we continue to see problem after problem surface that are causing a barrier to the completion of (the) hockey arena, it is not good," she said.

The arena is not the only infrastructure issue facing Taloyoak. The community has been waiting for a new health centre for more than a decade and also needs a new air terminal building.

"The airport terminal, it's really tiny for the town now," he said. "We got two airlines; when they arrive at the same time, it's overcrowded. People going in go straight out by the other door."

Shawn Maley, director of Nunavut airports, said the GN will spend $100,000 this year to fix up the air terminal building and additional funds will look at developing a plan for replacing it.

"There is no money yet in place to replace it but we're looking forward at a plan to do it at an affordable manner," he said.

He added replacing an air terminal building typically costs $4 million but the GN is looking at alternative approaches to make it more affordable, and wants to use Taloyoak as a case study. The community is in the greatest need of a new air terminal building out of any community in the territory.

A new health centre for Taloyoak has been in the capital plan since 1999 but there is no funding for it in this year's capital plan, noted Ugyuk, a situation she said is unacceptable for the community.

"In 1999, they (community) started asking for the new health centre and it's been on the drawing board a couple of times," she said.

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