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Legislative Assembly briefs
Reflective tags for roadside bison: MLA

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Range Lake MLA Daryl Dolynny says it's high time the territorial government round up bison along Highway 3 and stick them with reflective tags to make them more visible at night.

Dolynny said the reflective tagging would not just make bison more visible but provide real-time herd management information.

"Their eyes don't reflect at night because their heads are so low," said Dolynny in the legislative assembly May 29.

But Environment Minister Michael Miltenberger doesn't believe the issue warrants a bigger investment.

"There's been a steady decline (in collisions with vehicles) since 2009," said Miltenberger.

There were 17 collisions in 2009, six in 2010, five in 2011 and none to date in 2012.

"There's a far greater chance of suffering any kind of injury or fatality by hitting a moose than there is a bison," said Miltenberger.

"Admittedly, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in conjunction with the Department of Transportation have done a relatively good job under the Wood Bison Management Strategy," said Dolynny.

The strategy includes: communicating with the public; increasing warning signs; and increased hunting.

"However, it is very clear that it is not enough given the unique circumstances and increased migration of bison onto our highway corridor."

Bring Northern wares to Northern stores

Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro is concerned about the lack of certified Northern goods available for purchase on the NWT tourism site She raised the issue in the legislative assembly May 29.

Visitors to the website can purchase pins, luggage tags and licence plates but there are no handmade crafts available online.

"They look great but they can hardly be called authentic Northern souvenirs," said Bisaro.

"Where are the products made by NWT residents? Where are the products from NWT shops and NWT businesses," she said.

Bisaro said NWT Tourism should be acting as a broker between artisans and the public with links directing people to Northern artists and businesses.

David Ramsay, minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, said he was looking into whether NWT Tourism could add links to artists and businesses.

"I think we, as a government, should take more of an active role in promoting our own artists and getting goods produced locally here in the NWT," said Ramsay.

Decentralize Yellowknife: Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen, MLA for Hay River South, says too much centralization in Yellowknife is hurting smaller communities.

In the legislative assembly on May 23, Groenewegen spoke about the need to distribute jobs and services across the NWT, instead of concentrating them in Yellowknife.

"No one wants to deny Yellowknife its prosperity," said Groenewegen.

"But it isn't necessary to sit back, to the detriment of the regions, and watch Yellowknife thrive."

Groenewegen acknowledged that the government can't change the location of natural resources and industries that develop around them, but she said the GNWT can change where it locates jobs, services, programs, meetings and certain projects.

Premier Bob McLeod said decentralization was identified as a priority at the beginning of the 17th legislative assembly.

"We are supportive of decentralization and we are beginning to make plans to take that under consideration," he said.

Groenewegen said while she didn't want rushed decisions made, she wanted the GNWT to "seriously analyze the opportunities to do things in the regions and communities outside of Yellowknife."

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