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A new venue for the park

Tim Edwards
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rankin Inlet's Elders Cabin has been demolished, but the new one is slated to be sleeker, more spacious and have electricity and amenities one might expect from a conference centre in the hamlet, and the project has a $284,000 price tag.

NNSL photo/graphic

Pictured is the now-demolished Elders Cabin outside Rankin Inlet, which is being replaced with a $284,000 facility that will serve not only as a place for elders' events, but as a pavilion for the Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park. - photo courtesy of Nunavut Parks and Special Places

The cabin had served as a gathering centre for those out visiting the park, as well as by government departments to host Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit events in the Iqalugaarjuup Nunanga Territorial Park, where the cabin is situated just outside the hamlet, according to Cameron DeLong, manager of parks, planning and operations with Nunavut Parks and Special Places under the GN Department of Environment.

It was also used for things "as simple as going in and making a wood fire and boiling water to have tea, whether they were out hunting or berry-picking," said DeLong.

Whereas the old building was a small octagon, around nine metres in circumference, the new building will be approximately nine metres long and eight metres wide, with about 70 to 93 square metres of floor space.

DeLong said, through meetings with elders' groups, a main request was an area where they could gather and sit down and lay out skins without being cramped. The new space will serve this purpose with both indoor floor space and patio space.

The contract for the building was tendered out, and has been awarded to Rankin-based Inukshuk Construction Ltd. The old cabin was demolished in early June - it would have fallen to pieces if it had been moved and wasn't worth renovating, said DeLong - and construction on the new one is schedule for completion at the end of September, providing the material arrives in quick fashion on the next sealift within the next few weeks.

The old building was basically a room with a woodstove in the centre, said DeLong - it served the purpose of being a shelter from the weather, but that was about it. The design for the new facility calls for a generator, a diesel heater, a woodstove, countertops and cabinets, and a patio with an overhang.

Its exterior look is designed to mimic that of a sod house or iglu, and will look similar to the change-house at Sandy Lake, in the park, except on a much larger scale.

Also, there will be steel reinforced doors and door frames, and the glass windows - a step up from the previous acrylic glass in energy efficiency - will be barred.

"Vandalism has been an issue but it hasn't been a huge issue," said DeLong. "There were occasions over the course of the winter and even sometimes in the summertime where door handles had been locked and the doors had been kicked in."

Though it's traditionally been called the Elders Cabin, DeLong said the new facility will serve as a more of a park pavilion and a new venue for events in the park. It will be available for rental for various events, be it weddings, barbecues or meetings. There will be "nominal" rental fees for its use for private or government-related functions, though "as it has traditionally been used as an elders' facility, those individuals under those organizations will still have access to this facility free of charge."

"By no means are we looking to do this to profit, it's simply to cover our operational costs," said DeLong.

"I'm certain community members will be glad to use it once it's erected."

Kangiqliniq Hunters and Trappers Organization manager Norman Ford said the demolition of the cabin won't really affect hunters in the area.

"The Elders Cabin is mainly for the elders during spring, summer and fall ... it hasn't affected our hunters that much."

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