This is page numbers 41 - 72 of the Hansard for the 13th Assembly, 8th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was information.

Topics

Members Present

Honourable Jim Antoine, Honourable Charles Dent, Mr. Erasmus, Honourable Sam Gargan, Mrs. Groenewegen, Mr. Henry, Honourable Stephen Kakfwi, Mr. Krutko, Honourable Michael Miltenberger, Mr. Morin, Mr. Ootes, Mr. Rabesca, Honourable Floyd Roland, Honourable Vince Steen.

Oh, God, may your spirit and guidance be in us as we work for the benefit of all our people, for peace and justice in our land and for the constant recognition of the dignity and aspirations of those whom we serve. Amen.

Item 1: Prayer
Item 1: Prayer

Page 41

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Good afternoon. Orders of the day. Item 2, Ministers' statements. Mr. Dent.

Minister's Statement 5-13(8): Inuvik Gas Project Signals New Era For NWT Power Corporation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 41

Charles Dent Yellowknife Frame Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Good afternoon. Mr. Speaker, many Northerners remember the exciting days of the 1970s, and the oil and gas exploration boom in the Mackenzie Delta and Beaufort Sea. We witnessed the discovery of some of the largest reserves of hydrocarbon resources in the world.

Today, along with my colleague, the Honourable Floyd Roland, MLA for Inuvik, I take pleasure in saying that the NWT Power Corporation is one of the first commercial users of these resources. Tomorrow, the NWT Power Corporation will join with the Town of Inuvik and the Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation and their partners, Alta Gas Services Incorporated, and Enbridge Incorporated, in ceremonies to mark the arrival of the first commercial gas deliveries from the Ikhil field. The ceremony will include the start up of two new natural gas driven generators.

Of special significance is the Power Corporation's role as the anchor customer for the system. The corporation's conversion from diesel fuel was the economic key to the project, and brings many benefits to Inuvik power customers.

Over the minimum 15 year life of the project, the new gas supply will replace some 70 barge loads of southern diesel fuel imports to Inuvik. This will save Inuvik power customers an estimated $20 to $25 million by, in part, decreasing the future need for infrastructure to generate electricity.

Greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by some 100,000 tonnes, or 32 percent by new gas driven engines that run cleaner, quieter and more efficiently than diesels. This improvement will help the Corporation, and the NWT, play our part in achieving Canada's commitment to reduce pollution as part of the 1996 Kyoto clean air accord.

As Inuvik Gas Limited develops the town's gas distribution system, businesses and homeowners will be also able to convert to the new energy source for heating and other uses.

This development holds great promise for similar projects in other NWT communities located near natural gas discoveries or pipelines.

Along with Mr. Roland, I invite this Assembly to join me in congratulating the Town of Inuvik, the Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation and the NWT Power Corporation on their achievement and this exciting new era in northern energy development. Thank you.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 5-13(8): Inuvik Gas Project Signals New Era For NWT Power Corporation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 41

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Ministers' statements. Mr. Miltenberger.

Minister's Statement 6-13(8): Sharing Best Ideas
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 41

Michael Miltenberger Thebacha

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in the summer, I tabled a response to the recommendations of the Forum on Education. One of the areas that were highlighted in the response was the need to share the best ideas of educators across the Northwest Territories. In individual classrooms, teachers or other school staff are using innovative and interesting approaches for teaching different subjects and concepts. These approaches might work for other students in other classrooms but there has not been a good way to share them.

Efforts are underway to find ways to share information between schools and teachers. One excellent example of collaboration and sharing of best practices is a binder of material entitled "Promising Practices, Ideas That Work in Northern Secondary Classrooms" which has just been produced by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment. This document contains the ideas, techniques and strategies that have worked for teachers in northern classrooms.

The binder includes a broad range of topics including general teaching and learning strategies; strategies specific to certain subjects; strategies for program and student support; administration; school spirit and school wide events; and encouraging school/community interaction.

There are more than 104 different ideas in this resource binder. For each strategy, there is information on what the benefits are to the student, what material are needed, detailed how to instructions and a section called "Keep in Mind" which gives practical tips for making the strategy work for students. Each strategy also identifies the teacher who submitted the strategy and at which school they were teaching.

The binder will be distributed to all schools in the NWT and will also be available electronically. the hope is that this is only the beginning and teachers will continue to contribute their most successful ideas, adding to this initial collection.

Mr. Speaker, this excellent practical support material can only exist with the contributions of those who are working with our students on a daily basis. We appreciate the efforts of the many teachers who contributed to this resource binder and will try to encourage all educators to expand the sharing of ideas and resources. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 6-13(8): Sharing Best Ideas
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

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The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Steen.

Minister's Statement 7-13(8): NWT Highway Strategy
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 42

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the Department of Transportation has been working, since May of 1998, to complete background planning work on four major road projects as part of a strategy for highway development in the NWT. Today I would like to provide you with a status report on this important initiative.

The four projects included in the Highway Strategy are the Slave Geological Province Transportation Corridor, extension of the Mackenzie Valley Highway, a road from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk and finally, acceleration of Highway 3 reconstruction from Rae to Yellowknife.

The funding allocated to this initiative has been used to undertake economic, environmental, financing and pre-engineering studies for each of the four road projects. The majority of these studies are now complete.

Extensive consultations with all stakeholders were a key element of each of the studies undertaken. These included stakeholder workshops in Yellowknife and other regional centres, public meetings and interviews in each affected community and, one on one interviews with key stakeholders. Stakeholder Advisory Committees were organized to assist the department in establishing the scope for the study areas and reviewing the results.

The Highway Strategy initiative has been successful both in establishing a comprehensive database of information on new road construction in the Northwest Territories, and by involving all stakeholders in this process.

Mr. Speaker, in terms of future activities, the department intends to complete all studies that are currently underway and will undertake additional analysis as needs or opportunities arise. Department officials are currently preparing two reports that will present the results of the work completed to date. The first report will present a concise summary of the result for each of the studies undertaken. This report will be made available to stakeholders and the general public shortly. The second report will outline the departments's vision of the future NWT highway system and a plan of action to achieve that vision.

In closing Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that plans are now being made to present the study results and the vision for new roads to Minister Kakfwi's Economic Strategy Panel. I fully expect the panel will include the results of the Highway Strategy initiative among its recommendations for inclusion in this government's Economic Strategy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 7-13(8): NWT Highway Strategy
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 42

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Roland.

Minister's Statement 8-13(8): Mdapp Evaluation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 42

Floyd Roland Inuvik

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I wish to provide the House with a summary of the success of the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation's Minimum Down Payment Assistance Pilot Program or as it is more commonly known MDAPP.

As you know, Mr. Speaker, this pilot program gave people grants towards the down payment of a home. Grants of $10,000 were provided to those living below the treeline and $15,000 grants were provided above the treeline.

As this was a pilot program Cabinet directed that an evaluation be conducted once MDAPP was completed. This was done because MDAPP was the first time a program aimed at stimulating the NWT's economy through housing sales was attempted. According to this review, the following results were achieved:

- almost 75 percent of the families surveyed indicated that they would not have been able to buy their home without the MDAPP grant

- 555 families, in 16 NWT communities became homeowners through MDAPP

- close to $5.6 million was spent under MDAPP which stimulated almost $70 million in real estate transactions

- families who received MDAPP report they expect to spend over $3 million for renovations and improvements to their new homes in the next year

- 22 percent or 118 families assisted through MDAPP moved to the NWT in the last two years

- a further 59 families assisted by MDAPP moved from either another community in the NWT or a Nunavut community in the last two years, many of those surveyed said they had moved because of jobs

- during the pilot program there was no increase in the number of rental units available on the market. It is believed that this was due to a large number of families who sold their homes moved into rental accommodation.

Mr. Speaker, this evaluation shows that the pilot program was successful in meeting its stated objectives, which were:

- stimulate the sales of existing homes on the market which were having a detrimental effect on the demand for new home construction;

- encourage workers and their families from the south to become permanent residents of the NWT;

- encourage workers to move between communities to take advantage of job opportunities, and

- to encourage economic spin-offs through renovations, improvements and home purchases.

Mr. Speaker, while the evaluation met its stated objectives, it is apparent that continuing it may have negative affects on the private rental market and yield diminishing results as the housing market absorbs the assistance through price increases. For this reason there are no plans by the Housing Corporation to reintroduce this program.

Copies of the entire MDAPP evaluation will be presented to Cabinet and will be placed on the Housing Corporations's web page in the near future for public access. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 8-13(8): Mdapp Evaluation
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 43

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you, Mr. Roland. Ministers' statements. Mr. Steen.

Minister's Statement 9-13(8): Highway System Improvements
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 43

Vince Steen Nunakput

Mr. Speaker, this year the Department of Transportation will spend over $17 million to complete a large number of needed improvements to our highways. The department tries to find the proper balance between improving safety and level of service and extending the life of the system. At the same time, creating business, employment training and job opportunities for Northerners is a priority.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present a brief summary of the larger jobs the department has undertaken. In the South Slave area, construction on the replacement of the West Channel bridge in Hay River will begin later this fall. The project is scheduled for completion in the new fiscal year. The department has completed 33 kilometres of chipseal overlay on the Mackenzie Highway north of the Alberta-NWT Border and a 10 kilometre chipseal overlay on Highway 5 near Buffalo Junction.

In the North Slave area, reconstruction and paving of Highway 3 between Rae-Edzo and Yellowknife began this year. Two projects will result in very noticeable improvements to 17 of the last 90 kilometres of this highway. At the Rae-Edzo end, safety will be enhanced by improving the grade and reducing the number of curves in a 12.5 kilometre section of the highway from 24 to six. This section of the road will be open to traffic by the end of this year's construction season. Application of a chipseal surface will complete this project next summer. At the Yellowknife end of Highway 3, a project to rebuild and pave 4.5 kilometres near the airport will be finished in the next few weeks. Finally, a major safety improvement to a short section of the Ingraham Trail with one of the highest accident occurrence rates on the highway system is underway. The project will be complete this year and will reduce the steepness of the grade and replace the three existing curves on the 2.5 kilometre section with a single, less severe, curve.

In the Sahtu, area, winter road improvements will continue this year. Permanent bridges will be complete at Canyon and Vermillion Creeks and a new bridge started at the Ochre River. A number of grade improvements will also be completed this winter in continuing efforts to extend the operating window of this important transportation connection to Sahtu communities.

In the Mackenzie Delta, the Dempster Highway celebrated its 20th Anniversary on August 18. A new gravel surface was applied to 34 kilometres of the highway between the Yukon boarder and the Peal River, and, 35 kilometres of the highway between Fort McPherson and Tsiigehtchic were reconstructed and widened. The amount of dust free surface on the Dempster Highway increased from 30 to 106 kilometres. Mr. Speaker, I drove this highway from Inuvik to Eagle Plains last weekend and I am proud to say that the condition of the Dempster Highway in the NWT is now considerably better than that in the Yukon.

--Applause

Mr. Speaker, our job is not done. In fact, we have a long ways to go. Our transportation goals can only be achieved if new money is found to invest in transportation infrastructure. It is with that in mind, Mr. Speaker, that I look forward to attending a meeting of all of Canada's Transportation Minister's at the end of September. While there, I will continue to lobby hard for the federal government to commit, in its next budget, long term funding for a national highway system. I will also call for an equitable method of allocating federal funding to smaller jurisdictions such as the Northwest Territories.

Mr. Speaker, I want to assure the Members today that the Department of Transportation takes its responsibility for the safety of the highway system very seriously. While the department may not have the resources to do all of the work that we would like it to do, or to do the work as quickly as the travelling public might wish, we are making significant progress. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

--Applause

Minister's Statement 9-13(8): Highway System Improvements
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 43

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. Ministers' statements. Mr. Steen.

Minister's Statement 10-13(8): The Trans-canada Trail
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 43

Vince Steen Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am pleased to speak to you about the Trans-Canada Trail, one of Canada's millennium projects. This project will establish 16,000 kilometres of trail from coast to coast to coast. The NWT Recreation and Parks Association is working with local communities, government departments and the Trans-Canada Trail Foundation to develop the trail in the NWT.

Mr. Speaker, I was asked to lend my support, on behalf of this government, to the designation of the Northwest Territories sections of the Trans-Canada Trail. These sections reflect the traditional and modern aspects of our transportation heritage in the Northwest Territories. The first section of the trail follows the Mackenzie River from Fort Providence at Great Slave Lake to Tuktoyaktuk on the Beaufort Sea. This is the territory's natural and historic transportation route. The other section is the Dempster Highway from the Yukon Border to Inuvik representing our modern transportation system.

The NWT Recreation and Parks Association is also planning the grand opening of the Trans-Canada Trail with an event called Relay 2000. The trailhead in Tuktoyaktuk will be the official start point of the relay. Water will be taken from the Arctic Ocean on February 19, 2000 and will be relayed along the Mackenzie River. Water will also be drawn in a similar fashion from the two other trailheads on the west and east coasts of Canada. A ceremony was held will be held in Hull, Quebec on September 9, 2000 to commemorate the end of Relay 2000 and the official opening of the Trans-Canada Trail.

Mr. Speaker, I seek unanimous consent to waive rule 34(6) so that all Ministers' statements filed with the Clerk can be delivered today. Thank you.

Minister's Statement 10-13(8): The Trans-canada Trail
Item 2: Ministers' Statements

Page 44

The Speaker Samuel Gargan

Thank you. You still have a minute and a half. The Member for Nunakput is seeking unanimous consent to wave his rules 34(6). Do we have any nays? There are no nays. Mr. Steen, you have unanimous consent.