This is page numbers 4285 - 4326 of the Hansard for the 17th Assembly, 5th 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 public.

Topics

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

Page 4294

The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Bromley. The honourable Minister of ITI, Mr. Ramsay.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

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David Ramsay Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Through the work of the EOS, it was identified that the territory does need to do some work in the area of policy when it comes to developing the agricultural industry here in the Northwest Territories. We are moving forward with development of an Agriculture Strategy for the Northwest Territories, which will include work towards a policy base, as well, for agriculture here in the Northwest Territories. We continue to work towards that. Thank you.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

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Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thanks to the Minister. I will remind the Minister, it is planting season, believe it or not, as we speak. When he spoke on the 25th of February, the Minister said it is important we maximize any opportunity we have to get people involved with the agricultural sector here in the NWT.

Recognizing that new approaches and technology could substantially increase production from small, intensively farmed plots and especially given our modest markets, how does refusing to help people because their operations are too small help maximize opportunities for them? Mahsi.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

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David Ramsay Kam Lake

We want to make sure we get things right and the Member is correct; we want to maximize opportunities. If changes to policy are going to allow us to maximize opportunities for people and it's in the best interest of the territory and the sector, that's something we are very much interested in doing. Thank you.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

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Bob Bromley Weledeh

I appreciate the Minister's commitment. With the one possible exception, the largest market gardens in the capital area are about 2,500 square feet, or about a sixteenth of an acre. These successful market gardens have just had their applications rejected because they are too small. So if the largest market gardens are too small, how does the Minister plan to change this policy in time for this season so that any agricultural development can go ahead in the North Slave region? Mahsi.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

Page 4294

David Ramsay Kam Lake

If there are changes that we could look at that would have an immediate impact - and I know the Member is very much interested in beginning to plant seeds here - we will take a look at that. I can give the Member every assurance that we will look into this matter and if we need to adjust the policy to allow funding applications to be approved, we will do just that. Thank you.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. Final, short supplementary, Mr. Bromley.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

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Bob Bromley Weledeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thanks to the Minister. I almost have no question left here.

Fresh produce is one of the largest contributors to the high cost of living, as I know the Minister is aware of in the North. We've got some very good people finding ways to make this happen and these are new ways.

Will the Minister commit to supporting the actual people and organizations that are, indeed, in place right now and making it happen and dealing with these disabling barriers in time for this season? Mahsi.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

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David Ramsay Kam Lake

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment has a very good track record when it comes to working with the Territorial Farmers' Association. We put on the NFTI, the Farm Training Institute in Hay River, last year. It was very successful. Again, we need to ensure that that relationship that we have with the Territorial Farmers' Association continues to be nourished. We are going forward again this spring with an Agriculture Strategy for the territory. We need to ensure we have a sound policy base. We need to ensure we are including stakeholders in the development of that strategy. We are going to put our best effort into that so we can continue to see the success that we've had in the agricultural sector here in the Northwest Territories continue to move forward. Thank you.

Question 254-17(5): Local Food Production
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Ramsay. The honourable Member for Yellowknife Centre, Mr. Hawkins.

Question 255-17(5): Cost/benefits Of New Yellowknife GNWT Office Building
Oral Questions

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Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will be asking questions to the Minister of Public Works regarding the downtown building that's being constructed at this time.

I guess my first question to the Public Works Minister is: What will be the full cost of this particular building? Once we hear that on the record, I'd like to know what we will be saving once we understand the investment required to build that building. I want to understand how much we will be saving, as a government, by having that building in place. Let's start with that. Thank you.

Question 255-17(5): Cost/benefits Of New Yellowknife GNWT Office Building
Oral Questions

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The Speaker Jackie Jacobson

Thank you, Mr. Hawkins. The honourable Minister of Public Works, Mr. Beaulieu.

Question 255-17(5): Cost/benefits Of New Yellowknife GNWT Office Building
Oral Questions

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Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I do not have the cost-benefit analysis of the savings between the construction of this building and continuing to lease office space. What I do have is the initial evaluation when we were going into building this office space. We were looking at the amount of space that we are leasing versus the amount of space that we own and ensuring we have a good balance for the city of Yellowknife. Thank you.

Question 255-17(5): Cost/benefits Of New Yellowknife GNWT Office Building
Oral Questions

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Robert Hawkins Yellowknife Centre

There have been a fair amount of questions regarding the impact of this potential new building. I shouldn't say “potential” new building; it's coming like a freight train. Much has been discussed about the vacancy rate and the impact this will have on our city and certainly the impact on attracting more investment from companies wanting to build office space.

What type of evaluation was done on rental vacancy? How does the Northwest Territories, particularly Yellowknife, compare to that study on vacancy rates and how does it compare to across Canada? What is considered a normal vacancy rate when we consider government-owned and leased buildings? I want to understand the type of vacancy vacuum we've created and the impact it will have on our local market to attract new investment in Yellowknife. Thank you.

Question 255-17(5): Cost/benefits Of New Yellowknife GNWT Office Building
Oral Questions

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Tom Beaulieu Tu Nedhe

My understanding is we haven't created a great amount of vacancy. In fact, we are still looking for some office space for some of the departments that are not moving out of lease space. That building will be filled by Department of Transportation and the Department of Health. The information I have here doesn't indicate that that building is going to create any hardship at all for any of the office people that provide office space, any of the businesses that are providing office space to the GNWT. Thank you.