The Northwest Territories Association of Communities (NWTAC) will hold its annually generally meeting in Hay River next year.
That is not surprising, since the organization rotates its AGM among three of the largest communities in the NWT.
However, what may surprise some people is that the NWTAC gathering will coincide for the first time with K’amba Carnival, which raises questions about the availability of accommodations in Hay River and on the Hay River Reserve.
Deputy Mayor Robert Bouchard noted that fact on March 9 when informing town council of next year’s AGM.
“The same weekend as K’amba,” he said. “So we’ll have to work on how to figure out all the accommodation stuff.”
Bouchard, along with Mayor Kandis Jameson and senior administrative officer Judy Goucher, attended the NWTAC’s most recent annual meeting from Feb. 27 to 29 in Inuvik.
Goucher said the idea of the town hosting the AGM was discussed with K’atlodeeche First Nation (KFN) Chief April Martel, who was also at the Inuvik meeting, before the town made any commitment to host.
“And the NWT Association of Communities staff also called around to the various suppliers of accommodation just to confirm that there would be enough,” said Goucher. “So for sure I think it’s going to be a busy time for KFN and for the Town of Hay River, but I think if we work together we’ll be able to accommodate it. And I think it’s a great opportunity for people who wouldn’t otherwise get down to see the K’amba events to get a chance to. The people in the northern communities, they’re very excited it’s happening on that weekend.”
The AGM is set for March 4 to 7, 2021.
Sara Brown, the executive director with the NWTAC, said the organization “absolutely” considered accommodation when it decided on those dates.
“We conferred with the hotels,” she said. “We’ll be block booking. We have about a one-month window we can host our event in.”
Brown noted that there will be a hockey tournament the previous weekend and Polar Pond Hockey the following weekend, both events which fill up hotels in Hay River.
About 120 participants will be expected for the AGM.
Brown said many of them will be excited to see K’amba Carnival to really experience the community.
She also noted it will be the first time for the NWTAC to experience the newly-renamed Hay River Community Centre.
In 2018, the organization had planned to hold its AGM at the centre, but it wasn’t completed in time. Instead, the meeting was held at Soaring Eagle Friendship Centre and the Ptarmigan Inn.