At exactly 7 p.m. on April 10, the streets of Inuvik exploded with sirens and lights. Across town, every available fire truck and police vehicle could be heard at top volume.
This was no emergency, however. The Town of Inuvik’s first responders decided to hold a mini-parade to celebrate the work of essential workers from the hospital to the grocery store and everywhere in-between.
“The innovation actually came from RCMP officer Stephanie Leduc,” said Mayor Natasha Kulikowski. “Then in co-ordination with our fire chief and emergency medical services and they all had a chat and it came together.”
It’s one of several initiatives in the town to keep spirits positive as the new normal sets in across the Delta. With all indoor gatherings now explicitly banned and outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people or less, town administrators have joined other local governments in putting together activities for local residents.
An Easter egg design competition held over the April 10-12 long weekend maps out where lawns have been given a festive flair. And the Inuvik Centennial Library continues to publish videos of local leaders reading children’s stories.
One thing that has changed is the amount of people coming back into the area,
“There’s been a noticeable decline,” said Kulikowski. “A lot of the folks who came in those first few days of the order are pretty much reaching their two weeks now.”
Other work has not stopped while the town has been in crisis management, either. Kulikowski added work has been progressing behind the scenes on planned upgrades to Chief Jim Koe Park and the new welcoming sign, though she noted the town was still waiting for guidance from the Chief Public Health officer (CPHO) as to what sort of work can actually commence.
“The folks working on those projects are still actively working with the consultants and the companies to get us in a place where we would be ready for construction,” she said. “What we’re still seeing a hold up on whether or not we’re actually going to be able to start construction.
“The situation is so fluid right now that we have to go with the flow as we do this. So that will come as we as we understand what’s happening better in the world.”
Town Council plans to resume its regular meetings this week, starting April 15. However, because of the restrictions imposed by the CPHO the public is unable to attend, and Kulikowski speculated most council members would be attending remotely.
“Moving forward council will get back to the regular schedule,” she said. “The difference will be that we’ll be doing a social distancing way of doing council in which we will probably be using a teleconferencing or video conferencing system.
“Outside of council, the town has continued our essential services throughout, the garbage, the water, everything’s been continued there. The facilities are still closed and will remain that way until things change, but we do have staff working at all departments so if people have questions about what’s happening at the town or need information our staff are still answering phones.”
Updates on how the public can participate in council meetings while the COVID-19 crisis continues will be posted on the Inuvik Drum’s page when it becomes available.
Kulikowski wanted to remind residents that playgrounds were closed and to continue to be diligent in practicing physical distancing.
“Yesterday I had to talk to a group of kids in the park to tell them that it’s closed and why it’s closed,” she said. “So please continue to follow the GNWT website and recommendations from the CPHO to make sure everyone can be safe as possible.”