Options are being explored to set up an RCMP detachment in Gameti and replace the aging detachment in Whati, said Justice Minister R.J. Simpson in the legislative assembly on Wednesday.
Simpson said the Whati detachment is about 30 years old and is no longer up to RCMP standards.
“(It’s) being replaced. It’s a federal asset. There’s a process where the feds surplus their goods,” he said in an exchange with Monfwi MLA Jackson Lafferty.
“I’m not sure what the cost would be to move this building. Sometimes it’s very expensive to move a building,” Simpson said.
The facility that the Mounties are using in Gameti, north of Whati, is also not suitable and individuals detained by police are consequently kept in the back of police cruisers or in the community government office, Simpson added.
Speaking in both Tlicho and English, Lafferty explained that Gameti has been asking for a proper detachment building for several years.
“Can we expedite this process before the winter road is built? The community is badly expressing a need for a detachment in Gameti,” Lafferty said.
Simpson responded that he has reached out to the RCMP on the process, has tried to connect with Gameti Chief David Wedawin for some time and is open to meeting with the Tlicho Government to get things moving.
“When the federal government is involved, I can’t commit to expediting, it’s the nature of the beast. It’s been about a month since this came up but I’m doing my best,” he said.
NT RCMP spokesperson Marie York-Condon confirmed that a new replacement detachment for Whati is underway and requests for tenders on contracts have been sent out.
She couldn’t provide a timeline on the next stage in the process.
Discussions about the Gameti detachment are ongoing with the Department of Justice, she added.
Wedawin was not immediately available for further comment.