The mayor of Akulivik is frustrated over a lack of snowmobiles for sale at the community’s co-op store.
Like other northern communities, the people of Akulivik need snowmobiles in the winter for transportation, fishing and hunting, said Mayor Eli Angiyou.
Last summer, though, the Akulivik Co-op did not receive a shipment of snowmobiles during the sealift.
“Everybody should know that we’re not being treated very well right now,” Angiyou said.
Part of the reason he’s upset over the lack of snowmobiles relates to profit sharing, co-op members benefit from after a year of good business at the co-op.
Co-op members receive an end-of-year dividend based on good sales throughout the year. Without a stock, people needing new snowmobiles will have to buy elsewhere and profits from the sales won’t be returned to the community.
“Instead of buying snowmobiles from the co-op, which has not had stock since last year, [people] have bought from other companies such as Northern [Store], who received several snowmobiles by sealift,” Anigyou said.
“I was upset, because the money that would have gone to the co-op store has just gone up to Northern.”
The community’s hunters need snowmobiles, Angiyou said, and he wants his community to benefit economically from this essential purchase.
“Being a mayor, looking at my friends and fellow hunters, this is not how we want to be represented,” Angiyou said.
“If I demand something, I expect that guy to aggressively look for what I want; that’s how it’s supposed to be.”
Angiyou said he was told by the co-op federation that there have been supply chain issues affecting its stock — an explanation he said he’s not fully buying. He said he heard co-ops in other communities did get shipments.
Co-op federation general manager Mark Blair told Nunatsiaq News all of Nunavik is affected by delays in snowmobile shipments, not just Akulivik.
In an email, Blair explained that delays from the co-op’s supplier meant the co-op federation was not able to complete its sealift shipment of snowmobiles this past summer.
But central supply is up to where it should be now and the federation is working to send snowmobiles to Nunavik co-op stores by cargo flight.
“We are doing the best we can to get the machines delivered,” Blair said.
“We know the situation is not ideal and we apologize for the delays.”
The flights are going ahead, however, poor winter flying conditions may cause more delays.
“We have received all the machines and have been working closely with Air Inuit to ship them to our member co-op stores,” Blair said.
“Air Inuit is doing their best, but with bad weather and other delays, shipments haven’t been going as quickly as we hoped.”
Jeff Pelletier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News