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Hay River to host town's first Community Spirit Awards

The Community Spirit Awards will be a first for the town after enduring three evacuations related to natural disasters in the past two years.

Town manager Glenn Smith said those emergencies had placed strain on the town and residents' livelihoods.

"The council, very strategically, is looking toward making sure that we recognize contributions to the community, volunteerism, community service groups, and beautification," he said.

Smith said people will be able to vote in 11 different categories, including "Citizen of the Year," through an online survey or via nomination forms available at the town hall.

February 3's awards gala, to be held at the Royal Canadian Legion, will include dinner, a silent auction and live performances by the likes of Yellowknife band Welders Daughter.

Smith said the awards will ensure "we're recognizing groups within the community, to bring them to the forefront."

He added the town's chamber of commerce had once held an awards gala, but that had fallen off the annual calendar in recent years.

The town has begun a shopping campaign – "HAY! Shop here!" – designed, Smith said, to give some momentum back to the local business community and revitalize the chamber's efforts.

"We also identified that as a bit of a gap," he said, adding the town had been in touch with the chamber about joining forces to offer some of February's awards.

"We recognize that there's recovery for communities," Smith said, "not just with repairing damaged assets, but repairing volunteerism and social activities."

Aastha Sethi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio