I typed out the news article, because I know most of you don’t have access to the subscription-only article on the Northern News Services site.
Headline: Empty space
Sub-head: Rankin Co-op says media report hurt business
By Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
A misunderstanding over the number of hotel rooms in Rankin Inlet may be hurting the community’s largest accommodations provider.
Co-op general manager Walter Morey said a report on the hotel situation in Rankin this past month painted a false impression.
The Co-op oversees both the local Inns North and the Siniktarvik Hotel. Morey said his remarks were taken out of context, in a radio news report, making it sound like there were no rooms available in Rankin – which simply isn’t the case.
“I was commenting on the past, during August and September of 2008, not the current situation,” said Morey.
“How could I comment on the year coming when I don’t have any bookings?”
“We had contractors taking up a block of rooms at our hotel last year, but they’re not there this year.”
Morey said 2010 looks like another busy year for his establishment, but there’s plenty of rooms available now.
He said he might see a bit of a boost of NDL Construction Ltd. Gets workers into its rooms this week.
A number of NDL workers are staying in a local establishment that, as of June 18, does not hold a tourist establishment licence under the Travel and Tourism Act.
The Department of Community and Government Services (C&GS) has given NDL until June 25 to work out an arrangement with a licensed establishment to adhere to its tender package.
Morey said he hopes that works out, but he’s been working on the issue for more than a month with no success.
“I appreciate the support I’ve been getting from C&GS, but, at this point, that has not materialized into the business that should be there.
“Our establishments were named in the contracts, so, hopefully, we can sit down and get this worked out.
“Every establishment is entitled to go after its share of money these projects bring.
“My job is to ensure we get our faire share and that’s all I’m trying to do.”
Morey said no matter how that situation plays out, he has to let people know there’s rooms at his establishments.
He said the Co-op has big investments in its hotels and people need to know they’re open for business.
“Maybe I’m wrong, but we have the two biggest hotels in Rankin and I think the radio report has hurt us because we’re way behind last year’s sales and need to book rooms.
“We may be in a bit of a pickle to supply rooms next year, but, from now until Christmas, that’s not the case.”
Far from capacity
John Hickes owns the Nanuq Lodge in Rankin.
He said he can’t complain about the amount of business his establishment has been doing lately, but it’s far from capacity.
“We don’t have any of the construction workers at our hotel either,” said Hickes.
“The Co-op seems to be looking for more of that business and that’s OK.
“We’re doing alright, but we do have space and we welcome business, as always. “We don’t turn guests away unless they want a bar in the establishment and then we send them up the road.”
C&GS acting deputy minister Shawn Maley said he was asked to comment on why the government didn’t plan properly, and what happens to the average traveller when there are no hotel rooms.
He said the premise of the radio story when he was called was there were no hotel rooms available and what has the government done about it?
“It’s not my job to know how many hotel rooms are available in Rankin at any given time,” said Maley.
“It’s my job to know companies are living up to their obligations in government contracts.
“We require contractors to use commercial accommodations when available, including places with a bed-and-breakfast licence.
“If, in fact, it’s shown an establishment workers have been staying in is not licensed, we’d have to look at the situation and the company may find itself penalized.”
Maley said when companies place tenders for Nunavut government contracts, they include Inuit content, local recourses to be utilized while completing the project, and other things of that nature under the Nunavummi Nangminiqaptunik Ikajuuti (NNI policy).
He said the companies are obligated to use what they state in the tender and C&GS follows up on that.
“These are spread over the life of a contract and we can’t police it everyday.
“But, at the end of the day, we will ensure all obligations are met. I’m not in the hotel business and have nothing more to say on how many rooms might be available.
“As for contractual stipulations, hopefully we can get the parties together and work something out to everyone’s satisfaction.”