Fonds 305 - Northwest Territories. Department of Local Government fonds

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Northwest Territories. Department of Local Government fonds

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  • Multiple media

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  • [1962-1986] (Creation)
    Northwest Territories. Department of Local Government (1967-1986)

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Physical description

ca. 10.14 m of textual records and other material

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Administrative history

The Department of Local Government was in operation from 1967 until 1986. In 1986, the newly formed Department of Municipal and Community Affairs assumed the majority of its remaining functions and responsibilities.

The Department of Local Government was responsible for promoting and supporting political development at the local level in the Northwest Territories and ensured that services that were normally assumed by municipalities were provided in all communities throughout the Northwest Territories. This division was responsible for providing developmental and training programs in political development for community administrators through workshops and conferences. It was involved in the physical development of settlements and assisted in planning, establishing and maintaining the basic utilities of water, sewage, garbage disposal, roads and streets. Recreation and library services, the housing program, employment liaison program, land and assessment program and emergency measures were also delivered through this department.

The responsibility of teaching local people and councils about local government and community planning was delivered by the following divisions: Research and Development (1973-1976), Research and Planning (1977) and Development and Training (1978-1983). These divisions shared common functions and their responsibilities evolved and changed as local communities began to assume more responsibility for administration and planning of their communities. The central task was to encourage the formation of local councils in each settlement and gradually transfer the authority of a municipal council as the council's capability and desire to govern their settlement grew. Eventually Settlement Councils became incorporated as Hamlets, and progressed through various stages of increasing sophistication to Village, Town and City if certain requirements such as population size were met. For this task to be done successfully, both the desire for and the understanding of government had to come from within the communities themselves. To this end, the division paid special attention to training in specific skills related to development, planning, administration and management and offered programs in these skills for government staff and local residents. One of the main programs was "The Project for the Use of the Developmental Approach," also known as P.U.D.A. Seminars were organized for Headquarters, Regional and Field staff, so that government staff and local residents could learn to help each other and share responsibility, as communities became more autonomous. Conferences that included mock council sessions were also held, as well as courses in accounting, hiring, and supervisory skills. In 1981-82, the division offered the Municipal Administration Certification Program, which provided training in skills relating to development, planning, administration and management. Between 1983-84, the Municipal Affairs Division began to provide training and advice to councils and staffs in local government procedures as the Development Division shifted its focus to community planning.

The Community Planning and Development division emerged in 1983. This division brought together planners and technical specialists who were involved in the preparation of development plans and the physical development of communities. It was responsible for capital programs which provided for the development of land, water, and sanitation facilities, municipal buildings and equipment, roads, walkways, street lights and drainage. At one time, this was a responsibility of Municipal Affairs; however, this function was transferred to this division in 1983.

The Municipal Affairs Division developed legislation, policies, programs and procedures related to all areas of municipal affairs, including coordination of water and sanitation services in the Northwest Territories. It managed the supply of mobile equipment to communities and provided the capital as well as operation and maintenance funds for municipal purposes. This division also provided property assessment services in order to develop a taxation system, as well as technical assistance to local councils in the establishment of budgeting, personnel management, preparation of by-laws and the interpretation of legislation. This division also processed debenture loan funds to municipalities and monitored funds to ensure proper are administration. In 1983-84, the Municipal Affairs Division assumed the provision of training councils and staff in local government procedures, financial management and community administration. In 1975, the Municipal Affairs Division included an airport section. This section was established to administer a joint Territorial and Federal Government program of community airport construction, upgrading, operations and maintenance. In 1977, the airport section transferred out of Municipal Affairs and became its own division.

The Airport division was responsible for the development of policies and delivery of programs to ensure community airports in the Northwest Territories were developed and operated to user satisfaction and in accordance with approved standards of aviation safety. This division also facilitated training programs for community councils and airport personnel in the administration of airports.

In 1975, the department reorganized in order to make the department more effective in carrying out its primary responsibility, which was to facilitate political development at the local level. As a result, library services were transferred to the Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs in 1975. The housing program that had operated between 1967-1973 and provided housing through the Northern Rental Housing, Territorial Rental and Public Housing programs was transferred to the NWT Housing Corporation. The Emergency Measures Division that had operated from 1970 until 1975 and assisted communities in developing emergency plans was transferred to the Emergency Measures office located in the Executive. The Employment Liaison Division was created in 1971; its emphasis was on the hiring of Northerners and assisted residents to take advantage of employment opportunities in the Northwest Territories. In 1975, this program was transferred to the Employment Division of the Department of Economic Development. The Recreation Division was also transferred to the Department of Natural and Cultural Affairs in 1975.

The Sports and Recreation Division was transferred from Natural and Cultural Affairs back into Local Government in 1979. This division administered grants that were available for facility construction, workshops, clinics and conferences that would support the development of local leadership and the establishment of recreational committees. There was an emphasis on training local people to develop and deliver recreation programs such as the National Coaching Certificate Program as well as the Recreation Facilities Assistance Policy that assisted communities in obtaining community halls and multi-purpose buildings. This division also provided financial assistance and support to organizations such as Sport North, cross-cultural activities such as Treaty Day Celebrations and competitions such as the Arctic Winter Games.

The Town Planning and Lands Division (1969-1983) provided community planning, infrastructure development, land administration and land management services to communities and to the Government of the Northwest Territories. In consultation with community councils, it also provided for the preparation of community development plans. This division provided aerial photography, site mapping and legal surveys requirements for the Government of the Northwest Territories. It assisted settlements and hamlets in developing roads, sidewalks, street lighting and drainage and land fill schemes and assisted communities in site restoration for the protection of health and property. It managed all aspects of land management and acted as land agent for communities without government or council staff. During the early 1970's, this division focused on the Mackenzie Valley area in anticipation of the effect of a highway and pipeline on the area.

In 1983-84, the Land and Assessment Division was created. It assumed the responsibilities of land management and mapping, as well as training local land administrators. The Town Planning and Lands Division had delivered these programs between 1969-1983. The Assessment Section provided property assessment services to senior municipalities in the Northwest Territories in order to develop a sound an equitable system of taxation. The Municipal Affairs Division between 1969-1983 had originally fulfilled this function.

In 1986, the newly formed Department of Municipal and Community Affairs assumed the majority of the Department of Local Government's functions and responsibilities.

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Scope and content

This fonds consists of textual material, graphic material (photographs - col. prints), cartographic material (maps), moving images (helical scan video reels and Umatic videocassettes), sound recordings (audiocassettes), and microfilm reels. The textual material consists of transcripts of a meeting between the Oblate Fathers from settlements throughout the Mackenzie District and the Department of Local Government. The discussion involved the transfer of responsibilities from the Northern Administration Branch to the Government of the Northwest Territories in 1967. The bulk of the textual material contains records dating from 1967-1986. These records relate to the development and management of hamlets, towns, and communities across the Northwest Territories. They include details on services such as water and sanitation as provided and managed by the Department of Local Government, as well as files related to the Northwest Territories Municipal Association and departmental policies and initiatives, including recreation. Approximately 60 cm of the textual material consists of bound minutes from Pine Point Council Meetings that were held from 1969-1986, as well as financial statements from the community of Pine Point. In addition, there are files concerning the development, implementation, and operation of the Arctic Airports program, including position papers and reports created by Transport Canada with comments from GNWT officials, as well as reports, recommendations and minutes of meetings from the Airports Committee, a discussion paper concerning the development and implementation of the Arctic Air Facilities policy, and ongoing correspondence and planning documents.

The microfilm reels contain records dated between 1967-1973 from the Central Registry file system and contain files from the following program areas: Directors Monthly Meetings (11 block); Policy Files (13 block); Administration (20 block); Municipal Affairs Division (21 block); Development Division (22 block); Town Planning and Lands (24 block); Recreation (25 block); Emergency Measures Division (26 block) and Employment Liaison Division (29 block).

The maps are line transparency plans from the Town Planning and Lands Division of the Department of Local Government. Communities represented are: Arctic Bay, Broughton Island (Qikiqtarjuaq), Cape Dorset, Coppermine (Kugluktuk), Enterprise, Fort Franklin (Deline), Fort Providence, Hall Beach, Hay River, Igloolik (Iglulik), Paulatuk, Pond Inlet, Rankin Inlet, Resolute Bay, Sachs Harbour, Sanikiluaq, Snowdrift (Lutsulk'e), Trout Lake, and Wrigley. The 13 microfilm reels from the Town Planning and Lands Division contain settlement drawings for the following communities: Fort Simpson, Tuktoyaktuk, Yellowknife, Fort Providence, Fort Rae, Fort Resolution, Fort Smith, Spence Bay, Snowdrift, Stagg River, Alexander Falls, Inuvik, Fort McPherson, Fort Norman, Pine Point, Rankin Inlet, Sachs Harbour, Banks Island, Aklavik, Baker Lake, Hay River, Igloolik, Cambridge Bay, Holman Island, Enterprise, Gjoa Haven, Nahanni Butte, Chesterfield Inlet, Coral Harbour, Edzo, Morphy, Fort Franklin, Frobisher Bay, Port Harrison, Fort Good Hope and Hall Lake. There are also 7 land use planning maps which relate to Fort Simpson, Pine Point, and Enterprise.

The 2 Umatic videocassettes contain footage of James Washee, a Minister of Local Government, discussing Community Ordinance legislation. One recording is in English and one recording is in Inuktitut. Also included in the accession are eight reels of helical scan video. These appear to be related to local government conferences.

The sound recordings consist of 24 audiocassettes that contain recordings from an Economic Development Conference held in 1979 that featured speakers such as John Todd, Bertha Allen and Stuart Hodgson. In addition, eight of the audiocassettes contain recordings of the Pine Point Council Meetings from 1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987. One meeting from each year was retained as a sample.

Finally, this fonds includes approximately 40 cm of publications and reports from 1967-[1988]. The majority of the material consists of published community development plans. There are also water and sanitation reports, water and energy conservation papers, airport maintenance manual, comparative studies between municipalities in the NWT and those of western provinces, and a report of a committee on the future of Inuit hunting camps. Also notably included is a public discussion paper on devolution.

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Physical condition


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      Language and script note

      One of the videotapes (umatic) is in Inuktitut.

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      Restrictions on access

      Access restricted under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

      Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

      Finding aids

      Finding aids in various formats available; see accessions for details.

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      Physical description

      10.14 meters of textual material
      22 photographs (col. prints)
      63 maps
      8 film reels : helical scan video
      2 videocassettes: Umatic
      24 sound recordings (audiocassettes)
      56 microfilm reels


      Copyright held by GNWT.

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      Language of description

      • English

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