Rare traffic jam in Paulatuk as long-awaited playground opens

Paulatuk’s mayor described a rare “traffic jam” in the community this week as dozens of children tested out the hamlet’s new playground.

Mayor Ray Ruben Sr said 30 to 40 children were out late into Tuesday night enjoying their new playground.

“Gotta be about that many kids waiting in line, waiting for the rec guy to say, ‘Yes, good enough to go play on,'” said Ruben.


“Late into the night last night, even into the darkness, there were kids playing in the playground. That was a sight to see.”

Ruben joked that a traffic jam in the hamlet – which has just over 300 residents – constitutes three cars pulled up at an intersection. He said the line-up of cars, quads, and trucks around the playground on Tuesday easily surpassed that.

The new playground is in the centre of Paulatuk, allowing children on the south side easy access to a space to play. The other playground is behind the school at the north end of the community, about a kilometre’s walk for some local children to reach.

“We’ve got just about everything you want… I don’t even know the names of some of the things,” Ruben said. “Multiple different types of ladders to climb. And you’ve got these bars that you can grab and slide across, like a zip line or something.”

Testing out Paulatuk’s new playground equipment. Photo: Ray Ruben Sr


Construction of the playground was delayed by a year after the cancellation of GNWT-run barges in 2018 prevented materials reaching the community. Ruben told Cabin Radio earlier this year that municipal projects including much-needed roads and drainage work were also delayed.

While total costs of the playground haven’t been tallied, the hamlet government put aside $100,000 for the project. The playground will get an opening ceremony next spring – but is already well and truly in use.