Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit June 01, 2018 - 8:00 am

GN to meet shack owners before Iqaluit breakwater work begins

Between 30 and 40 shacks could be removed for small-craft harbour construction this year

Shacks sit along the breakwater in Iqaluit on May 30. Many of them will have to be relocated or torn down once construction begins on a small-craft harbour later this year. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Shacks sit along the breakwater in Iqaluit on May 30. Many of them will have to be relocated or torn down once construction begins on a small-craft harbour later this year. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

With construction set to begin later this year on Iqaluit’s new small-craft harbour, the Government of Nunavut says many shacks in the city’s breakwater area will have to be relocated or torn down.

Earlier this month, Tower Arctic Ltd. won the contract to construct a deep-sea port and small-craft harbour in Iqaluit.

The harbour will involve a 100-metre extension to the existing municipal breakwater, and construction will require the removal of shacks set up along the city’s shoreline in that area.

But Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone wanted to know the timeline for their removal, given many of the shacks serve as permanent homes for their residents.

“Can the minister update the House today on how the issue is being addressed?” Lightstone asked Lorne Kusugak, he minister of community and government services, on Monday, May 28 in the legislative assembly.

The GN has previously said that once the contractor’s schedule is set, a month’s notice will be given before anything is removed.

Lightstone inquired if a schedule for that is now in place.

Kusugak said it’s not yet clear when that will happen, but officials plan to meet with shack owners first.

“The Department of Community and Government Services officials want to talk to the owners of the shacks to come to an understanding of how they want the shacks to be treated, whether they’re going to be relocated or be torn down,” Kusugak said.

“The officials are setting up a schedule to meet with them.”

Kusugak suggested that could happen sooner than later, but bad weather has impeded the department’s efforts so far.

The GN hasn’t said where, if at all, the affected shacks could be relocated.

Iqaluit activist Qaumariaq Inuqtaqau has worked in recent years to draw attention to the number of people forced to live in the off-the-grid shacks due to the territory’s housing shortage, and the dangers associated with living in them.

He has estimated there are about 30 to 40 shack dwellings along Iqaluit’s beach alone.

Inuqtaqau led Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs, on a tour of Iqaluit’s shacks during her visit to the city in April.

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(14) Comments:

#1. Posted by IceClass on June 01, 2018

Hopefully this means there will be less drunk partiers camping on the beach this summer.

#2. Posted by IceClass(less) on June 01, 2018

What a useless, and derogatory comment.

This news article is regarding a small craft harbour, and the relocation of shacks, which some residents of our community live in.

I wonder if our Mayor has the similar view as you do? Why not ask her? Is this view of yours shared amongst your family?

#3. Posted by Sharon on June 01, 2018

As a former long term resident of Iqaluit I would like to thank Adam for his concern over the people living on the beach. These people cannot just be told to leave their homes without a plan for where they can go…

#4. Posted by monty sling on June 01, 2018

iqaluit have enough sea cans, make an single apartment out of them for the homeless, this concept works elsewhere in canada. heating of apartments? central heating system.

#5. Posted by Paul Murphy on June 01, 2018

I certainly hope that the “shack” owners form an association quickly. Because I can assure you they will ultimately get screwed over. Get your selves a lawyer to help represent you. Ask Qaumariaq Inuqtaqau to help you. It is time!!

#6. Posted by Boater on June 01, 2018

You don’t have to move them just work around them and make some adjustments and the road you will build around them and make it into beach front walkway for the city and how come nobody has any vision like that?
The politicians when they are campaigning they have all sorts of ideas but nothing like this when you have to make improvements for the city even for Nunavut.

#7. Posted by Virian Parfeniuk on June 01, 2018

I do not not live there but am what is known as a Southerner. What I do along with many other Southerners is send clothing, food, camp stoves heaters blankets etc to help these people have a better life. I sure do hope these shacks can be rebuilt as these people need a place to live and to just be thrown out into the snow, in my opinion, would be a total disgrace as to how you treat your people. Never down South would any homeless person have to sleep on the street or go without food as we have shelters to house and feed these people. To see this not available in an area that is -60 and more in the winter is just appalling to me. I feel this lack of resources available to your people can be fixed if you have any feeling of compassion for your people. Every City in the South can show you how it is done if it is knowledge you need to do it. As far as I am concerned it is A Cities responsibility to take care of all their citizens and not just the richer ones

#8. Posted by Painter on June 01, 2018

The shacks are not where the project will be built, but removing them will make access slightly easier for the contractor.

The GN probably included the removal of the shacks as a contractor responsibility to clean up the look of the harbour for the cruise ships and their delicate clientele.  The GN is buying is slum clearance and beachfront property for future use.

There are 2 different types of shacks.  Some are the homes that people live in. Others are used for storage by harvesters who do not live along the waterfront. Some people will lose their homes. Other people will have their traditional livelihood disrupted or destroyed.

Are these the new interpretations of Inuit Societal Values?

Shack owners may be given some money, but money does not last. It certainly will not pay for a new house or provide a new livelihood.

GN should make lots of paint available for free and give lots of prizes for people who paint their shacks - best, most colourful, most creative, etc.

#9. Posted by #7 Bless You! on June 01, 2018

You may be from the south, but you are now a true northerner, because you care for other people here.

You are right, these people are not trash to be tossed about.

This may finally force the GN to deal with their homeless
population, instead of having an office and 1 person.

I also have hope with a new Board for the Mens’ Shelter, they can lobby the GN and the City to get off their duff and take concrete action to house these folks in a new and safer place, including all the ones on the beach. 

No more fires, no more illness, just happy people being respected and well-housed.

#10. Posted by SomeoneElse on June 02, 2018

The shacks ARE where the project is being built. Most of them will be directly impacted by the construction. At least the ones near the breakwater including those on the other side of the existing ‘harbour’.

But does anyone actually live in these particular shacks? And are these shacks really the answer to homelessness?

These shacks are on GN land and will become part of parking for the project, something else that’s sorely needed as there is no parking at the breakwater now.

#11. Posted by Iglupuk, Iqaluit. on June 03, 2018

# 7,
Why don’t you try living in Nunavut, see what really it is like?
So many problems up here, as elsewhere, are created by bad
spending habits.
Put your action where your mouth is!

#12. Posted by Python, Iqaluit on June 03, 2018

# 4 A very good idea, and would be very beneficial to homeless all
      over Nunavut, that is why the GN won’t allow it.

#13. Posted by Skwaddy, Iqaluit. on June 03, 2018

It is true there are some needy people in Nunavut.
There are also some rascals who know every con trick in the book!!
Buyer beware.

#14. Posted by ooolahlah on June 03, 2018

Progress can be brutal. 
Remember, the Elders were the ones who wanted a safer harboiur _ it is the law of unintended consequences that they will be moved off their land.

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