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

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
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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