Nunatsiaq News
LETTERS: Iqaluit February 14, 2018 - 10:30 am

Iqaluit reader fed up with cold weather service stoppages

"Never did the city come to a screeching halt just because of temperature"

An Iqaluit reader doesn't like the City of Iqaluit's policy of discontinuing trucked service when the temperature falls below -50. (FILE PHOTO)
An Iqaluit reader doesn't like the City of Iqaluit's policy of discontinuing trucked service when the temperature falls below -50. (FILE PHOTO)

It would be interesting to know who is responsible for this new policy of discontinuing municipal services when the wind chill causes temperatures to drop below -50.

I have lived here almost 30 years and unless there was a severe blizzard, services were never stopped.

Until Iqaluit became the capital, resulting in a building boom, over 50 per cent of Iqaluit was on trucked service. Never did the city come to a screeching halt just because of temperature.

Flights do not stop and ground crews are expected to do their job, regardless of the external conditions.

If there are issues with power or phones, crews from both of these organizations are expected to fix the problem.

What about breaks in the utilidor lines? The City doesn’t postpone making repairs because of the external conditions.

To add insult to injury, people on trucked service are accused of not conserving water or being faulted for purchasing homes where there is only trucked service. 

If anyone knows how to conserve water it is those on trucked service.

When a blizzard is expected to arrive, people on trucked service automatically begin to reduce their consumption by refraining from doing laundry, flushing toilets, taking showers or baths and running dishwashers.

When’s the last time someone on utilidor practised water conservation? 

As far as being foolish enough to purchase a home on trucked service, may I remind you that most of Iqaluit was on trucked service less than 10 years ago.

To suggest selling a home that is mortgage-free and moving to a part of the city with utilidor is plain foolishness.

Given the inconsistency I’ve seen over the past three months, by the city, regarding this temperature policy it seems there’s more to this than meets the eye.

I think it’s high time the City explain the real reason for this sudden change in policy and the inconsistency in enforcing it.

Why are municipal services not always reinstated when temperatures are no longer below -50?

Is this treated like a blizzard day when employees are paid for their shift regardless and what are the employees doing during this time?

There may be additional questions that other residents may have.

Homeowners and taxpayers on trucked service are entitled to the same access to water!

(Name withheld by request)

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(23) Comments:

#1. Posted by Think big time for changes in the north. on February 14, 2018

opinion on this, I think it’s time for a big town Like Iqaluit or city to have running water and sewage waste to run like any big city, build water pipe lines and have the sewage system go direct to dump site, it would save the Hamlet millions of dollars in the long run, it would eliminate laziness and excuses for not having running water, if I were a home owner I would lobby for this system, I have seen it in one big community so they never complain anymore more so time to wake up for the hamlet councillors.

#2. Posted by Sam on February 14, 2018

February, blahs starting

#3. Posted by Par for the course on February 14, 2018

I expected less complaining up here but it seems to be constant and from all sides.

#4. Posted by Saint Valentine on February 14, 2018

Hey poster #1, I think it costs like $35,000 just to disconnect houses from the utilidor lines (based on a quote for moving one of the empty houses around town and I presume they just leave the old line in the ground so this figure represents only labour not the materials). How much do you think it would cost to connect all the Apex, Lower Base, West Forty and Happy/Tundra Valley homes here to the utilidor line? I imagine at least or far more than the “millions of dollars in the long run” it costs to use trucked services.

#5. Posted by Stinky on February 14, 2018

I am on trucked water and sewage. When you buy a home on trucked water, you know what you’re getting into, or at least you should know what you’re getting into. You chose to purchase a house up here knowing that. Suck it up, buttercup. Look at the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Just because it wasn’t policy before to stop delivery at -50 doesn’t mean that it was right. Show some compassion for those guys, keep an emergency supply and teach your family to conserve. Two households share one tank where I live, and we manage quite nicely because we actually plan.  You say you known how to conserve already, but it sounds like you don’t…
And no, most of Iqaluit was not on trucked service less than ten years ago. Tundra valley and ridge, Apex and federal road were, same as now.

#6. Posted by Sheila on February 14, 2018

We dont even close down our office in -63, and we live thousands of miles away from the people we get an “OK” to close down our office.

#7. Posted by Frozen Fingers on February 14, 2018

Airline workers are not exposed to the freezing temperatures for hours on end.  For the municipal workers it must feel bitter and painfully cold after even a few minutes, let alone hours.  The helpers have physically demanding jobs as it is.
Go stand outside for a few minutes, then imagine doing it for a living, every winter.  We haven’t run out of water,yet and there is an emergency number if we do.

#8. Posted by Cushy on February 14, 2018

#6, I should hope you don’t close down your office when it’s -63, as it’s an office. This is a conversation about workers who spend their entire day outdoors, dispensing liquid. Not the same conversation. I think people forget that unlike airline ground crew workers and telecommunications workers, trucked services workers are outside all day, running from one house to the next. I’ve worked at the airport doing largely outdoor work. Not the same. Not by a long shot.

#9. Posted by Safety issue on February 14, 2018

What changed over the last 30 years? Workers’ safety standards!

#10. Posted by Froze before on February 14, 2018

Worked for the CITY as water truck helper.  I froze both my hands while working January of 2008. Maybe policies changed after the incident?

#11. Posted by Homeowner on February 14, 2018

as a home owner on trucked services, i monitor the weather. If it looks like there will be an extreme weather warning for -50+ i conserve water.
If its cold for a week and the weather is expected to go up a few degrees for 1 day, i assume that it will be a blizzard and properly prepare. Its like preparing for a holiday.
City labours are outside from 8-12 1-5. Thats a long time. And i bet the union would have something to say about forcing employees to work in extreme conditions.

#12. Posted by water user on February 14, 2018

Look, truck services costs the city two million dollars per year in all-in cost.  That disappears as soon as Utilidor goes in.

How big a capital expenditure does two million dollars per year support?

Utilidor doesn’t drive over people.

#13. Posted by You going to offer a solution? or Just complain? on February 14, 2018

You going to offer a solution? Or just complain? I swear people in this town do stuff like run out of water just so they can complain. The Nunutsiaq is becoming the pulpit for keyboard warrior losers in this town territory. What happened to real journalism looking into issues that matter, instead of continually attacking the community you live in.

#14. Posted by R. P. Dwyer, Gjoa Haven. on February 14, 2018

I have lived in Gjoa Haven since 1973, yeah I am getting old!
I have always appreciated the work of the men who worked on
water delivery ,sewage disposal, garbage pick up, fuel oil delivery
and the power guys, and any other folks I have not have mentioned.
They work very hard in all weathers.
I was very proud to help organize a Hamlet workers union in 1984.
Communities throughout Nunavut would collapse without those good

#15. Posted by Frontiers on February 15, 2018

Agencies that handle emergency situation must be placed on “red alert” in emergency situations.
Workers rendering hazardous duties must be granted hazardous pay.
Citizens need help. Hazardous workers risk their lives to help citizens in extreme needs.

#16. Posted by priority list on February 15, 2018

Maintain the 40+million dollar pool water is heated, pay union demands…  One question - Dishwasher?

#17. Posted by Frustrated on February 15, 2018

The issue here is not the policy or worker safety. The issue is the inconsistency, by the city, to enforce the policy and in the delivery of municipal services. Inconsistency makes it harder to cope with sudden disruptions in service. Water is essential for the health and welfare of all citizens.

#18. Posted by Northerner on February 15, 2018

Most of the communities continue delivering water and pumping out sewage, Iqaluit used to be the same but the last 10-15 years it has changed with so many people from outside the north moving here and influencing policy and the way it should work like the south.

Some things are good for change but other things you just shake your head and think where is the common sense.

I agree, there should be more utilidor put in, replace the truck services.

#19. Posted by lanie on February 15, 2018

The answer is simple, if you don’t like it pack up and go!

#20. Posted by conservation might help! on February 16, 2018

It will grow on you! give it like 6 months! If you plan on conserving water, do it and stretch it to a few days. It takes learning getting used to and make you smarter and you will not want to waste water. This teaches us patience and planning especially if there are more than 3 people. We can do it, just plain lazy or spoiled. suck it up butter cup.

as for #18! you are wrong about people who come UP here and move here,  most if not 99% of them are here to work and make a difference in the community. You do not know about the people who are dumped here in Iqaluit from other small communities because the people can’t or don’t know what to do with bad ass people; sorry but those guys are the ones that are taking up the space that good hard working people could use but are being left out.

#21. Posted by Northerner on February 16, 2018

or make the changes that need to be changed using northern know how instead of bending over and just taking it.

#22. Posted by Still working on February 18, 2018

Take a look at Baker Lake on CBC North, still working in -65 weather! Delivering water. This was never an issue in Iqaluit until recently, dress proper, be used to the cold and it’s just another normal working day except here in Iqaluit. What changed? Are we getting lazy and weak?

For a capital of Nunavut sometimes it gets embarrassing.

#23. Posted by Takkuu on February 18, 2018

City of Iqaluit policy - a union has not been mentioned at all, does GN parters with the city? Our schools only closes if we hit minus 56 degrees celsius windchill. Also when the roads are not passable then schools and daycare close. Back in the day winds gusting upto 65 - it was up to the parents to send their kids to school but teachers were supposed to be at work unless the windwere gusting to 70. Presently when schools daycare and Government offices closed, the most stores are open, also the Municipal Worker are still servicing homes and offices, Municipal Services continue until vehicles start to freeze up. But if it’s for the safety of workers - then - let them stop working until the weather improves.

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