Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit October 10, 2018 - 10:25 am

Mission complete for Iqaluit water task force

“We conclude the task force and its duties at this time”

COURTNEY EDGAR
After a few months of work to replenish the City of Iqaluit's reservoir of potable water, the water task force has completed its mandate. Amy Elgersma, the acting chief administrative officer for the City of Iqaluit, announced at the Oct. 9 city council meeting that the task force has been concluded. (FILE PHOTO)
After a few months of work to replenish the City of Iqaluit's reservoir of potable water, the water task force has completed its mandate. Amy Elgersma, the acting chief administrative officer for the City of Iqaluit, announced at the Oct. 9 city council meeting that the task force has been concluded. (FILE PHOTO)

Now that Lake Geraldine has been replenished, the work of the City of Iqaluit’s water task force is done.

Acting chief administrative officer Amy Elgersma gave the last water task force update for the foreseeable future at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

“The supplemental pumping is complete. The contractor has completely demobilized from the site. All the hoses and equipment have been returned to the Government of Nunavut and to their respective owners,” Elgersma said.

The water task force was set up on July 24, prompted by concerns that the city may not have sufficient drinking water to last through the winter.

In recent years, researchers have warned that the city may run out of water without steps being taken to increase the water supply or decrease the city’s water demand.

Over the last few months, Elgersma led the task force as it worked to increase the city’s water supply at the Lake Geraldine reservoir through supplementary pumping from the Apex River, which started on Aug. 19.

The task force also worked to decrease the city’s water consumption through public service announcements about being “water-wise” and through repairing old, leaking pipes throughout the city.

“All of the repairs that were identified for this project, the water-loss control program, have been completed,” Elgersma told city council on Tuesday.

Additionally, an engineering consultant has prepared two reports on the utilidor systems that are not functioning as designed, explaining what needs to be corrected in order for them to function properly.

These reports, so far, cover the Plateau area of Iqaluit and the area on Federal Road near the airport. Other reports will follow in other areas, Elgersma said.

The engineering consultant is preparing a budget estimate for correcting the utilidor issues “for a later date,” said Elgersma.

A reverse osmosis unit, which the City of Iqaluit had voted to acquire at the price of $860,000 on Aug. 28 will be a topic of discussion at the next city council meeting.

This machine is intended to be used as a back-up plan in case there is a water emergency this winter, if Lake Geraldine’s supply does not last throughout the freeze-up.

This machine was previously owned by the Government of Nunavut and has been stored in Alberta since being used during a water emergency in Arviat years ago.

While Elgersma told city council at the end of September that water consumption then was 80 per cent of what it had been a year earlier, she also said that the city’s water demand is expected to increase by at least 352,000 cubic metres next year due to growth in the community.

“A request for decision will be presented to council as to whether or not the city wishes to proceed with the procurement with a shelf-ready design,” Elgersma said.

“With that, the mandate of the task force has been completed and we conclude the task force and its duties at this time.”

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(8) Comments:

#1. Posted by Homeowner on October 10, 2018

So does this mean the city will start replacing or “repairing” all the water and drainage lines that have been freezing over the last couple of winters? I still keep hearing of water backing up into houses which were worked on that were contracted out by the city. When are the homeowners of Iqaluit going to stop suffering from freeze ups due to the outdated utilidor systems? And how long is Amy going to be an acting S.A.O. ? When are we getting a full time S.A.O. ?  Time to get people in these positions that know what they are doing, right from the top to the bottom!

#2. Posted by Northern Guy on October 10, 2018

Good points #1 I know any number of homeowners who have had water and/or sewage leaking up into their homes due to issues with the utilidors. These are costs associated with these occurrences are ones that the city has been reluctant to cover and usually fall on either the homeowner or their insurer. The situation is completely unacceptable and needs to be addressed.

#3. Posted by twins on October 11, 2018

@1&2: you two sound like the same person

#4. Posted by Homeowner on October 11, 2018

At post number 3, nope we are not the same commenter. I’m sure we are not the only homeowners that have gone through these issues with the city dept. I am really worried that we will be going through freeze ups as the city hasn’t fixed the utilidor system in our area

#5. Posted by Odd one on October 11, 2018

Swimming pool or necessary infrastructure? Hmmmm.

#6. Posted by twins on October 11, 2018

@4: suuuure wink

#7. Posted by Homeowner on October 11, 2018

Post number 6 must be a city worker that got hired with no qualifications at all

#8. Posted by Disgusted on October 12, 2018

Agree with post 1and two, I just have to shake my head in disgust on how the city runs its operations.

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