Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit July 18, 2017 - 11:15 am

Iqaluit Housing Authority gets break from the city

IHA can dump large residential garbage for tenants without paying commercial fees

Deputy mayor Romeyn Stevenson is concerned that the city is creating a problem for itself by cleaning up after trash people leave behind. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)
Deputy mayor Romeyn Stevenson is concerned that the city is creating a problem for itself by cleaning up after trash people leave behind. (PHOTO BY BETH BROWN)

Updated July 18 at 11:15 a.m.

In a tireless effort to rid the city of unsightly trash, the Iqaluit Housing Authority can now take large garbage to the landfill for free, as long as it is on behalf of their tenants.

City councillors moved July 11 to begin an informal agreement with the housing authority to waive dump fees for IHA when it delivers large residential garbage discarded by its tenants, such as old dressers and couches.

Before the agreement, the IHA was being charged commercial disposal rates on items that would be free for the tenants to deliver themselves.

The city and IHA will develop a more detailed memorandum of understanding by the end of August regarding large waste between the two organizations.

The motion comes following a letter the housing authority sent to the city.

As summarized by mayor Madeleine Redfern, “the letter speaks to the fact that the housing authority has been picking up the large items on behalf of its tenants,” but notes that “if tenants were to dispose of these items on their own, there would be no fees.”

Fees will still apply to certain large items, such as cars and refrigerators, that are more expensive to process because of waste oils and other toxins contained therein.

Iqaluit Public Works has not updated its online list of tipping fee prices for large item disposal since a new consolidated fee bylaw, effective Jan. 1, raised those tipping charges.

But, according to documents provided to Nunatsiaq News at the time the bylaw was passed, current tipping fees at the dump include:

• $125 for a freezer or refrigerator;

• $100 for other large appliances;

• $200 for a snowmobile; and,

• $500 for a car.

The increased fees are intended to better reflect what it costs the city to dispose of large item garbage.

Fee or no fee, right now, many of these oversized garbage items are not making it to the dump—instead they sit in growing heaps at the side of the road.

Despite a recent large item pick up held in Iqaluit June 19 to 23, Redfern said she counted as many as 24 piles of large, discarded items around the community.

“It continues to remain an issue days and weeks following the large item pick up,” she said, adding that the coming sealift will likely only worsen the problem.

Deputy Mayor Romeyn Stevenson suggested that city efforts to manage the trash piles are in part to blame for the unsightly build-ups because if people are willing to wait a few months, they can avoid paying disposal fees.

“In the end, the city ends up picking it up,” said Stevenson.

He mentioned one email received by the city from a resident who witnessed a man adding to the pile. When the woman confronted the man about adding to the trash heap, the man told her it didn’t matter because the city would deal with it.

“We are kind of creating our own problem, by working to make our large item pick up a success,” said Stevenson.

For this reason he suggested another large item collection should not go forward unless a second community clean-up also takes place.

Coun. Joanasie Akumalik asked how the request by IHA would impact the city’s existing waste management plan, which led to suggestions that a more detailed agreement should be drawn up.

Debate over large item disposal also raised the issue of derelict vehicles.

Redfern gave an update to the council on the problem of abandoned cars—she said owners of all but one vehicle have been identified.

Half of the derelict vehicles on IHA land have been removed and the housing authority is in talks to have tenant vehicles registered so that the cars cannot be left behind.

A previous version of this story contained incorrect information regarding residential and commercial tipping fees charged by the city. We apologize for the error.

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