Iqaluit council nixes aquatic centre building committee

“I think it requires more involvement at the council level”


Iqaluit city councillors, during a Feb. 12 city council meeting, defeated a request for decision to create an aquatic centre building committee for the city and referred the issue back to city staff for more information.

Councillors Kenny Bell, Simon Nattaq and Terry Dobbin voted to defeat the request for decision, put forward by the City of Iqaluit’s recreation director, Amy Elgersma.

After the motion was defeated, Bell moved to defer the RFD back to city administrators.

The goal of that motion: to get more information about setting up a building committee as part of city council’s committee of the whole.

Coun. Romeyn Stevenson, who participated Feb. 12 via teleconference, voted against that motion.

The proposed aquatic centre building committee, which would be similar to other city standing committees, would include the mayor or the chair of the recreation committee, the Chief Administrative Officer, the director of recreation and the director of planning and development.

The committee would act in an “advisory capacity” to city council, Elgersma told the council.

The committee would also include a designated project manager, who would act as secretary of the committee, as well as as other members to assist as needed.

The terms of reference would be developed by the committee, and forwarded to city council for approval.

“The benefit of forming a building committee is to guide the building process and ensure effective communication between the mayor and council, project management team, and city staff, to make sure the goals of the project are met,” Elgersma said.

That would include giving project updates and recommendations to city council.

But Bell said he would like to see the building committee set up as as committee of the whole, not a standing committee.

“I will definitely not support it unless it is committee of the whole,” he said.

Coun. Mary Wilman agreed.

“I think it requires more involvement at the council level. In fact, thinking about the referendum, how close it was, I think we [need to keep] a very close watch,” she said.

“There are speculations out there. I think we want to be absolutely clear and unbiased through our actions during the time this process is taking place,” Wilman said.

After a discussion about what defines a committee of the whole, Bell clarified that he wanted all of city council to be involved in any building committee regarding the aquatic centre.

Coun. Dobbin said he’s been looking into MHPM, the project management firm for the aquatic centre that the city recently hired.

“Impressive portfolio, years of experience managing project across the country… but I’m also concerned that it’s their first project north of 60,” he said.

Dobbin suggested a member-at-large for the aquatic centre building committee, and possibly a long-time northern contractor, a professional in the northern construction industry, to provide some input on the logistics of working in Nunavut.

“I’m not taking anything away from city staff, it’s nice to have an impartial person that we could ask,” he said.

“These people are totally professional, but they are from the South,” Dobbin said.

However, the Government of Nunavut has offered to have their project managers review the work, Elgersma said.

“We have been in contact with them for the project. They have offered to do some technical oversight,” she said.

That is a good idea, but “we need to get some northern experts to sit on this council,” Dobbin said.

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