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Iqaluit wants GN to make hospital crosswalk safer

“I’ve experienced some really terrifying moments at that crosswalk”

By DAVID MURPHY

A woman crosses the road between the Tammaativvik Boarding Home and the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit July 23. Coun. Noah Papatsie called this crossing “dangerous.” City Council is hoping the GN can pay for beefed up safety measures there. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)


A woman crosses the road between the Tammaativvik Boarding Home and the Qikiqtani General Hospital in Iqaluit July 23. Coun. Noah Papatsie called this crossing “dangerous.” City Council is hoping the GN can pay for beefed up safety measures there. (PHOTO BY DAVID MURPHY)

Iqaluit’s public safety committee has sounded an alarm over a dangerous pedestrian crossing in Nunavut’s capital: the crossing between the Tammaativvik Boarding Home and the Qikiqtani General Hospital.

The public safety committee submitted a report to Iqaluit city council July 14 outlining a number of issues involving public safety in the city, and the hospital crossing was a major concern.

Patients, people with disabilities and those from smaller communities who are not used to busy streets are at risk of being hit by vehicles, said Deputy Mayor Romeyn Stevenson.

“Many of them cross safely by looking both ways and waiting for the traffic to break. But some of them don’t,” Stevenson said.

“I’ve experienced some really terrifying moments at that crosswalk, [people] who obviously don’t know the traffic rules or aren’t used to traffic in the big city of Iqaluit,” he said.

Some vehicles aren’t slowing down or stopping for those who need extra time to cross, Stevenson said.

“I’ve also seen people who are physically impaired attempting to cross and the drivers of Iqaluit not knowing the rules,” he said.

The Government of Nunavut should be on the hook for improving the crosswalk in that area because they chose the location for Tammaativvik, he said.

The safety committee’s co-chair, Coun. Noah Papatsie, who read the report to council, said the city can’t afford a push button pedestrian crosswalk sign with overhead flashing lights, which are frequently seen in southern Canadian municipalities.

“They estimated the cost and it was quite a bit each year to let it run,” Papatsie told Nunatsiaq News.

The initial cost for the first year of installing an overhead, flashing crosswalk sign would be about $240,000, and $120,000 for every year after it’s installed, Papatsie said.

Council approved the committee’s request to write a letter to the Government of Nunavut’s health minister, Paul Okalik, “to improve safety at the pedestrian crossing.”

This isn’t the first time the city has written a letter to the GN about improving that dangerous crossing.

“We wrote a letter during the first period of time. We did get an answer, not a real answer,” Papatsie said.

The councillor thinks maybe the GN will listen to him this time.

“I’m very hoping so. To be honest, it needs to be addressed. I know there’s other priorities, but this is a big accident waiting to happen,” Papatsie said.

In the interim, Papatsie said the committee suggested bigger road signs and more speed bumps around the hospital and boarding home area to slow cars down.

Meantime, city staff plan to paint crosswalk markings on other crossing areas around town, something done in years past, Iqaluit’s director of public works Matthew Hamp told

“Our principal challenge up to this point has been the large quantity of rain we’ve been experiencing. If the weather holds, then we can complete the painting sooner rather than later,” Hamp said.

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