Iqaluit’s future planning blueprint nearly done

New scheme opened for comments at July 20 meeting


The City of Iqaluit’s new general plan and zoning bylaw, containing the city’s policies for managing growth and development until 2030, is almost finished.

On July 20 at 6:00 p.m. the public will get one last chance to have a say over how they think Iqaluit should develop in the coming decades. By 2030, the population of Iqaluit may exceed 13,000.

After the July 20 meeting, city council will pass the bylaw and submit it to the Government of Nunavut for approval.

Over the past year, Iqaluit officials have held a series of public consultations, incorporating suggestions into its proposed plan.

As a result, residential expansion is now geared toward mixed-density subdivisions, which means that, in new subdivisions, no more than 40 per cent of lots will be reserved for single-family houses or duplexes.

That’s despite the complaints of some Plateau subdivision residents, who said that a sixplexes or apartment building near their single-family dwellings might lower property values.

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So, future development must take place along the ridges of hills and high up on the hills around Iqaluit.

However, the new plan appears to reflect reality: Iqaluit has run out of level ground on which to grow, increasing the cost of piped sewer and water.

In the city core, the plan calls for residential apartment buildings with commercial offices and stores on the ground floors.

The plans also specifies that apartment buildings may be no more than four stories high except on top of Astro Hill, where the maximum height remains eight stories — the height of the tallest apartment building on the hill.

Recently-built four-story buildings include Paunna Place and Inuksugait Plaza.

To improve traffic flow through the core, new bypass roads are proposed so vehicles can more easily avoid the congested Four Corners intersection.

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Two new bypass roads are also proposed to link Federal Road to the Plateau and Ring Road via the Nunavut Court of Justice.

Another bypass road is to connect the Plateau to the Road to Nowhere.

With more vehicles on Iqaluit streets every year, the city also wants to see more parking spaces in the city core.

But while cars are accepted as a necessity in the core, snowmobiles don’t have the same status there. That’s because these off-road vehicles often compete with pedestrians for the same space.

So Iqaluit wants to provide snowmobile routes on the city periphery for access to the land and sea ice and to guide a reduced amount of snowmobile traffic through the core along specific routes with signage.

Iqaluit’s beach area is an exception to this vision of future development. The plan is for dwellings along the beach to remain low, no more than two stories high.

The idea is for Iqaluit to keep its good view and access to the bay through that neighbourhood.

The shacks lining much of the beach will still be allowed for traditional uses and harvesting, but not for people to live in.

Within residential areas, the city also plans to build more playgrounds for children — an issue that parents in some parts of town have frequently complained about.

To this end, the plan says every home should have a “tot lot” playground no more than 300 metres away and a park for older kids no more than 750 m away.

That park could be a basketball court, skating rink, playing field or playground for older kids.

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