Accelerated GN payment allows city to fund 20 kilometres of pavement over two years

Goodbye to Iqaluit's dusty old highways


Nearly all of Iqaluit's roads will get a layer of pavement over the next two years after the Government of Nunavut announced that it's speeding up a capital funding arrangement with the city.

The capital will get $12 million over two years to pave 20 kilometres of roads, in a move officials hope will cut the choking clouds of dust that sometimes develop in the summer months.

"I'm sure it will be a big improvement," said Paul Okalik, the premier, at a news conference July 10. "The dust can get to people's health sometimes."

The package doesn't give the city any new money, but instead gives the city $12 million in two years instead of five.

That, said John Hussey, Iqaluit's senior administrative officer, let city hall sign a deal with Kudlik Construction that will see more roads paved for the same amount of money.

"I'm really excited," as both a walker and a driver, said Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik.

Okalik and Sheutiapik were joined at the news conference with Iqaluit East MLA Ed Picco and Iqaluit Centre MLA Hunter Tootoo.

For Okalik, it was the second of three straight days of public spending announcements following Nunavut Day and ahead of a news conference at the dump July 11 (see story below), confounding rumours suggesting that the premier plans to run in Pangnirtung in the next territorial election.

Rumours have also circulated that Okalik is eying the Conservative Party nomination for the next federal election.

But Picco scoffed at the notion that the paving project is a pre-election patronage ploy.

The funding arrangement, he said, was only approved in the February budget.

"It's not opportunistic," Picco said. "This guarantees [the city] flexible money… so they can go out and sign a long-term contract."

It's a boost for city hall, which originally planned to pave a few key routes this year, while hoping the money to pay for paving the rest of the city would come in during the life of a five-year paving plan.

Now roads from West 40 to Apex will be paved. The only section that won't see work is the Plateau subdivision.

That's because there are two additional phases yet to be built and heavy construction vehicles would simply tear up new asphalt, Hussey said.

Iqaluit has 28 kilometres of roads in total.

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