'If you didn't want council's support you shouldn't have asked for it.'

Mayor, Williams clash over grant allocation


The City of Iqaluit wants to use part of a $250,000 windfall to help fund a shelter for homeless women proposed for the capital.

The money comes from the Los Angeles-based An­nen­berg Foundation, which donates millions of dollars to cities for arts, environmental and social projects. The donation came with the condition that some of it would be spent on the Qimaavik shelter and the elders centre.

Mayor Elisapee Sheutiapik, who has the legal authority to spend the donation as she chooses, wants to give $25,000 each to the proposed homeless women's shelter, the Qimaavik women's shelter and the elders centre.

The Qimaavik shelter has been running at capacity lately and has been forced to put women and children on a waiting list for beds.

"The homeless women who used to sleep there can't go there anymore," Sheutiapik said. "If you're not abused and you're not a man and you're homeless [there's nowhere to go]."

The finance committee voted 4-0 in favour of the plan, which will go back before council Nov. 27.

The remaining $175,000 would go into a reserve for a new recreation complex for the capital. Of that money, Sheutiapik wants $25,000 set aside to fund a sustainable development coordinator.

That caused Sheutiapik and Coun. Glenn Williams to butt heads at a council meeting Nov. 13, because the original request for decision didn't mention anything about the sustainable development coordinator.

When Williams balked at voting on what Sheutiapik proposed, the mayor said she didn't need council approval to spend the windfall as she saw fit. That didn't sit well with Williams.

"If you didn't want council's support you shouldn't have asked for it," he said.

Sheutiapik accused Williams of second-guessing her long-term planning agenda. She said the city needs a sustainability coordinator to draw up a long-range plan which is legally required to access federal funds through the gas tax rebate and municipal rural infrastructure funds.

"This is the 11th hour," Sheutiapik said. "I worry we're building up something in this community that's not going to happen."

But Williams said councillors simply want a better understanding of "what's really going to happen."

Williams wasn't at the city's finance committee meeting Monday.

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