Balance boat storage and industrial growth, Iqaluit council members say

Awa, Stevenson want city to protect itself against ‘onslaught of for-profit organizations’ looking for industrial land

Iqaluit’s planning committee wants to rezone land south of the airport that the city will soon acquire to meet a growing need for industrial land. But Mayor Solomon Awa and Coun. Romeyn Stevenson say the city should preserve part of that land for its own use before private companies buy it up. (Photo by Meral Jamal)

By Corey Larocque

Some Iqaluit city councillors believe the city should get into the boat-storage business, even if it’s just to prevent private businesses from completely taking over newly designated industrial land south of the airport.

The city’s planning committee voted Tuesday to support a proposed bylaw that would allow “a variety of industrial uses” in an area south of the airport where future industrial development is expected to occur.

The committee’s recommendation still requires council’s support. The boat storage proposal is not included in the committee’s recommendation.

The site is land the city is acquiring under an agreement to transfer land from the airport. The city plans to lease that land to residents and businesses.

But Mayor Solomon Awa and Coun. Romeyn Stevenson want the city to preserve some of it from what Stevenson said would be an “onslaught of for-profit organizations” eager to acquire that industrial land now owned by the city.

In Iqaluit, there is “significant demand” for industrial land, city planner Michelle Armstrong told committee members at Tuesday’s meeting.

Rezoning approximately 0.5 kilometres of land south of the airport and west of the tank farm “would allow a broad range of industrial uses in this area,” she said.

Garages and warehouses are some of the anticipated uses that private companies will want to build, she said.

Armstrong said rezoning the area to industrial fits in with the opening of the city’s new deepsea port, scheduled for July 25.

However, Awa said he has concerns that designating the land as industrial might prevent Iqalummiut from storing their boats in the area. People have asked him about using the land for boat storage as well as for industrial uses, he said.

While rezoning the land could help the city meet the anticipated need for industrial land, Awa wants the city to reserve a portion for its own use, which could include allowing residents to store their boats on it.

Stevenson speculated the day could come that the city might want to manage a fenced compound for boat storage, where boat owners could store their vessels and have a key fob to access them as needed.

Providing that service would come with a cost to the city, so Stevenson suggested it could recover its cost from the people who would store their boats there.

“I could see a scenario where the city managed its own fenced boat lot,” Stevenson said. “What Mayor Awa brought up is going to progressively become a bigger and bigger problem.”

People want “reasonably safe storage for their boats” and at some point, there won’t be enough space unless the city adds more, he said.

Armstrong agreed that if the city wants to reserve a parcel of the land for its own use, “that could certainly be accommodated.”



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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    City needs a proper marina. If you can afford a boat you can afford docking and storage fees.

  2. Posted by Umingmak on

    The city can’t even properly manage simple tasks like fixing the roads and cleaning up the garbage that is all over town. Now they want to get involved in boat storage? Maybe fix the problems you already have before taking on new things. The city is disgusting with all the garbage everywhere. I’ve been all over Nunavut, and Iqaluit is the dirtiest place in the territory by far.

    • Posted by People Litter not the City on

      The city of Iqaluit must prioritize addressing the behavior of its residents to combat the issue of littering effectively. While city cleaning efforts are important, they are only a reactive measure. To create lasting change, the focus should be on implementing comprehensive public awareness campaigns, educational programs in schools, strict and enforcement of fines. By instilling a sense of responsibility and pride in keeping the environment clean, Iqaluit can encourage a cultural shift that reduces littering and fosters a cleaner, more sustainable city for all.

  3. Posted by Taxpayer on

    It is interesting to hear the language used by Iqaluit councilors to describe their industrial land situation.

    All across Canada, municipalities struggle to attract and retain business within their communities, fighting things like outsourcing of labour overseas, deindustrialization, loss of manufacturing, urban decay, online shopping impacts on retailers, and more recently, massive numbers of people working from home.

    In these other places, local business is known to be the most efficient and effective means of meeting communities needs and driving prosperity. Business growth is seen as a positive.

    However, here in Nunavut, even though there is practically limitless land for Iqaluit to expand, somehow, growing business is seen as a problem. Wow, what a horrible problem to have – you develop industrial land and people actually want to invest in it.

    In a place like Iqaluit where public money flows from hydrocarbon polluted water fountains, I guess the finer differences between private investment and even more taxpayer burden tend to get lost.

    • Posted by It Depends on

      Outsourcing is certainly popular, but “In these other places, local business is known to be the most efficient and effective means of meeting communities needs and driving prosperity” is not at all a given.

      Yes, if are referring to businesses providing a taxable base for growth. The answer is a clear ‘it depends’ if you are referring to private businesses being more effective, efficient, and responsive at delivering citizen services.

      That is absolutely not a given and there are lots of horror stories about subcontracted private businesses screwing over community citizens. Privately provided services are not guaranteed to be a panacea of financial savings and improved services..

    • Posted by Cash Cow on

      You’re right that allowing private sector businesses to prosper with less regulations makes the economy stronger and helps build infrastructure. The only problem is that many private businesses are not truly based in Nunavut, nor are their employees. The money these businesses make ends up back down south in some way or another.

      How many dollars earned do you think end up being spent in local shops, or go towards other goods and services when private sector workers come in and out of town on a 6 week rotation, stay in private accommodations, and have chefs like this is some sort of mining camp.

      That’s where investing in the private sector comes back to bite us.

  4. Posted by pissed off on

    For profit is still a dirty word in NUnavut?????????

    People wake up the Government ( federal, territorial, municipal ) cannot and should not do everything to pamper you.
    If you want a service expect to pay for it like anywhere in the world !!!!!!!!

    • Posted by 867 on

      Yup here is where people are both afraid of government and yet don’t allow private business to succeed. Have your cake and eat it too.

  5. Posted by What about the dog teams? on

    « 0.5 kilometres of land south of the airport and west of the tank farm, recently acquired by the City »…. No where in this article, City people or journalist are naming the West40 (nor talking about the dog teams, at all!)…

    I would assume that it is the West40 that we are talking about here, with this picture and description of the location; did the City even considered the dog teams in that area that have been using this land, according to City By-law, as a “dog team designated area”, for decades now?

    What is the City plan with the dog teams at West40? As per this article and statements, they don’t even exist out there….

    Sad that the City of Iqaluit don’t even seams to care much about Nunavut’s official animal and the continuity of dog teaming in Nunavut.

  6. Posted by Scratching my head in disbelief!! on

    I am dumbfounded by the idea that this is even a discussion. First off, has anyone taken notice of the amount of clutter, garbage and equipment that has migrated near the “so-called” boat storage area currently being used just before the causeway and new port area? It is a public eyesore and, as if the landfill without covered fencing isn’t bad enough, visitors that come to Nunavut to see this vast expanse of untouched wilderness and it’s amazingly beautiful culture afforded by the Inuit people have to exit cruise ships or go on tours around town and this is one of the first areas they see. Discarded crates, engines, oils slicks on the ground, garbage and old hunting supplies littering the entire area. It’s an atrocity to this beautiful landscape we call home.

    Now the city council thinks that opening an easily visible boat storage yard that will be a new fenced mess that they will be responsible for cleaning up 10-20 years from now when the ground is contaminated from careless oil changes and boat operators that just don’t care cause it isn’t their problem or land to take care of.

    I agree with others about expanding usage of this land all around Iqaluit and Apex and it should be an equal and fair integration of industrial, commercial, and residential application or whatever else they might see fit to use it for. I don’t think a boat storage area needs to be there, as these areas of town are already being used for useful and cultural things like the “Dog Team Area”, which is still a huge draw for tourism and something that should be strongly supported, not railroaded into history. The casual boat storage in its current site by the causeway could be expanded and fenced as it is already a flat and level area that could be easily prepped. The Government of Nunavut also has a massive stockpile of aggregate near the tank farm that was manufactured at the port. Why not request some of this to expand on the opposite side of Akilliq Drive across from the site used by boaters now to make that area a parking/storage site.

    But who’s accountable when it’s filled with trash, or oils and fuel spills, the fences get damaged or the boats are vandalized while in the City of Iqaluit’s care. Taxpayers I guess! How about the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality!?! We have far more urgent and practical needs in this community than arguing over what this space should be used for.

    The City seems to always be searching for ways to screw over contributing businesses in this place that generate jobs, revenue, volunteer efforts, community integration and support and a better place to live so they can blow thru money they don’t have and expect we’ll just keep turning a blind eye to the fact that they do a piss-poor job of infrastructure maintenance and repairs, hiring the same overpriced contractors to gouge them of precious finances so they can line their pockets and take that money south to Quebec or Newfoundland and you never hear of either of those companies supporting local events, sports organizations, things for kids or involved in community clean up and infrastructure repairs.

    Would it kill any of those companies to resurface the local softball field or help repair the older arenas and show their respect for the financial gains they have benefitted from by working here. It’s time for the city to look at the feast from the other side of the table and recognize that supporting business is good, but turning a blind eye to how some of these companies and letting them continue to build poor quality structures and infrastructure like water and sewer systems leaves them open to public scrutiny.

    I think this calls for an open discussion with the community and businesses about how and where some areas of the community could be developed/rezoned and better utilized. Not relying on southern based consulting firms or crooked contractors that are happy to see the never-ending supply of money flow as freely as Sylvia Grinnell River. Consult with people, not just a public vote, but a drop box online for suggestions, or meet face to face with each business, small or large, and ask what they can do to help support their growth, cause as they grow their network, so does the City of Iqaluit and it’s residents.

    Just my thoughts, but if you take off the horse blinders, you can see the world for what it is, and not just a narrow view of a vast landscape we call home.

    • Posted by Free Material on

      Well said, honestly. We need people with their eyes wide open like this on council.

      I agree with everything you stated. The sad reality with that massive stockpile of material across from t he tank farm, is that the GN paid to have it blasted, and then didn’t have a use for it. The city asked if they would give it to them to use to repair Akilliq drive especially now that the deep sea port will increase heavy traffic on that road ten fold. The GN wanted to get rid of it so they told tower to keep it. Tower got all that material for free… way to go CGS

  7. Posted by I have an ideal. on

    Why not the people in jail clean the city?. Other towns in Baffin is dropping homeless into Iqaluit. Why can’t they do something for the city?. The city workers can’t get people get busy and help out?. They’re feeding the homeless and getting them all fat and spoiled. The reality is so sad.

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