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
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.”