City defends lower base hook-up plans

Lower base homeowners will soon vote on a plan to subsidize their utilidor hook-up costs



Lower base property owners met for the last time earlier this week to iron out the final details of a muncipal proposal to connect them to water and sewer mains.

Property owners in the lower base area must vote by March 14 to either accept the city’s plan, or continue to have their water trucked in and sewage trucked out.

Lower base property owners and the municipality of Iqaluit have been feuding over the issue for nearly four years. Many homeowners complained the city and the territorial government were refusing to subsidize their utilidor hook-ups under an older method that had been used for years in other areas of Iqaluit.

Forty-one properties in the area are now using truck service. Hooking into the main line will eliminate the irritation of having to wait for water, but it will also leave owners with the burden of carrying hefty loans for the next 20 years.

It was hard to determine which way the vote will go, based on the opinions of the eight members who attended the Feb. 24 meeting.

Taking home the award for most outspoken was well-known developer Kenn Harper who engaged in an intricate discussion with the city’s chief administrative officer, Rick Butler, about the fairness of cost disbursements and the contradictory nature of language used in the local improvement bylaw.

The total cost of the project is an estimated $1 million, to be shared between the city, the Government of Nunavut and property owners.

The GN has offered to kick in a $300,000 grant for residential property owners only, to subsidize the cost of connecting water mains to property lines and to individual buildings.

Although there were some concerns raised at the recent meetings about the additional expense, in the range of $20,000, for individual property owners, Butler said they likely got their properties for a lower price, because there was no water and sewage hook-up at the time.

The city has lined up a contractor to do the work, and pipes are ordered and ready to be shipped on the first sealift ship this summer, Butler said.

If the proposal receives a Yes vote from 60 per cent of property owners representing 50 per cent of the assessed value of the 41 properties, construction could begin as soon as the first boat is unloaded, for completion by the end of the summer.

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