City planning hampers development, Iqaluit councillor says
“I see nothing wrong with asking the city to be responsive to what’s going on” Chris Wilson says
The City of Iqaluit is going to keep running up against development hurdles unless it comes up with a plan for how the city should look, a city councillor says.
“We’ve got a situation where homes in the city cost $300,000-plus,” said councillor Chris Wilson in an interview this week. “How many people can truly afford such things?”
High-density units, such as apartment buildings, are the most realistic option for most people in Iqaluit. However, having too many lots zoned for single-family housing is the same as having no lots, Wilson said.
“If we have an abundance of R-1 [single-family dwelling] lots and no one’s going to use them, maybe we can make them high-density lots,” he said.
That could have solved a big zoning problem for George D’Aoust, president of Jomanic-Can Inc.
“D’Aoust knew when he bought [seven lots in the Road to Nowhere subdivision] they had to be rezoned,” Wilson said.
“After he bought them, some high-density lots were returned [to the city] and became available.”
D’Aoust’s application to have the seven lots rezoned was turned down during a city council meeting on May 28.
“It’s really kind of unfair of the city to put him in that position,” Wilson said.
“We need the development, we need the housing, and certainly the financial investment and jobs. Rather than make the developer jump through hoops, I see nothing wrong with asking the city to be responsive to what’s going on at the time. It may be a little extra work on the city’s part….”
Wilson’s frustration was almost as evident as D’Aoust’s.
“They don’t offer any solutions, they don’t have any land, and when they do it’s too expensive,” D’Aoust said.
According to Chrystal Fuller, the city’s director of planning and lands, the city is doing all it can.
“We’re moving along faster than I ever thought possible, really,” she said.
“We’ve got people lining up for lots. Let’s get these lots open,” Wilson at a special city council meeting on Monday.
“This construction season is pretty much shot. Let’s get this going for next year,” he said.
“I would really like us moving forward much more quickly than we are now. So let’s get some development happening here.”