City ponders striking a deal with private business

Hires Whitehorse consulting firm to study partnership idea



The City of Iqaluit is discussing some creative ways to get its infrastructure projects rolling.

It’s already proposing one bold idea: borrowing millions of dollars and going into debt for years in order to pave major roads, build a new dump, buy new water trucks and replace old sewer lines.

But the City isn’t just banking on borrowed money to pay for capital projects. It’s also looking to the private sector for help.

Rick Butler, Iqaluit’s chief administrative officer, said the city would like to partner with businesses such as engineering firms that may help pay for construction of projects, and even operate some of the municipal services.

In order to foster those public-private partnerships, the City is paying a Whitehorse-based consulting firm $24,000 to get the project rolling. At a council meeting on Jan. 14, councillors voted to award North Sky Consulting a contract to come up with a financial strategy for possible public-private partnerships.

Butler said if the City can get some partners on board, it may be in a better position to lobby the federal government for extra funding. Last year, Iqaluit’s luck ran dry when it called on the federal government for help.

In March, Mayor John Matthews wrote federal Finance Minister Paul Martin to request funding for basic infrastructure. Despite Matthew’s detailed description of Iqaluit’s cash problems, Martin didn’t budge.

“We can just sit back and keep whining to the government that they need to give us more money,” Butler said. “Now we’re saying ‘Give us some. And here’s our effort.’”

North Sky Consulting will spend the next month trying to find the best partners for the city to do business with.

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