Councillor wants made-in-Iqaluit decisions

Little wants in-town planning and engineering committee

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City councillor Jim Little thinks Iqaluit needs to start an engineering and planning committee to do planning studies, instead of farming out this work to firms from the South.

Little said this week that he doesn’t like the way the city handles planning studies for proposed projects.

At the Jan. 9 council meeting, Little voted against a proposal for a quarry management plan. For this contract, the city had two bidders, Trow and Associates at $58,000 and Concentric Associates International at $29,000.

He said the contract had little to do with building truck scales and didn’t think it should go to either of them for several reasons.

Part of the contract was to wade through the necessary licences, required permits and by-laws he thinks could be handled by the engineering department, if the city had the staff, he said.

At the Jan. 9 meeting, council found out there is no accurate mechanism allowing the city to invoice contractors hauling gravel from the North 40 site.

Geoff Baker, the head of Iqaluit’s engineering department, told council between 80,000 to 100,000 cubic metres of gravel are removed from the North 40 quarry every year and the local demand for gravel is increasing.

“If we had a $20,000 truck scale with a summer student sitting beside it in a pickup truck to record the weights, the city for the 2006 season alone could have invoiced the local contractors $380,000,” Little said.

“Instead, with our honour system, the city received $51,000, for all of last year.

“Now you do the math and then in good conscience tell me we need to pay a southern engineering firm to state the obvious.”

The biggest portion of the contract is to advise the city how to assign the new quarry to contractors, and if establishing new royalty fees is required.

“This to me is an issue an engineering and planning committee could easily sort out, just like our taxi committee will sort out if an increase in taxi fares is warranted.”

He said his big concern with the planning contract is he believes the city is paying too much for southern consultants, while engineering professionals in Iqaluit have already offered to serve on an engineering and planning committee.

“We have staff that should be doing these sorts of things. Most of the information could be provided to the city through a good strong engineering and planning committee.”

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