Developer shares details on new Iqaluit housing units

It’s not a solution to the housing crisis, but it’s a start, says committee chair

NCC Investment Group CEO Clarence Synard says each of the 18 units in a housing project planned for Joamie Court will have views of the entire city. (Photo courtesy of NCC Investment Group/City of Iqaluit)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqaluit is on track to get 18 new affordable housing units next year, according to the CEO of the company responsible for the project.

Construction on the three-storey building, which will be located on Joamie Court, is scheduled to begin in May and be completed 13 months later, said Clarence Synard, CEO of NCC Investment Group.

He updated the city’s engineering and public works committee Monday at city hall.

“This building’s gonna be seen from all over the city,” Synard said. “The people living in these units, in all 18 units, are going to have beautiful views, looking right down Frobisher Bay, across the core of the city and in up the Sylvia Grinnell River.”

In the 15,000-square-foot building, six units will have two bedrooms and 12 will have one bedroom. The main floor will have four barrier-free units with larger doors, wheelchair accessibility and lower kitchen countertops.

Councillors approved the plan in December and the city hired NCC to design and build it. The project will cost $10.7 million, all paid by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., half from its rapid housing initiative fund and the remainder from its co-investment program.

The units will be made for Inuit, and at least 50 per cent of them will be allocated to women and women with children, said the city’s chief administrative officer, Amy Elgersma.

Once the building is completed, the Nunavut Housing Corp. will buy it from the city.

Synard said NCC has consulted with the housing corp. to learn about what kind of features the building should have, such as front and rear entrances.

The building will also have more insulation between floors and walls, energy-efficient windows, LED lights and the capacity to handle solar panel.

Site work, such as rock removal, is set to begin in May and construction on the frame is slated for late July, said Synard. The plan is for finishing touches, such as paint and cabinetry, to begin in February 2023, with completion in June.

While Coun. Joanasie Akumalik and Mayor Kenny Bell congratulated everybody involved with the project, Coun. Sheila Flaherty expressed some concerns with the design details.

“It just seems that the units are going to be small and there’s going to be overcrowding,” she said.

Elgersma responded, saying this one project can’t solve the housing crisis in Iqaluit, but it can help.

“This will definitely meet a need,” Elgersma said. “It doesn’t meet all the needs … We also believe that we’re setting up a model to be able to replicate this type of project to do something similar in the future.”

Coun. Romeyn Stevenson, who is also the chairperson of the economic development committee, said there is a need for this project but agreed with Flaherty’s concerns.

“There needs to be places for families, not just for smaller family units because people will just pile into those spaces,” he said.

“This is by no means the solution to affordable housing or to the housing crisis in Iqaluit or Nunavut, but it is definitely a start.”

Share This Story

(41) Comments:

  1. Posted by Uh-Huh on

    And yet the land claims organizations with hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars in cash sitting in banks have yet to so much as nail a pair of two by fours together on behalf of Inuit in need of housing.

    Something is very wrong here

    80
    8
    • Posted by Correction on

      It was ONE BILLION in 1999. Easily double that at this juncture. But, according to NTI, housing is a government responsibility. Ask yourself what Province in Canada carries a mantle of providing free social housing to 85% of the population. That’s right folks, 85% of all housing in Nunavut is social housing. $60/month? Insane.

      41
      7
    • Posted by Maybe on

      I heard somewhere they use a lot of their money to invest then secure money to grow but I don’t know…

      5
      2
      • Posted by Definitely on

        NTI and it’s various subsidiary corporations are often completely tax exempt in the way you’d think of a charity. It is strange this is the case since the land claim does not call for it. With this sTheir ability to generate profit from investments alone is immediately 30% easier than a normal corporation.

        4
        6
    • Posted by Housing on

      The GN has received hundreds of millions on top of their hundreds of million to build housing, when the GN has so much money over 2 BILLION per year budget maybe we should be asking why the GN continues to do so little with all that money.
      Why can’t the GN/housing try different things like prefabricated homes to cut cost and build more homes for cheaper?
      We saw how fast the new hotel went up in Iqaluit and how nice it is inside, units and houses can be the same.
      GN needs to stop wasting all those funding.

      11
      17
      • Posted by The Answer on

        The GN needs to put projects out to tender under free trade. Inuit companies are granted discounts up to 25% off their bids. Wealthy Inuit establish “companies” that are 51% owned by them, and 49% owned by large companies in the south. They bid and get 25% off. The Inuit owner gets a kickback. The southern company gets a major discount. This means all money going out from the GN is immediately 1/4 less. Factor in the cost to move things here and the money is worth half as much. Add incompetence and extras and the money is 2/3 gone before there is a shovel in the ground.

        21
        2
        • Posted by Token Inuk on

          You mean the token Inuk head of a company that’s really owned by someone else?
          So many loopholes in the GN tendering and contracting it’s easy to set up a Inuit owned business with a token Inuk as head of the business but it’s really owned and operated by non Inuit.
          This GN system needs to be changed.

          13
          2
          • Posted by Kabloona Kevin on

            NTI controls the Inuit company list. They make rules for defining Inuit-owned companies, not the GN.

            12
            3
            • Posted by Don’t think so on

              GN controls itself not NTI, NTI can make recommendations but it’s up to GN, NNI doesn’t work, too many loopholes for southern interests to run companies up here.

              • Posted by Kabloona Kevin on

                Read the Nunavut Agreement:

                ARTICLE 7
                LIST OF INUIT FIRMS
                24.7.1
                The DIO shall prepare and maintain a comprehensive list of Inuit firms, together with information on the goods and services which they would be in a position to furnish in relation to government contracts.

                DIO means Designated Inuit Organization, which is NTI.

  2. Posted by Booyah on

    Booyah for future proofing with solar! Won’t have to burn diesel to run lights for the whole summer!

    That’s a big win!

    19
    3
  3. Posted by 10.7 Million on

    Do the math, this shows a cost of 600,000 dollars per unit. These tenants will likely pay 70 bucks a month in rent. Unfortunately, that nominal fee is likely never collected. Without considering inflation, it will only take 714 years to pay off these units. Of course, that is unless they burn down, get trashed, or are simply neglected into an irreversible state of disrepair.

    The fallacy of public housing is that since the tenant has put no work into the unit, he or she often doesn’t consider it an asset and therefore has no pride or connection to the unit. It would be nice to see that NHC properly vets applicants before giving them the keys. Do a full criminal record check and credit check to ensure they will be responsible and respectful tenants.

    Otherwise, this seems like a great investment.

    49
    14
    • Posted by Not public housing on

      Just because it’s “affordable” doesn’t mean it public housing. Although having NHC involved does muddy those waters a bit.

      Is NHC going to manage regular rentals now? Has their mandate changed?

      Also, are they expecting women with children to cram into a 1-bdrm unit?

      I guess as long as the mayor gets his good news story, nothing else matters.

      19
      9
    • Posted by Interesting on

      for damages and disaster they most likely they have insurance

      3
      9
    • Posted by Motivation on

      Nice to know that people paying $60/month out of their income assistance checks will have a beautiful view of the city in their brand new homes that people paying for their own housing will never get.

      14
      2
  4. Posted by WHAT on

    Everyone realizes that the costing for this project equates to $595,000.00 for each SINGLE resident unit right…. like dang. I know its expensive to build in Iqaluit but seriously the amount spent could go into full family housing units in other communities.
    What a waste of social housing monies. And before everyone whines that it lacks housing – so does the entire Territory, not only that but Iqaluit is only growing because it’s the capitol (there is NO export potential, there is NO connectivity potential, there is no room for expansion).
    Sticking social housing into a place like Iqaluit for this type of cost is stupid.
    Good on Iqaluit for being ridiculous once again…

    30
    8
    • Posted by government on

      government working for the people and the people working locally. We in this together as one in canada

      3
      10
    • Posted by Capital on

      I know everyone likes to bring down Iqaluit for whatever reason, but there is a huge housing crises here, when governments can’t find housing for their staff it’s a big problem, now imagine someone that doesn’t work for the government, no way they will get any kind of housing, there’s more people here than housing and each year the population is growing.
      You have your problems so work to find solutions also.

      7
      5
  5. Posted by Birth Control on

    How many babies will be born between now and the completion of the building> How many girls and adults will become pregnant during the construction period.
    You want to end the housing crisis, start at the right point.

    26
    11
    • Posted by Things we don’t say on

      Clearly you didn’t get the memo when you arrived, but family planning, the tuniit genocide and the fact that the IQ values you see posted all over the place were made up by southerners in the 90s are all topics that are not to be brought up or discussed, ever… okay?!

      Don’t bring this up again.

      18
      20
      • Posted by Bringing it up again on

        What does biting off more than one can chew have to do with anything? There is no reason for a 25 year old with a 6th grade education to have 5 kids. None. This is an unsustainable burden on social services.

        Saying that family planning or small families is a “southern” concept reeks ignorance. Our families used to be immense. It was common to have 10+ siblings in our grandparent’s times, the help was needed on the farms. The same cannot be said anymore as most have outgrown this lifestyle.

        Hate to say it, but the OP is right, until “kids stop having kids” and focusing on schooling instead, the housing problem won’t go anywhere.

        33
        6
        • Posted by Things we don’t say on

          It was clearly a sarcastic comment. Try reading it again with that in mind..

          5
          3
      • Posted by Humble on

        It’s so nice to see the views from people that come up here with all their open and kind comments.
        It’s especially comforting knowing these same people will work with us to make a difference.

        10
        17
        • Posted by POV on

          Dear ‘Humble’ I find this kind of comment very sanctimonious, uninformative and irritating

          8
          2
  6. Posted by Frank Lee By’s on

    There is no way that NCC can do this project for 10.7 mil. Imposssible. This project is 13 million. Way too low, they are quoting 2018 pricing. I would suspect a change order for an increase will be coming soon and they will blame the increase on Covid, which has been around now for two years and pricing increases known. Smoke and mirrors. They will get the contract signed and CHANGE ORDER. Wait and see. Another question tax payers should be asking. How did they get a 10 million dollar project without any type of competitive process? Why did they get the sole source? They are not the only Inuit firm capable and willing! Illutksitaarvik, Pilitak, Inukshuk Construction, Sanaquatiit and Arctic Fresh are all Inuit firms listed under NTI’s Inuit firms registry and they didn’t get a chance to bid? As a tax payer, not acceptable there was no competitive process. Sketchy handing out 10 million like this. Not ok. Not ok at all!!! Money just floats around in this Territory and no ask questions!!!!! Wake up! What a view though!

    21
    6
    • Posted by Juutai on

      At least where I’m from, they changed development contracts from “labour only” with other firms bidding for “supply” and “shipping” contracts. This saved a lot of money and benefited local Inuit construction, but then they changed it to “ship supply and erect”, which we couldn’t do in town and so it had to be contracted out. They also liked to roll back Inuit hiring benefits because the local company apparently hired too many Inuit. It’s been such a pain, seems like someone’s changing the rules to benefit some other company at our expense.

      6
      1
    • Posted by Prefabricated on

      Maybe NCC is using more locals and the same techniques and design as the hotel they built to cut cost,
      It is very expensive to fly in, house and feed workers from the south, that adds so much to the cost.

      6
      1
    • Posted by NNI on

      All the other companies you mentioned are southern organizations with Inuit names, so no loss here. Also their construction unit costs are about double what NCC is charging. Even if NCC cost ends up at $13 million, it will still be way cheaper than what these other construction companies charge. Hopefully, this will start the long overdue conversation on why these other construction companies charge exorbitant cost for new housing units.

      9
      4
      • Posted by Traditional Kudlik on

        Hit the nail on the head, these other so called Inuit companies when you look underneath their token Inuk status we find they really are not Inuit owned, they just meet the requirements by the GN that is flawed.
        These companies make so much money building social housing they can have their own planes and pilots to fly in and out their crews from the communities. That says a lot and explains why it’s so much more expensive to build any housing in Nunavut.

        8
        4
  7. Posted by Builder 1 on

    Let’s see if I got this right.
    .
    The federal government is giving CMHC $10.7 million of taxpayers money. CMHC will give the money to the city of Iqaluit. Iqlauit wil give the money to NCC Investments Ltd. NCC will give most of the money to a southern construction firm.
    .
    The southern construction firm will divide what it gets between southern suppliers of construction material, a southern shipping firm, and southern construction workers.
    .
    Once the building is complete, Iqaluit will “sell” the building to Nunavut Housing Corporation (owned by the Government of Nunavut) for an undisclosed amount of money.
    .
    Since these units are intended to be for low-income tennants, NHC will likely get $60 per unit per month, or $12,960 per year. From NHC published reports, it costs them $26,000 per unit to operate an average public housing unit. That building will likely cost NHC about $468,000 each year.
    .
    After allowing for the $12,960 of annual rent, the net cost of that building to the GN will be about $455,000 per year.
    .
    We need the housing.
    But there has to be a better way.
    .
    Taima.

    42
    4
    • Posted by There are other ways on

      There are other ways and one was proposed but the city declined it for a project that is suspiciously similar on the surface. Government is not flexible and cannot alone deal with the housing crisis. Other options that are proposed by creative citizens need to be given a chance.

  8. Posted by Well on

    These units have to be built with such robust materials to withstand the abuse. Hence the cost. If they could build them normally and it go through the regular wear and tear then the cost wouldn’t be so bad. But for low cost housing they’re going to have the sh!t kicked outa them

    19
    2
  9. Posted by articrick on

    “Sunrise” more like eyesore, where do these people come up with these lazy designs?

    10
    7
  10. Posted by Questioning the Process on

    Why did the City of Iqaluit get the money and not NHC directly if NHC will be responsible for the units in the end? By doing it this way the City gets to select their best construction buddy without a competitive process. They’ll also get to make money off the GN by increasing the price on sale. And why do they think they’ll have any say over whether or not Inuit women get the units? NHC will be the landlord…

    14
    3
    • Posted by Kanuwhipit on

      Some federal departments can’t have agreements with the GN but they can have agreements with the City so that is the process they use here.

    • Posted by What Hangs? on

      I’m interested to know why women and women with children are guaranteed “at least” half the spaces. I understand children, but why women? Why would it be different than men? Aren’t men overrepresented in homeless or people in need of housing? About 70% are men, from my understanding.
      .
      Women also make up somewhere around 75%-80% of the government’s workforce, but I don’t hear anybody shouting about a representative public service on that front.

      14
      1
      • Posted by New Orthodoxy on

        Because we know, ‘a priori,’ that men are less vulnerable and marginalized than women.

        Someone needs to get woke.

        3
        3
    • Posted by Kitikmeot Resident on

      What’s wrong with NCC building this? NCC is an Inuit Owned company….

      4
      5
  11. Posted by Yay! on

    Good news! A start on the way to easing the crisis. I’m looking forward to seeing people get housing.

    6
    2
  12. Posted by Shawn on

    The public housing system is fk’d up.
    I’ve been pointing it out for ten years because I’ve been living it too long. School doesn’t teach whats important and that just wastes our lives.

    5
    2

Comments are closed.