Editorial “inappropriate and silly”


Your editorial titled “Fine too high for bylaw violation” was silly and inconsistent with your paper’s earlier position on bylaw infractions.

I provide a portion of an editorial in which you sided with the majority of Iqaluit residents, who want City Council to enforce its zoning bylaws:

“…This (zoning) work represents the core function of all Canadian municipalities… But despite all this work, Iqaluit municipal officials have usually acted as if their zoning bylaw is a mere bureaucratic inconvenience, especially when major private developers stride into council chambers asking to be exempted from the rules. One visible sign of this is all the inappropriate residential housing scattered around…. (Sept. 14, 2001, “Why a zoning bylaw?”)

Your comment that Council has “… turned down several reasonable proposals from private developers…” is not correct. In fact, Council has rejected only two significant proposals during the past 18 months — one proposal, concerning a major developments at the four corners, has been well documented on these pages. A second proposal was rejected because it involved a multi-residential development in an area zoned R1 for single family housing.

Many proponents were asked to provide more information, in accordance with the City’s bylaws. Some contractors complied and received permits, others elected to cancel or defer their plans.

The issue relating to the recommendation for the $10,000 fine needs some explanation. A duplex is allowed as a conditional use in areas zoned R1 (single family residential) under the current zoning bylaw. The permit issued for the house, referenced in your editorial, was to construct a single family dwelling. The house is a duplex, in contravention of the governing bylaw.

The recommendation for a $10,000 fine was based on the cost incurred by the city to investigate and prosecute this case. Rather than being disproportionate to the infraction, it is fair and reasonable. In fact, many contractors would willingly pay a fine of $10,000, as a cost of doing business, in order to end up with a duplex in an area zoned for single family use. This additional cost could easily be recovered within one year from increased rental revenues.

The editorial used a scatter gun like approach to vilify all council initiatives. The use of words and phrases like “anal-retentive”, “behind the backs of prying city staff,” and “city of Iqaluit’s Inspector Gadgets” is both inappropriate and silly.

Rather than trying to understand the editorial’s final sentence: “Simply having to live in a city run by our current town council is punishment enough”, I suggest that the editor objectively review this council’s achievements over the past 28 months.

John Matthews
Mayor of Iqaluit

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