Gjoa Haven fiveplex ‘repurposed’ as public housing

Housing minister says change prompted by pandemic and available federal funds

A fiveplex being built in Gjoa Haven will be used as public housing, rather than as government staff housing. (File photo)

By Mélanie Ritchot

Two public housing fiveplexes will be built in Gjoa Haven this year, as plans change for one building originally slated to be staff housing.

Margaret Nakashuk, the minister responsible for Nunavut Housing Corp., announced the change in the legislature Wednesday, when Gjoa Haven MLA Tony Akoak asked when the tender for the “much-needed” staff units would be issued.

Akoak also referred to a letter the Gjoa Haven District Education Authority recently wrote to Education Minister David Joanasie about the “urgent need” for more staff housing in the community for teachers.

Nakashuk told Akoak the planned staff housing will be “repurposed” as public housing.

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, priorities have shifted to address issues like overcrowding in homes, Nakashuk said.

The change also takes advantage of federal money on offer through the Rapid Housing Initiative, aimed at addressing short-term needs and getting vulnerable people housed in affordable units.

The funding can be used for public housing, but not put towards staff units, Nakashuk said, adding that the staff housing fiveplex is delayed for this year, but will go ahead next year.

“The corporation is responding to housing needs in Gjoa Haven by using funding immediately available from the federal government’s Rapid Housing Initiative to build an unplanned and unexpected additional five units,” Nakashuk said.

Gjoa Haven is not the only community to see changes in building plans this year, as construction costs spiked across the country.

Two duplexes planned for Taloyoak have been put on hold because the construction company couldn’t get bonding, or insurance to protect the client, the community’s MLA, Emiliano Emiliano Qirngnuq, found out in the legislature on May 28.

A fiveplex set for Rankin Inlet is also on hold because the lot isn’t ready.

In Pangnirtung, a staff housing fiveplex scheduled for construction is no longer moving ahead, Nakashuk told the legislature on June 1.

Four fourplexes have been cancelled for Iqaluit because of high building costs, with tenders coming in $3.3 million over budget, Nakashuk said in an email.

Construction costs are up 30 per cent over last year, she stated.

In its budget, the federal government announced $25 million to build about 100 new units and address immediate needs in Nunavut.

Nakashuk said the Nunavut Housing Corporation has not yet received the memorandum of understanding for those funds, but once the agreement is finalized, the corporation will decide which communities the units will go to.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Umingmak on

    The feds always have billions upon billions of dollars to give away annually to foreign countries, but the most they can muster for the Nunavut housing crisis is $25M? Really? When will the Canadian government prioritize Canadians? Is this Justin Trudeau’s definition of “reconciliation”?

    • Posted by Cry more on

      Why does the government owe you a house though?

  2. Posted by Westerner on

    In every Nunavut community are empty government units , ten plex six plexfour plex two plex NOT only government units. KIA units sit empty as well. With the highest number of the population in Nunavut that share family units, with each room averaging as much as 14 people per room and even more in some communities Every community. Homelessness prevails in the Territory even more so when it left the Northwest Territories, Nunavut is exactly as said ; none of it .

  3. Posted by Kanayuq on

    Yes, too many Vacant GN Staff Housing Units, too many other businesses and companies Staffing Units. These businesses/companies can make revenue by helping LOCALS RENT a unit, temporary rental until Housing is able to allocate family/ies with proper comfortable home for families in need.

    • Posted by Hmmmm… on

      It would just be lost revenue for the GN, private owners to let them be filled as public housing units. The majority of tenants do not wish to hold a job. Rent is covered by the social assistance/child tax/or other form of government handouts. The ones who do not work, do not care how a unit is kept in top shape.

  4. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    housing is an issue in Nunavut.

    but so is employment, accountability, education and family services.

    the need for housing is high. but if you do not have a home, a young family should not choose to bring a child into this world for the sake of raising your points for a public housing unit.

    education is key for a successful career. that means going to school, every morning and afternoon. that means going to sleep at a reasonable hour each night. that means taking ownership of your childrens homework. ask them if they have received any homework and help them when you can. if you cannot help them, ask if they have any Family or Friends who can tutor them in their subjects they need help in. or if the School has any after hours tutor programs which may be available. that means giving them a stable home life, if you are going to have adult beverages, try to do it so it does not impact their sleep because it’s about your Childrens sleep; not the bottle or ‘medicinal’ things you may smoke. make sure they have enough to eat. a healthy diet allows them to concentrate on school work.

    and the best thing you can do as a parent is do your job and provide them a safe and stable home life by gainful employment. which can be tough anywhere but if you look in almost any Community there is work out there.

    • Posted by Arnold McGillicuddy on

      Amen. VERY well said.

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