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Housing corporation gets new Iqaluit lots

The Nunavut Housing Corporation has accepted a lot swap that will see six new social housing units built this year in Iqaluit, rather than in Apex.

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

MICHAELA RODRIGUE

IQALUIT — The Nunavut Housing Corp. has agreed to hand over 10 of its cheaper housing lots in Apex to the Town of Iqaluit in exchange for two piped–service lots in Iqaluit, and an amount of cash.

The Housing Corp. agreed to the deal this week after the municipality turned down its request to build multi-family duplexes on three of its single-family Apex lots.

The three duplexes represent Iqaluit’s share of the 100 new public housing units the territory plans to build this summer.

Iqaluit turned down the variance request, citing a letter from Apex neighbours who opposed the addition of six new units in their neighbourhood.

The municipality also has a requirement that multi–family units be built on piped service lots.

Pam Hine, the president of the Nunavut Housing Corp., confirmed she has accepted a deal that will allow the corporation to build two duplexes on one lot in the new Road to Nowhere subdivision and the third duplex on another lot.

But earlier in the week, Hine said she was disappointed by the Town’s refusal to allow multi–family development on the single family lots.

“We are talking about public housing units, which to me are an asset to the community,” Hine said.

“You just have to be downtown to realize there are other bylaws that have been given waives for bigger developers.”

And she expressed concern about the Apex neighbours decision to veto the request.

“I guess it gives a bad impression of public housing units, which is unfair,” she said.

“We’re talking about two small families living in these units and you don’t want to see a perception that public housing units are bad neighbours, because that’s not the case.”

The housing corporation purchased the lot leases in 1996. With the lots already paid for, the Housing Corporation would normally only be responsible for construction costs.

But now the Housing Corp. will have to pay the added cost of hooking the units up to the utilidor. The corporation will also have to change the specifications in its building contract and do site preparation for the new lots, Hine said.

The Housing Corp. is waiting for the closing date on its tender call to get a better estimate of the initial costs, and then factor in the utilidor hook-up costs.

“If we found out that we were over budget and one of the results was this increased cost, then you have to sit down and start making some decisions as to how you’re going to rectify that,” Hine said before this week’s deal was struck.

The Housing Corp.’s 10 single-family Apex lots are worth about $253,000 or $25,000, each the municipality estimates.

A multi–family utilidor lot in Iqaluit is worth about $50,000. The Town will also hand over some cash to make up the full value of the Apex lots.

Coun. Matthew Spence said that money can be used by the Housing Corp. to help pay for the utilidor hookup fees.

Spence also said now that the Town holds the leases on the Apex lot, it will give more options to Iqaluit residents who can’t afford the pricey utilidor lots in the new subdivision.

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