Iqaluit city councillors look to create new rules for cabins on municipal land

Aim is to have new regulations in place by summer 2021

Following the temporary suspension of new cabin construction in July, the City of Iqaluit has developed an action plan that would see new rules in place by next summer. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

The City of Iqaluit is one step closer to developing rules to govern the construction of cabins on municipal land.

On Tuesday, Oct. 20, members of the city’s planning and development committee unanimously approved a three-phased proposal that would see research, public consultation and implementation completed by the summer of 2021.

In July, councillors voted to temporarily suspend the building of all new cabins on city land until the city developed a plan to regulate land for cabin use.

“The timeline is one thing that concerns me,” said Mayor Kenny Bell, who also expressed his support for the proposal.

“We usually use winter to carry all of our supplies out and then summer is [the] building period.”

Bell asked whether it would be possible to move the timeframe up enough to allow for summer construction, or if other workarounds were possible, like identifying development areas earlier in the process so residents could start moving their materials.

“If we miss a whole summer, it’s going to be rough on people,” said Bell.

In an email to Nunatsiaq News, Amy Elgersma, Iqaluit’s chief administrative officer, said that although a timeline was provided in the report presented to the committee, efforts will be made to roll out the plan as early as possible.

“The City will have a better idea of the implementation dates once the public consultation is underway,” she said.

According to a memorandum provided to committee members, the research phase of the project would be slated to begin this winter.

This would involve researching solutions used by other northern communities, internal policy reviews, obtaining Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and other information that would be compiled into a report ahead of the next phase.

The consultation phase would be set to begin in the spring of 2021 and would involve community sessions open to the public, if possible, depending on any pandemic restrictions, and meetings with other key stakeholders, including the Government of Nunavut, Inuit organizations, and the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association.

Implementation would happen during the summer of 2021. Potential outcomes listed in the report include a cabin-specific bylaw or lease program.

J.L. Richards, a planning firm with which the city has a contract, will take the lead on the project.

Following the committee’s vote in favour of the proposal, it will be brought forward to the next city council meeting on Oct. 27.

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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Before you say on

    I’m going to jump ahead here, knowing what comments are coming. Before you say, “it’s Inuit land, the city can’t tell us where we can or can’t build a cabin”, you should know that it is not Inuit land. The Nunavut Agreement designates land surrounding municipalities to be owned by those municipalities. That’s why it’s referred to as “municipal land” in the article, because it’s owned by Iqaluit.
    .
    If you want to build a cabin on Inuit land, without Iqaluit getting involved, you’re very welcome to do so. You just have to venture a little further out of town.

    • Posted by Not so far on

      Before you say head farther out of town, you forget there’s a lot of Inuit owned land in municipalities, including much of Iqaluit’s beachfront. So you don’t actually have to go that far – just behind the NorthMart.

  2. Posted by Iwana Cabin on

    First choice must be for those who are homeless. I’d like to build a cabin, but I already have a place to live. Let those without a home get a roof over their head and a wall to break the wind. I know the city wants money, so set the price at $1.00.
    .
    There, public consutation done.
    .
    Taima

  3. Posted by A Planning Firm? on

    Why not follow the procedures in place for things such as landholding corporations and municipalities in Nunavik?
    .
    For any building proposed within municipal limits, the project goes to a committee made up of a few municipality representatives and landholding representatives. They discuss the location and any potential future projects which might cause a concern to the area of the cabin in question, add conditions for use and construction in the area if need be, etc. Once done, a cabin lease is registered at a certain rate per 5 years and they’re free to build and enjoy the cabin. You now have a recognized cabin that provides certain legal protections from its lease and a map of where all cabins are.
    .
    Survey the sites occasionally to see if there are new constructions built without authorization. Notices can be laid on unregistered cabins to get them to begin the lease process properly, fines can be given for strong/persistent disregard of rules. ‘No cabin zones’ are established around critical infrastructure or unsuitable sites.
    .
    No need to reinvent the wheel… I wonder how much the planning firm will get paid to design procedure to propose to Iqaluit. Hopefully it’s sensible and not too high, as it isn’t that difficult a topic to regulate and has been dealt with in other parts of Inuit Nunangat for decades. Also, hopefully it doesn’t take them too long if they must reinvent the wheel, for the concerns of short construction season and timing mentioned in the article.

    • Posted by MARC RIVET on

      Hello
      Would you mind communicating with me to discuss Iqaluit cabin program?
      Thanks.

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