Iqaluit council asks residents to look to the future

City has hired consulting firm, wants residents’ input on general plan for the next 20 years

The City of Iqaluit’s new general plan could see the West 40s area of the city open for industrial development because the deepsea port, seen here, is nearly ready for use. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The City of Iqaluit is once again asking residents to give their input on the creation of a plan for what the city should look like over the next 20 years.

The city’s new general plan, which will be used to help guide its future in terms of housing, transportation and policymaking, is up for review.

Iqaluit city councillors met for a planning and development committee meeting Tuesday night where two consultants from RePublic Urbanism, a firm contracted by the city, answered questions about what the city’s residents have said so far about what they want to see in the plan.

They presented a report to council filled with suggestions, including that the city incorporate Inuit culture into buildings and community areas, build government buildings quickly, create more affordable housing, and prepare for the effects of climate change.

There are a number of proposed changes from the existing general plan, such as the creation of a one-kilometre buffer around populated areas to “protect the built-up area of the city from incompatible uses such as cabins,” according to the report.

Residents also said they want to see a watershed protection area to include the Qikiqtalik Lake Watershed, the land north of Inuit-owned lands on Sivumugiaq Street reserved for residential and community needs, and the West 40 area zoned for industrial use because the city’s deepsea port is near completion.

“We’ll be taking all the feedback and comments and questions and we’ll be reviewing those and incorporating them into final revisions before being presented to city council for endorsement,” said Jesse McPhail, one of the firm’s consultants.

The period to submit comments will be open for the next four weeks, he said.

The city’s general plan will influence the decisions councillors make over the next 20 years. (Photo by David Venn)

One proposal, which Coun. Romeyn Stevenson disagreed with, is to create smaller parking spaces for snowmobiles and ATVs.

“We have issues with parking throughout the city already,” Stevenson said.
“I understand the desire to use more space by eliminating parking spaces or reducing their size requirements, but in practice we’re making our city less useable.”
Coun. Simon Nattaq emphasized that he wants to see Iqaluit’s municipal boundary extended. He said he wanted to see this in the plan 20 years ago and has in the past considered leaving council because it hasn’t been done.

“Now I have grey hair and white hair while this boundary is still the same,” Nattaq said.

RePublic Urbanism will be handing out physical copies of its report to high-traffic areas for the public to review, McPhail said.

The report is the second of four phases that will lead to the creation of the new general plan. Next up is the drafting phase, scheduled for spring, where the city will see the first iteration of its new general plan and zoning bylaw.

McPhail said the plan will likely be adopted this summer.

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(27) Comments:

  1. Posted by You Going to Listen This Time? on

    Yes! Amazing.

    Pedestrian infrastructure! Iqaluit has a lot of pedestrians and a unique land ownership system that allows for public paths all over town.

    Since they ruined the intersection at Federal road and Mivvik I’ve been clipped by a car side mirror twice. I really love sharing an ice covered road with active traffic. What’s even more frustrating is the fact the Planning Department has a nearly decade old report detailing how dangerous it is for pedestrians here. That situation has regressed I can assure you.

    • Posted by Basics on

      There’s a sidewalk across from Baffin Gas Bar, but it’s buried under several feet of snow that never gets removed. We are forced to walk on the ice that the drivers have polished, trying to stop at the stop-sign.
      How about the City start by getting the basics right?

  2. Posted by What For? on

    I’m curious about Simon Nattaq’s request to expand the municipal boundary, because I don’t currently see any need for the municipal boundary to grow. It essentially runs 5km west of the most western point of the airport, about 6km north of the most northern part of the Plateau, around 3km east of the Apex cemetery (to the tip of Tarr Inlet), and around 3.5km south of the causeway dock. Maybe this doesn’t sound like a lot, but the city as it is spans a total of about 7km across and no more than 2km tall.
    I’d say that roughly 10 square kilometres of Iqaluit are “developed” (including the airport) in a municipal boundary of around 120 square kilometres (land only). Rough estimates.

    • Posted by Good Point on

      We should make the city we have work before we worry about adding to it.

  3. Posted by Info on

    Any info on where, how, when we can provide input?

  4. Posted by Tommy on

    Sir Nunatsiaq,

    I have been a resident of Iqaluit since time immemorial, and love this city for being the capitol. However, I would like to bring attention my frustration concern that no one is taking the roads seriusly. I am aware that no one wants lose dogs on the roads, but I feel that without a vet or home for the dogs, they are taking over.

    Because Iqaluit is not rounding up the dogs and giving them a place to live, I feel this would be an effectuv way to start a halfway house for lose dogs. A halfway dog house.

    Dew to the overwhelming number of dogs causing mayhem on our roadways, I know this dog halfway house would be an supur way to do our part. No one wants to see them culled or sent away. Our comminity has already been affected by the rabid foxes and parvo. This is a way of mitigating furthur damage.

    While I would love to see our local officials step up and adopt some of those lose dogs, this would also be an improvement make better for our city safety of our roadways.

    Therefore through your elite newspaper I would like to draw attention of the concerned authorities.

    Thank you
    Yours Faithfully


    • Posted by Protime on

      That is a great suggestion. A lot of this generation are choosing animals over children. It would be nice if the city could incorporate a fenced in dog park.

      Ultimately a place for dogs to go where they can be cared for. It’s unfortunate there is no veterinary programs to train Inuit. And initiatives for these dogs to have places to live… It could even be volunteer based.. There should definitely be a place for dogs to live out the rest of their lives peacefully.. Dogs are such an important part of Inuit culture… It’s a shame to see them getting shipped out to the south where they suffer from the heat and stress of a large city…

      • Posted by Suffer down south? on

        You suggest having a volunteer program to take care of the dogs here in Iqaluit. My question to you would be how are these volunteers expected to house, feed, and care for themselves if they’re doing the work as volunteers? Iqaluit has the largest cost of living compared to the rest of Canada so I don’t think anyone will be signing up to volunteer their time and effort towards dogs. Residents have clearly shown their lack of compassion and how much they don’t care about these intelligent creatures that I don’t think anyone will be willing to volunteer their time for them.

        Saying that shipping them south is a shame due to the stress and heat of the “large city” is an extremely naïve comment. These animal’s chances at living a full happy life is exponentially increased when you send them to a city where they can receive medical care, food and supplies for them aren’t subject to extortionate prices and you put them in families that treat them as a living creature rather than a work tool. Dogs up here are chained up outside during blizzards, starved and fighting for food, loose running around the whole city in roads and traffic, and defending themselves from predators. The amount of animal cruelty in Iqaluit is appalling and I could only hope that every dog and animal here ends up south.

        • Posted by Protime on

          Atii, send them all to Ottawa then.

      • Posted by Dogs on

        Dogs are an important part of Inuit culture? Shake you head. It maybe was like that years ago, but now they are just like a big iron ball around their feet. Let the run where they want, keep them on a short chain, no food no water. Yeah, they are very much needed for your culture. Wait until the snow melts and you find all the frozen to death dogs.

  5. Posted by JSonny on

    Iqaluit is the only capital city in Canada without a staffed planning division. There is no person looking after our lands and zones and permits. Instead we contracted all out to a southern firm, none of which live in the community. This is embarrassing. All the other communities in Nunavut have to use the CGS people for planning and those employees have to live in Nunavut to answer to the councils and people directly. Not through some contract. Dogs, traffic, parking, roads, permits and all that stuff have no staff to look after them.

    What other community in Canada with a majority indigenous populations would have all their land services run out of a contract ny consultants not in the province or territory? None.

    Council should amend this contract so the authors have to live in the city for a few years to really understand what needs doing.

    Council should be embarrassed to hire consultants instead of local living staff.

    • Posted by Tired of Wasting Money on

      It’s perfectly normal for a municipality to hire planning consultants. RePublic is responsible for lots of plans in communities with well staffed Planning Departments. It is outrageous that our Planning Department seems to have one employee, but what else can we expect when the entry level pays $30,000 less a year than a GN job requiring no qualifications?

      I’m training to be a Planner but I can’t afford to work for Planning …

      • Posted by JSonny on

        Outside southern consultants should be taking their direction from and advising local staff who are also planners and know the community and land and the rules we have unique to Iqaluit and Nunavut. Those consultants should answer to the Director of Planning. Otherwise we will not know if we have accurate information and proper advice. This is unprofessional.

        We are the only capital city in Canada and the only major regional centre that cannot hire and retain staff for planning and our land admin. It’s a scandal. Poor land use and historical record was part of the water problem.


        • Posted by nurse on call on

          easier said then done… planning is such a specialized profession and barely anyone studies that in university anyway… most city planners work in cities and iqaluit is barely a city anyway… planners move up for a few months and then get a better job down south… thats just the way it is…

        • Posted by Graduate first on

          I totally agree with you. How can this be accomplished?
          – Attend school
          – Graduate
          – Start and complete post secondary education
          – Apply for a Planning position job
          – Request a pardon if you have a criminal record
          – Show interest and show up for work
          – Pay a proper hourly wage

          Done, here you have your local staff

          • Posted by And Then on

            Once that is all said and done the candidate in question will still need to want to live and work here after attaining a level of qualification that would allow them to work in an actually functioning part of the country.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      There were staffed planning positions here in town but they could never keep folks in them. Ether qualified folks don’t want to work for the City or they don’t want to live in Nunavut. Either way … consultants it is.

      • Posted by JSonny on

        The GN does planning for the other 24 communities and they no longer outsource to down south consultants. Their staff live up here year round and most have been here many years. Iqaluit has no local staff and so it is time the GN take over land use planning for Iqaluit forcing the city to use local staff or no development should occur. The down south consultants charge far more than local staff and are a joke at listening to residents. These down south planners cannot process permits because they aren’t city officers even. Iqaluit city council are not even following the law. They are required to have land officers and directors to allow for any development. Council is breaking the law.

  6. Posted by S on

    “They presented a report to council filled with suggestions, including that the city …. prepare for the effects of climate change.”

    Just 10,000 years ago, Iqaluit was buried under a 2 kilometer thick sheet of ice. Over time, it melted. Some of that sheet remains as glaciers at high altitudes just south of here at the mouth of Frobisher Bay, and also westward, near Pangnirtung

    Many, many years before that, the climate around hete was sub-tropical. At some time in the future a sub-tropical or high-arctic climate and conditions will return. None of us will be here to witness that.

    Council has permission to use my tax dollats to discuss ways to deal with our current weather and the low-arctic climate we have here. It does mot have permission to ever talk about climate change, space travel, or hobbits.

    • Posted by Think Before You Speak on

      I feel like your comments are actually great reasons to plan for climate change. If people were living here when it was a 2km thick sheet of ice, or when the climate was subtropical, they likely would have benefitted from planning for the climate to change.

      • Posted by S on

        You should think before you speak, Think Before You Speak.

        Firstly, there’s nothing to plan regarding climate change since it is such a slow and gradual process; planning is relevant only for the existing climate – which will be essentially the same for thousands of years.

        There is no citizen who has anything to offer regarding climate change other than academics who discuss the topic for ,,, academic curiosity and knowledge development. It’s the same diametric for nuclear physics, space travel, corporate mergers, organ transplants or any other complex technology and concept.

        You could talk about the weather but not the climate, unless of course you are moving far away to a place that has a different climate – in which case you need to decide what clothes to bring or buy

  7. Posted by Driver on

    The roads in Iqaluit are horrible. We need turning lanes at 4 corners. The road to plateau and the road to the high school causes blockages and backs up traffic. There are 2 roads that lead downtown core for a majority of the city. We need more access roads. New vehicles arriving in iqaluit every year. We need a better road system. As a parent who has to rush home to elementary aged children who cannot stay at school for lunch. The lunch traffic is horrible.

  8. Posted by noah papatsie on

    this is for the resdient s not visitors,being boarn and raised here means i am a reside add to resume to assit the growing visitors.nt,infrustructure has been going since melenia,we should respect the locals and there future expantion for develpomnet.tradition has the lead of eduation and is time the city promote equality to loacal resident and have some development and respect to the local residents .people come here for the reasons not thier reasons?

    • Posted by Yes! Yes yes on

      Totally hit it on the head! Completely agree

    • Posted by Resident on

      You got this wrong. I’m a resident of Iqaluit Nunavut because I live here since years. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact if you are born here. “Visitors” as you refer to have mostly health insurance and this only provided to residents. They come here for the same reasons that apply to people all over the world. You move to a place because you like it, or because there is work. There is no such thing like the questionnaire is for “born and raised” residents only, this is bullshit man

  9. Posted by Maq-Pat on

    These can almost be predicted like clockwork:
    (1) Stevenson will advocate for rich Apex residents only.
    (2) Nattaq will take a strong passionate stance on something illogical.
    (3) The city will hype up it’s public consultations lead by southerners who spoke with only a few dozen Iqalungmiut.
    (4) The report won’t be posted anywhere accessible.

  10. Posted by some guy on

    I’m looking to the future and it is not in Nunavut. However, I am glad there are those trying to make a difference.


Comments are closed.