Iqaluit dog team society wants say in West 40 development
Group has no lease on commissioner’s land used for dog teams in area
Members of Iqaluit’s dog team society filled city hall Tuesday night to voice concerns that proposed development in the city’s West 40 area could push them out.
“The Inuit sled dogs are still here and will be here for a long time,” said Amber Aglukark, who is president of the dog team society, Qimussiqtiit Katimajingit.
City council held a public hearing at city hall to allow residents to speak about amendments to zoning bylaws, including a proposal to allow for development of the West 40 area. The proposal is to rezone the area for industrial leases, such as garages and warehouses.
West 40 is located between the airport and the entrance to Sylvia Grinnell Park.
Certain parts of the area are commissioner’s land in the process of being transferred to the city, including what’s used by Iqaluit’s dog team society. The dog team society has no lease on the land, according to city spokesperson Kent Driscoll.
Cameron McDonald, with the dog team society, said he wants more assurance that future planning won’t end up booting the society’s dogs from the land they’re on.
“What we’re asking for now is some security in [our ability to use] that area,” McDonald said.
Each speaker in support of the dog team society received loud applause from fellow members of Iqaluit Qimussiqtiit Katimajingit, most of who were in the room beside council chamber, since the 15 seats within the chamber were filled.
Aglukark told Nunatsiaq News that members of her organization are also concerned about how future development will affect the environment around the dog-team area.
Specifically, Aglukark said dog team members are concerned about contamination of land, fuel runoff and pollution from new subdivisions.
Community planning consultant Sam Toffolo said the rezoning is only the early part of the process of development and there will be a larger planning process that will include consultation with the dog owners.
The amendments to the zoning and general plan bylaws for the West 40 are past the first reading but city council will take what was said at the public hearing into account before it is presented for second reading.