Iqaluit, federal government inching ahead on $214M water funding agreement
Deal announced April 1 will help fix city’s distribution system
City of Iqaluit staff and federal government officials are finalizing a funding agreement that will lead to a $214 million upgrade of the city’s water distribution system.
“This is a game-changer for our city and the territory, as a whole,” Mayor Kenny Bell said during Tuesday’s council meeting.
The federal government announced April 1 the money would go to what is officially known as the Iqaluit Water Infrastructure Project.
There will be three components in the project, city chief administrative officer Amy Elgersma told council members.
It will involve replacement of the piped water infrastructure, especially pipes that are susceptible to permafrost shifting. This year alone, 20 water pipe breaks have been partly responsible for leakages that have “strained” the city’s system and pushed demand close to 2018 levels, when a water shortage emergency was declared.
The federal funding will also provide a new water supply, including pumping water from the Unnamed Lake or Sylvia Grinnell River.
The third part of the project will be the construction of a new reservoir near Lake Geraldine, the city’s current water storage facility.
Bell added he wants to the city to ensure the federal funding is “the best money spent here ever.”
Iqaluit will continue to experience a long-term water shortage over the next couple of years, but the federal funding to improve the water system is expected to eventually address that.
“This will definitely change the way we move,” Bell said.