Iqaluit planning committee backs new Astro Hill apartments

Councillors raise concerns about traffic, accessibility

Iqaluit’s planning and development committee voted Tuesday to support Nunastar Properties Inc.’s plan to build a four-storey mixed-use building on Astro Hill, pictured in this rendering. (Photo courtesy of City of Iqaluit)

By Jeff Pelletier - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqaluit’s planning committee voted in favour of a proposal from Nunastar Properties Inc. to build a four-storey mixed use apartment and commercial building on Astro Hill.

The proposal will now move to city council, which will decide whether to grant a development permit, despite concerns raised by committee members during Tuesday’s meeting about traffic and accessibility for elders and people with disabilities.

The proposal would include 32 two-bedroom apartments as well as four hotel suites.

It would be located just west of the eight-storey building on the property, which towers over the Iqaluit skyline.

A walking trail, connecting the building to Inuksuk High School and the Aquatic Centre, is also part of the proposed development.

Committee members shared a number of concerns about the building; the biggest issue being traffic, especially since the recent opening of the nearby new post office.

“This area is really busy and digested,” Coun. Harry Flaherty said.

Ed Romanowski, the president of Nunastar, acknowledged that it was “absolute chaos” when the post office first opened, but more recently, things have “stabilized.”

Coun. Romeyn Stevenson asked several questions about the development, including about who would maintain the proposed walking trail.

Scott Hanson, a manager with Nunastar, said Astro Hill staff would be responsible for that.

Coun. Simon Nattaq addressed concerns for elders and people with disabilities.

He said that additional cars parking in the back of the Astro Hill complex has created accessibility issues. The proposed development includes 23 new parking spaces.

“It’s a little bit concerning for people that are disabled,” Nattaq said.

“There will be more vehicles parked there, although there are already many at this time.”

Coun. Kim Smith, who chairs the development committee, responded briefly by reminding residents that they can actually park on the front side of the Frobisher Inn building and enter the post office through the hotel entrance.

That would reduce some of the congestion that often occurs in the back, where the post office is located.

Mayor Solomon Awa moved a motion to send the proposed development back to city staff for further review because of the number of issues that were raised.

Coun. Kyle Sheppard immediately shared his disagreement with Awa’s motion.

“I don’t see any issues raised that would justify us delaying moving forward with this project,” Sheppard said.

“I’m a little bit baffled by the suggestion to delay this.”

Awa’s motion was defeated, with only him, Nattaq and Flaherty voting in favour, and the other five committee members voting against.

Sheppard then made a motion to back approval of the development permit, with the traffic study condition attached.

That motion passed, with all members voting in favour, except Awa, Nattaq and Flaherty.

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(20) Comments:

  1. Posted by Erratum the Second on

    Here I am, the pot speaking to the kettle making my own spelling errors… Did the councillor talk about the area being digested or congested? Editorial error somewhere.

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    • Posted by Food Processor on

      Councilor Flaherty said “digested” a few times. Yes, we’re sure he ment “congested”.

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      • Posted by Still Though… on

        Technically still an editorial error, it should read:
        .
        “This area is really busy and digested [sic],” Coun. Harry Flaherty said.

        • Posted by alex on

          Traditionally [sic] is when quoting written statements that may have grammar or misleading spelling. sic stands for sic erat scriptum, “thus was it written,” so it is not quite accurate to use it in a verbal quote, as it was not written as digested, but spoken. I don’t believe this is an editorial error

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          • Posted by Nice Try, Nunatsiaq on

            The English usage means, “intentionally so written”. It may derive from that Latin phrase, but in English it is used to indicate to the reader that it is not an error of writing, but that it was transcribed as it was found in the original source. In this case, the original source being Councillor Flaherty’s mouth. If not using [sic], then an alternative would be to write,
            .
            “This area is really busy and [congested],” Coun. Harry Flaherty said.
            .
            Either way, it is an editorial error.

          • Posted by Late Latin on

            Perhaps sic can also be interpreted as sic erat verbum…

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  2. Posted by iqalummiut on

    yay, more 3000 dollar units with 900$ parking spots, cant have visitors because the wanna be cops at canaps will constantly put letters on visitors vehicles threatening to tow,

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  3. Posted by Meri on

    Thanks to Awa, Nattaq, and Flaherty for taking the lack of parking and accessibility seriously. 32 two-bedrooms with only 23 parking spots is going to greatly exacerbate the current issue at the back of Astro Hill. It has improved somewhat with the new signs but it is still chaos at certain times of the day.

    I do wish more people would access the Post Office through the front like Smith suggested but drivers in Iqaluit love parking in fire lanes and other non-parking spots to save themselves 30 seconds extra of walking.

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    • Posted by Iqalummiuq on

      Guess by-law can now have a new spot to ticket people for their monthly stats!

  4. Posted by northerner on

    “Coun. Kim Smith, who chairs the development committee, responded briefly by reminding residents that they can actually park on the front side of the Frobisher Inn building and enter the post office through the hotel entrance.”

    Except this parking is for the hotel. Post office parking is at the back. Typical of development in Iqaluit to not factor in proper parking.

    Not even remotely concerned that Coun Flaherty said “digested” instead of congested. Moot point.

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    • Posted by Meri on

      I have been told by Astrohill staff and security a few times that the public may park there to access the post office and other businesses in complex.

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    • Posted by info on

      The parking signs say for patrons of Astro hill complex. anyone using the theater, storehouse, frob, hotel, post office, etc. can park out front.

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  5. Posted by Meri on

    One bedrooms in the 8 Storey (one of Nunastar’s oldest buildings) can be $3600+ now. I imagine the base rate for 2 bedrooms will be over $4000/month now.

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    • Posted by Homo Economicus on

      Yes, because when you increase the supply you also increase the price… (???)

      something, something… gentrification!

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      • Posted by Thanks for ECON 101 on

        You’re oversimplifying supply and demand, assuming an increase in supply means a decrease in price, ceteris paribus. However, the demand is inelastic when you have demand that far exceeds supply, and your main consumer is the government whose tenders create market price. The price will not decrease, and could potentially increase as suppliers push to the limit. That being said, it’s not a valid argument against developing more housing.

  6. Posted by John WP Murphy on

    And there goes the view of the bay from the 8 storey. Will the renters in the 8 storey get a reduced rent now?

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  7. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Abutting two high rise buildings will create a nasty dead space between them. The space will never see the sun and will become a wind tunnel where snow and garbage will accumulate. Clearly no one who considered this proposal has even the slightest grounding in urban planning because this type of development hasn’t been done in decades.

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    • Posted by Succotash on

      Looks like a 4 storey to me. And if anything it will be below the eight storey – or off to the side. Hard to say exactly where it’s supposed to go, but I don’t see how it would create a tunnel.

  8. Posted by Iqalummiuq on

    Homeless person- I need housing
    Northern guy – we don’t want to create a wind tunnel. Pua

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