Iqaluit approves plan to borrow $5-million for housing expansion

Local population projected to grow by another 1,500 people over the next two years


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — The Town of Iqaluit is one step closer to borrowing $5 million to develop a new residential subdivision it says is sorely needed.

Last week, Iqaluit Town Council approved a plan to borrow $5 million from the Nunavut government to build a new 82-lot subdivision.

The loan still has to be approved by Nunavut’s Department of Community Government, but the Town has already started to spend its own money on the project.

Last Friday, Council approved a motion to borrow $812,000 from its own equipment-reserve fund to purchase 16 access vaults to provide sewage and water to the new development.

There is currently $871,836 in the equipment reserve fund.

Can’t wait for loan

Money for the development was supposed to come from the debenture. But Town staff told council they can’t wait to order the vaults until after the debenture has been approved. Staff told council it needed to authorize the purchase immediately for the subdivision to go ahead this year.

Depending upon how quickly the Town’s debenture application is approved, staff said they may not have to use the reserve funds. But they needed the approval before giving the contractor the go ahead.

“We may find that we do not spend any of this money, that we have the loan debenture in place before we have to pay any of the bills,” said Matthew Hough, development officer for Iqaluit.

Town council approved the dip on the condition the money be returned to the reserve fund once the debenture comes in.

Hough said he believes the debenture is justified and will be approved. If it’s not approved, the Town can approach a private financial institution for a loan.

The Town currently holds a number of outstanding debentures worth $4.78 million.

To get another debenture, Town staff must now convince the Nunavut government a new housing subdivision is necessary.

Town staff say Iqaluit’s projected population growth makes new housing development essential.

New jobs fuel growth

To prove their point, staff point to Footprints 2. That documents projects the influx of 164 new Nunavut government employees into Iqaluit over the next two years. For each new government employee, the local population is expected to increase by an average of 6.4 persons.

The federal government is also expected to add another 80 new jobs to Iqaluit over the next two years. That means Iqaluit’s population should increase by 1,562 people during the next two years due to new government jobs alone.

To accommodate that population spike, Town staff estimate Iqaluit will need an extra 369 housing units between now and 2001. But right now, Iqaluit has no vacant lots, according to staff figures.

The 82-lot subdivision will be located along the Road to Nowhere. It will consist of 69 single-family residential lots, 12 multi-family lots and one commercial lot, for a total of up to 132 units.

The Town has hired Rankin Inlet-based Kudlik Construction to develop the subdivision.

The lots may go up for lease as early as November. Each residential lot is expected to cost about $45,000 for a 30-year lease.

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