Iqaluit’s West 40 freeze may scuttle NCC warehouse


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — An attempt to keep Iqaluit’s only territorial park beautiful may scuttle Nunavut Construction Corp.’s plans for a warehouse.

A motion passed earlier this month by Iqaluit town council asks the Nunavut Transportation Department to stop leasing airport lands along Iqaluit’s West 40 Road. Town Coun. Matthew Spence proposed the motion, saying he wants to protect the area surrounding Sylvia Grinnell Park.

It’s not proper to have industrial buildings at the entrance of the park, Spence said. He said he wants to stop more construction until the Town comes up with a development plan for the area.

On the same day that council passed the motion, NCC filed a development permit with the Town’s administration to build the warehouse.

NCC President Tagak Curley arrived at a town committee meeting last week expecting council to rule on his development permit. Council didn’t and Curley is now waiting to find out if he can build.

“I’m not sure they have the authority to make the retroactive freeze on the land without amending the bylaw,” Curley said.

Curley argues that because NCC’s project falls within the Town’s zoning bylaw, NCC project should be given the go-ahead.

If council wants to stop development along the West 40, it should overhaul its zoning bylaw and have public consultation, Curley said.

“A zoning bylaw change normally goes through first , second, reading and committee hearings,” he said.

The NCC received permission to lease the lands from the airport in June, and Curley said he did not know council was considering such a proposal.

Spence asked Transportation Minister Jack Anawak to consider putting a freeze on new leases at a special town council meeting on July 12. The next day, council then passed a motion formalizing the request, and placing a freeze on new development permits.

NCC wants to build a warehouse 160 feet long by 80 feet wide. The building will house NCC materials, Curley said.

“We have no fenced, secure facility with all our containers. They’ve been scattered all across town, which is really not safe. We need one central location,” Curley said.

NCC has already ordered its building supplies and hopes to have the new warehouse constructed by October.

Curley said Iqaluit already has access to acres of park land and he said he doesn’t understand why the Town would consider such a freeze right in the middle of a boom period.

The motion is now being studied by Town lawyers, said Iqaluit’s acting senior administrative officer Paul Fraser.

The motion says the administration will no longer issue development permits for the area within the West 40, but that does not mean NCC’s application has no chance of being approved, Fraser said.

Buildings the size of the NCC warehouse do not need full council approval. Development permits are issued by the administration.

Iqaluit’s project co-ordinator, Matthew Hough, said he will consider the application once the Town has received legal advice.

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