Iqalummiut get a break on November water bills

Council votes in favour of providing full rebate to residents affected by water emergency

Iqalummiut will receive a 100 per cent rebate on their November water bill. (File photo)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Iqalummiut will not have to pay their water bills for the month of November as city councillors voted in favour of providing a 100 per cent rebate due to the water emergency.

The move will cost the City of Iqaluit approximately $1.7 million, money council hopes the Government of Nunavut will cover.

The Government of Nunavut had imposed a do-not-consume water advisory from Oct. 12 to Dec. 10 due to fuel contamination in the city’s water supply.

“It’s the city’s responsibility to give this benefit to the citizens,” Coun. John Fawcett, who made the motion to provide a full rebate, said during Tuesday evening’s council meeting.

This is the second month in a row councillors decided the city should incur the cost of water use among residents. But this time, it came with a little bit of pushback from one councillor.

Coun. Kyle Sheppard tried to amend Fawcett’s motion so that the city would cover only 50 per cent of residents’ water bills for November.

He said he appreciates the impact the water emergency had on residents, but that the city has to have money in order to maintain current water operations, such as sewage, and to partner with the federal and territorial governments for other projects.

As well, the last time the city’s water supply tested positive for fuel was on Oct. 23.

“The fact of the matter is the city was producing good water,” Sheppard said. “Limits imposed on our ability to consume that water were out of our control.”

Sheppard said residents used about the same amount of water as usual over the month of November.

Fawcett disagreed with Sheppard’s suggestion, and Sheppard voted against providing a full rebate.

Coun. Sheila Flaherty said she wants to discuss providing a rebate that covers up until Dec. 10, when the government lifted the do-not-consume advisory.

That couldn’t be done in the same motion, Mayor Kenny Bell said.

The mayor noted that the water emergency began on Oct. 12 but the city gave residents a break on water bills for the full month of October.

During Tuesday’s meeting, councillors also voted in favour of applying for $1.67 million from the Nunavut government’s Municipal Request for Assistance Program to cover the costs that arose in November because of the water emergency.

The estimated cost of running the city’s water system is $965,677 a month, which is based on a six-month average, said Iqaluit’s senior director of corporate services, Alison Drummond.

Iqaluit council had previously asked the Nunavut government for $1.5 million to help it cover water emergency-related costs it incurred in October.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by The move-away councillor on

    Will the outgoing councillor be assisting council from Newfoundland to find ways to recover the costs of these waived fees?

    The fact that someone with one foot out the door proposed such a big motion and doesn’t have tondeal with the consequences pisses me off. Should have resigned the day he said he was leaving.

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    • Posted by Leave it to Beaver on

      Did you read the article? The city is going to apply to the GN to cover these related costs. You should be happy your “move-away councilor” is trying to get the residents of the 24 other communities to contribute to the shortcomings of Iqaluit. Those 24 other communities already get shafted by the GN staff in Iqaluit, might as well get shafted by the city, too.

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      • Posted by Clarity on

        Not sute what your point is? We should be happy that our council is trying to take GN money away from other communities?

        Regardless, we’re probably lucky that councilors like him are leaving. Anyone who’s dealt with him knows he’s more of a talker than a thinker. You can be sure he was patting himself after this motion passed, congratulating himself on a job well done.

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        • Posted by Leave it to Beaver on

          My point is that the original poster is upset thinking that the City of Iqaluit will have to recover these costs through tax increases to residents in the future, that the outgoing councilor will not have to pay for, when it’s the GN that will be the ones ponying up the dough, leaving less for the other communities.

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  2. Posted by Council for Big Business on

    Why does the council give Nunastar a tax break? Council Sheppard wanted to charge regular citizens for this boondoggle but is ok giving big companies a break! This needs to stop! Tax the Rich Alberta Based Company!

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  3. Posted by still here on

    is this a way for the rest of us to go, ah its okay they have given us two free months of water, there should be no repercussions for the mayor or the cao? i hope not because there were failures here that could end up being very detrimental to peoples health years down the road, and these failures need to be addressed to the top of the people that are to be leading the city,

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  4. Posted by There was an Earthquake on the 2nd but it was an Emergency on the 12th on

    “The mayor noted that the water emergency began on Oct. 12 but the city gave residents a break on water bills for the full month of October.”
    .
    Hahahahahaha. Did the water emergency begin on October 12th, Kenny? Or did the emergency actually begin around October 2nd, when residents started complaining about a fuel smell in the water? It just took you 10 days to declare an emergency.

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