MLAs approve spending for parking garages, recovery centre and water plant repairs
Three bills pass in Nunavut’s legislative assembly, 1 debt-related bill defeated
Nunavut’s MLAs passed three budget-related bills on Monday, including one that approves $204 million for projects including a new parking garage program and repairs to Kugluktuk’s water plant.
Bill 2, the Appropriation (Capital) Act, gives Community and Government Services, the Nunavut Housing Corporation and Health the biggest portions of capital spending for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which begins April 1. The projects the money will be used for were discussed during committee of the whole meetings during the legislature’s winter sitting, over the past two weeks.
Community and Government Services has access to $58 million, $10.5 million of which will go towards planning a new lagoon for Arviat’s wastewater treatment plant, replacing pipes at Baker Lake’s water treatment plant, repairs at the water plant in Kugluktuk and replacing parts of Rankin Inlet’s Utilidor system, which provides piped water in the hamlet.
CGS Minister David Joanasie also pitched new projects, including a municipal parking garage program that will allow communities to plan, design and build their own garages to keep municipal vehicles.
When Arviat South MLA Joe Savikataaq asked Joanasie about the logistics behind the program and whether the funding would be first come, first serve, he said the first step would be to gauge hamlets’ interest in taking part.
Money will also be put towards continuing the design process for a fibre optic project that would connect Iqaluit to southern Canada, with construction set to start in 2023-24.
The Nunavut Housing Corporation got access to nearly $51.5 million, which will include the construction of 52 new public housing units.
Housing corporation minister Lorne Kusugak explained $7 million is set to go towards removing mould from homes and $4 million is slated to repair fire damage.
For the Health Department, an additional $26 million was allocated to four projects, including an addictions recovery centre for Nunavut, which is currently in the design phase with construction set to start next summer.
Money is also earmarked for the territory’s first new long-term care facility.
Health Minister John Main said extra funds were needed to continue the two-year construction phase of the centre in Rankin Inlet, where elders are expected to start taking up beds in the winter of 2024.
Bill 1 and Bill 3 also received assent from Nunavut Commissioner Eva Arreak on Monday. They are additions to the Nunavut government’s budget for operations and maintenance.
Bill 4, The Write-Off of Assets and Debts Act, is the only bill MLAs didn’t pass in the winter sitting that began two weeks ago. This act proposed lessening the value of GN assets by $843,000 on paper.
Finance Minister Adam Lightstone explained the total includes Nunavut Housing Corporation assets that have lowered in value by about $323,000, with eight housing units being damaged by mould and fire, and one being completely destroyed by a fire in Cambridge Bay.
Nunavut Arctic College has also written off about $114,000 in debt the now-defunct Kivalliq Mine Training Society owed it, meaning it no longer expects to collect that money.
As well, the GN’s stock of fuel has also lost about $400,000 in value.
When members voted against the bill, which Lightstone said is a routine adjustment he plans to bring forward in the assembly on a yearly basis, he voiced frustration that previous finance minister George Hickes — now a regular MLA — didn’t bring this type of bill forward before the fall election.
“Well, what can I say,” Lightstone said in his closing remarks, “I guess I will have to reintroduce this through a new bill.”
No money put towards Inuktut language learning?
How much do you think you should be paid to teach your language to your children?
Can someone please tell me what the parking garages program is? That’s a lot of money.
these adjustments in the write off of assets has always been put forward albeit all at once, apparently Adam was not aware of that,