New cemetery gets council’s approval


Faced with a nearly full cemetery, Iqaluit council is poised to approve the construction of new burial grounds in the West 40 industrial area.

Brad Sokach, Iqaluit’s director of engineering and planning, recently told council that the formerly approved site on the Road to Nowhere is too expensive to maintain year-round.

Sokach added that pressing ahead with the Road to Nowhere project risks closing the cemetery part of the year.

Sokach said the West 40 site, located near the tank farm along a runway built by the American Air Force, will cost about $350,000 to build, compared to the $500,000 price tag on the other site.

But councillors challenged Sokach’s estimates, and asked to have more thorough estimates made on how much gravel will be required to cover the West 40 site in order to stabilize swampy areas. The fill will also raise the level of the land high enough so bodies can be buried.

Chief Administrative Officer Ian Fremantle told council that a new cemetery has to be built immediately because the old site has run out of room. He told councillors at the April 27 engineering and planning committee meeting that a local resident who regularly requests burial permits has made this point in a colorful way.

“I’ve had threats from this individual that I could have coffins outside my office door if we don’t do something,” he said.

Councillors expect to hear from Iqaluit church groups at their next meeting before approving the West 40 cemetery site, expected to last 20 years after being built this summer.

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