What will Iqaluit’s revamped water system look like? City polls residents on key questions
Issues like water pipe routes, which neighbours will convert to piped water, size of reservoir all remain undecided
Iqaluit’s new water reservoir will be located next to its current one, Lake Geraldine. But how big it will be is still up in the air.
That question was one of several presented to residents Wednesday at the first of two public consultation sessions to look at how the city plans to spend more than $200 million in federal funding to upgrade its water infrastructure.
A few dozen people filtered in and out of Abe Okpik Hall, including MLAs Janet Pitsiulaaq Brewster and Adam Arreak Lightstone, over the course of the two-hour event. The second session is planned for Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Elders Qammaq.
Under its plan, the city will supplement its freshwater supply from Unnamed Lake.
Whether all the new pipelines will be above or below ground, how much existing infrastructure will be replaced, the pipelines’ routes and if parts of the city currently receiving trucked water will be physically connected to the water system through a water main, are part of this week’s consultation.
“Our consultants heard [Wednesday] night from several residents on trucked water who expressed their preference to stay on trucked water,” said city spokesperson Kent Driscoll in an email.
“We are listening.”
Mayor Solomon Awa said the goal of the public consultation is to give residents the chance to come out and say what’s on their mind when it comes to the city’s water supply.
Big changes need to happen, considering Iqaluit’s growing population.
“Right now, we’re a population of over 8,000 residents,” Awa told Nunatsiaq News. “Within 50 years, maybe we’ll have 20,000 residents.”
He said trail users can also give their thoughts on the proposed water pipeline routes, adding not many people tend to travel close to Lake Geraldine.
“The challenge is to take things in the right direction,” Awa said.
“We’re getting some information and feedback from the public so we can better prepare for the construction.”
The project’s timeline is also undecided, although the city is hoping it is complete within the next five years. When construction can start for the first component — reservoir and water intake — will depend on how quickly the city can get its licences and permits in place.
“We are hoping to submit our licence application to Nunavut Water Board in June 2024,” Driscoll said, adding processing the application is expected to take about one year from the time of submission.
“At this moment, my best guess for tendering the construction work for reservoir and intake would be July 2025.”
Driscoll said the management consultant for this project — Colliers — has been on board since the end of 2022. A design consultant is expected to be hired next month.