The City of Iqaluit announced July 20 it will go ahead with a new dump, the same day councillor Terry Dobbin tendered his resignation from council.
The city will receive $26.2 million from the federal government for the $35-million project to improve its solid waste management system. The city will provide $8.7 million. It’s unclear when the project will begin.
“The project includes the development of a new recycling and eco-centre, composting, and new methods of waste collection for residential, commercial and industrial waste. Funding will also be used for the construction of a road to the landfill and the decommissioning of the existing site,” according to the city’s news release.
Funds are from the 12-year, $180-billion Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan, delivered through a federal-territorial agreement.
The pace of development was too slow for Dobbin, who expressed frustration with a lack of progress.
“I find we’re always putting out fires. I just felt I had enough,” said Dobbin, who was first elected in 2012.
“The population is growing by a thousand people every year and we’re just not keeping up. We’re solely dependent on federal transfer payments, which is great … The city is doing well with the wastewater treatment plant and Federal Road (repaving). We’re not doing enough for self-sustainability,” he said.
“We don’t do enough to increase our local tax base. We’ve got a thriving business community in Iqaluit. There’s a massive, massive need for land. For housing, we need land privatization. There’s tonnes of land around, yet nothing really gets developed.”
He points to 24 lots being developed, but says there’s so much more demand.
“We should hand it over to private land developers, and try to solve the housing issues. And the city could collect the taxes from it. But the legislation is archaic. A bunch of different bylaws have to be changed,” he said.
His decision was triggered by ongoing delays for the Nunavut Brewery in getting permission to access water.
“They’ve been wanting to open up for the last three months and there’s a bylaw that’s holding them up, this water bylaw, Bylaw 200. That needs to be amended. They’re in the process, but how long will that take,” asked Dobbin.
“I was the one that wanted them (council) to maybe expedite it, draw up a service contract, and give them the water they needed until the bylaw was amended. But the other councillors didn’t really want to go for it. That bylaw should have been amended three, four years ago.”
The new proposed Water and Sewer Service Bylaw passed first reading July 10, but already appears to face a bumpy road as at least two issues continue to be up for debate: licensed service providers and the state of the city’s potable water source, Lake Geraldine.
“We’re just dealing with the same issues over and over again – infrastructure, the dump, the water issues. Nothing really changes. There’s the staff issues that we have. That’s a big problem. We don’t have a CAO (chief administrative officer), there’s no director of corporate affairs. I just feel bad for somebody having to deal with the City of Iqaluit because it’s just a massive revolving door,” said Dobbin.
“We’ve got a strategic plan and our priorities set but other issues keep popping up all the time. I think we need fresh blood in council. At the next election, I’d like to see a bunch of new councillors with some new ideas. Fresh ideas, fresh way of thinking.”
Dobbin’s term would have ended this coming October, but a Government of Nunavut legislative change realigned all municipal elections in the territory under Elections Nunavut. Instead, the city’s next election will be held in the fall of 2019.
Mayor Madeleine Redfern thanked Dobbin for his contributions in a news release.
The council will discuss the vacancy at a future council meeting, according to the release.