Rate payers in Iqaluit voted in favour of allowing the city to borrow up to $40 million to build an aquatic centre.

Monday night, 400 homeowners and landlords voted in a referendum that was tied to the municipal election. The ‘yes’ side won by just 56 votes.

The project will move forward – but at least one northern architect says it can be done for a lot less than $40 million.

Wayne Guy is with Guy Architects with offices in Yellowknife and Iqaluit. His firm designed a similar aquatic facility in Inuvik, N.W.T., which was completed in 2004.

"We integrated three new change rooms, a hot tub, a lazy river. We had a 40-metre water slide, along with two squash courts, a weight room and steam and sauna area, and we did that all for $8 million, which is why when I see the proposed project at $40 million I think that's exorbitant," he said.

Guy says his firm bid to do the preliminary feasibility study for the Iqaluit pool.

FSC, now owned by Stantec, is the firm which has done most of the work on the project.

Guy says the city should consider all of its options before breaking ground.

The city's Mayor-elect John Graham said he will respect the ratepayers' decision.

"But one thing I’ll be quite clear about is we’re not going to spend $40 million on a swimming pool," he added.