North

Iqaluit council votes to temporarily stop people from building cabins on its land

At a meeting Tuesday, council unanimously adopted a recommendation to stop all new cabins from going up on municipal land, while the city comes up with a plan to regulate it.

'This isn’t about stopping municipal use, it's about making sure that we do it properly,' says mayor

Cabins by the Sylvia Grinnell River in Iqaluit. The city is halting cabin building temporarily, while it comes up with a plan to regulate it. (Travis Burke/CBC)

Iqaluit city council will temporarily stop the building of all new cabins on municipal land. 

At a meeting Tuesday, council unanimously adopted a recommendation from the city's planning and development committee to stop all new cabins from going up while the city comes up with a plan on how to regulate them. 

"I don't believe the intention of this council is to end all cabin development on municipal land," said Coun. Kyle Sheppard, in the meeting. "It's just simply to regulate it going forward."

The recommendation came out of a committee meeting on July 21. Chair of the planning and development committee, Joanasie Akumalik, said there are currently no city rules specific to building cabins on municipal land. 

"There should be more control," he told CBC last week. "[And a] better application or approval process, because right now it's very wide open within city limits." 

People need a lease to build a cabin on municipal land, but the mayor says the city hasn't been enforcing that. (Travis Burke/CBC)

"This isn't about stopping municipal use, it's about making sure that we do it properly and that other people aren't being taken advantage of," said Mayor Kenny Bell, in the meeting.

"Or cabins aren't being built on top of cabins in places where they really shouldn't be built in the first place," he said. 

In an email to CBC, Bell said people aren't allowed to develop on municipal land without a lease, but the city hasn't been enforcing that rule.

City staff will now look at ways to regulate cabin building; they'll bring those options back to the planning and development committee, which will in turn present the options to council.

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association has an application process for beneficiaries to build on Inuit-owned land. While Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada has jurisdiction over Crown land. 

The next planning and development committee is scheduled for Aug. 18.

A map of the municipal land around Iqaluit. (City of Iqaluit )

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