North

Who pays for cost of growth? Iqaluit mayor says 'we're in trouble'

The City of Iqaluit is looking at charging a development fee that would help offset the costs on public services like water pipes, the sewer systems, and roads.

City may start charging 'development fee' to offset costs of water pipes, sewer systems, roads

The City of Iqaluit is concerned about increasing maintenance costs for city services like roads, water pipes, and the sewer system. (Angela Hill/CBC News)
The City of Iqaluit is looking at charging a fee on new development projects, to help offset the costs of public services like water pipes, the sewer system, and roads.

Madeleine Redfern, mayor of Iqaluit, said it's too late to levy a fee on projects that have already been approved, but there is still about $1 billion of investment planned in the city, including a deep sea port and small craft harbour.

She says that new development will strain the city's resources. 

"The city doesn't have a single penny to really effectively address the effects and impacts of municipal infrastructure," Redfern said.

"We're in trouble. That's the reality."

Redfern used the upcoming lighting replacement project for the local airport as an example of increased stresses on infrastructure by new developments. She said to build the breakwater for the project, 90 dump trucks a day will travel on Federal Road for a total of six months, over a two year period.

"On an infrastructure that's already not in good shape," she added.

The city is solely responsible for the upkeep of the road. 

"I think council recognizes that we need to get ahead of this, that we need to be way more proactive," Redfern said.​

"I think this is a priority."

Development fees are common

Development charges are used in many southern municipalities, said David Amborski, director of the Centre for Urban Research and Land Development at Ryerson University.

"It's hard to fund the infrastructure for new growth, so you want growth to pay for growth," Amborski said.​

"You put a charge in place to defray the cost of growth-related infrastructure."

Iqaluit city council has directed administration to provide information on the creation of the bylaw.

In the meantime, the city has let both the territorial and federal governments know the challenges it is facing with the increased pressure on services.

Redfern said council will ask for municipal infrastructure assessments on new projects.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story referred to dump trucks that will use the Federal Road for two six month periods. In fact, it will be a total of six months over a two-year period.
    Jun 01, 2017 3:58 PM CT

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