Nunavut MLAs question housing funding allocation

Some MLAs are not happy with the way $100 million in federal funding for housing in Nunavut was spent, and the issue came up in the Legislative Assembly on Monday.
Minister Peter Taptuna and officials at the Nunavut Housing Corp. say the way housing money was distributed is fair. (CBC)

Housing was the topic of the day in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly on Monday.

This spring, the federal government announced $100-million to fund housing in the territory. Shortly after that, the Nunavut government decided how to disburse those funds and which communities would receive new units

But many MLAs still are not happy with the way the 210 units were distributed. Some of them brought up the issue in Committee of the Whole on Monday — an unusual step.

"We're trying to determine whether the formula that the Nunavut Housing Corporation came up with is a good one to keep following or are certain communities going to always not be getting allocated housing units," Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott said.

Minister Peter Taptuna and officials at the Nunavut Housing Corp. defended how the units were divided between communities. Taptuna said the system they used is fair.

"It's a mathematical formula where it's based on the number of units within the existing community and on the wait list," Taptuna said.

In the spring, Taptuna and NHC said some communities that met the criteria were ruled out because they couldn't handle any more infrastructure.

Cape Dorset is one of those communities, excluded because its power supply is tapped out.

But yesterday, South Baffin MLA Fred Schell says Cape Dorset can now handle more housing after the community received a new mobile power generator.

But Taptuna says Cape Dorset's needs aren't as great as the communities that received units.

The debate continues Tuesday.