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Iqaluit restaurant and pub running out of time
Judge rules lease ends on Aug. 31 for Waters' Edge and Kickin' Caribou

John McFadden
Northern News Services
Saturday, July 22, 2017

The days are now numbered for the Waters' Edge Seafood and Steakhouse and the Kickin' Caribou Pub in the Hotel Arctic.

NNSL photograph

Water's Edge Seafood and Steakhouse and Kickin' Caribou pub co-owners Donna Waters (standing) and her sister Kim are being forced out of the Hotel Arctic. In a civil trial, a judge ruled they did not have an enforceable oral agreement with the hotel's owners to renew their lease for another five years. Their lease ends on Aug. 31. - NNSL file photo

Nunavut judge Paul Bychok ruled in civil court that the restaurant's owners' lease with the hotel's owners - Northview Apartment REIT will expire on Aug. 31.

The restaurant owners - Kim and Donna Waters - sued Northview on June 2, claiming they made an oral agreement in late 2013 to renew the lease for a further five-year term. They sought an injunction from the court claiming they had the right to continue their business for another five years.

According to court documents, Northview filed a notice of motion on June 20, stating the claim should be dismissed because the Waters did not have a case. They denied that an enforceable oral agreement was ever entered into.

Court documents also revealed that Northview is selling the hotel to an unidentified third party.

"(Northview) is obliged to give vacant possession of the hotel to the purchaser by July 28, 2017. It is also obliged to give vacant possession of the restaurant space by July 28, 2017," states the court document.

The case was heard over five days in late June and early July.

Court heard that the Waters wrote Northview in February of this year expressing interest in renewing the lease. That letter would prove to be crucial in the judge's decision.

"I can draw only one rational inference from this letter," wrote Bychok in his decision. "The plaintiffs did not believe they had an enforceable right to renew the lease. They did not assert an enforceable right to renew it. They expressed their interest to negotiate a lease renewal, in other words, a new lease. It is disingenuous for the (Waters) now to assert an enforceable right to renew."

The restaurant has operated at the site since 2007. It is not clear whether the owners intend to relocate the establishment once the lease is up.

Nunavut News/North reached out to the Waters sisters for comment, but had not heard back as of press time.

Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern said she has no idea who has bought the hotel nor what their plans for it are.

She added that with proposed developments planned there may be an opportunity for the restaurant and pub to relocate.

"There are a limited number of restaurants and bars in Iqaluit but the more options that are available to our residents - it's good to have choices - it's good to have competition," Redfern said. "There have been a number of new restaurants that have opened in the past few years. Any food business in any city. it's very much driven by the market place - what you have to offer, the location of the venue, the feel of the venue. Our goal is to help . facilitate new businesses or the expansion of businesses to offer our residents and our visitors more options."

Redfern said that she is concerned if there are plans for the hotel to close. She pointed out that the city's hotel beds are fully booked at least twice a year - for the Nunavut Mining Symposium and the Nunavut Trade Show. She said she remains optimistic that new hotels will open or existing ones may expand in Iqaluit in the relatively near future.

Nunavut News/North also contacted Northview in an effort to find out who has bought the hotel and their plans for it. Calls has not been returned by press time.

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