NNSL Photo/Graphic


Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

New homes considered in Apex

Casey Lessard
Northern News Services
Published Monday, December 5, 2011

Facing growth in the capital, the City of Iqaluit's planning director was in Apex on Nov. 15 to explain the options for expanding the community.

The city has 11 lots available in Apex to convert from public to private property. Apex currently has 102 homes.

At most, the city sees the potential for a total of 72 new lots in Apex, including the 11 already zoned but in need of drainage; two lots that could be made available with a road realignment; 19 lots that require surveying; and 40 lots that require engineering to allow construction.

"This is the maximum we feel we can accommodate in Apex," Arif Sayani told the 30 residents gathered at the public meeting.

"Looking at the map, we have no problem with more development," as long as it does not involve multiplexes or apartment buildings, said Sytukie Joamie, a resident since 1960. "The only people who have said 'no' are the municipality."

That being so, if lots are made available in the community, Apex residents should be first priority in getting them, Joamie said.

"We certainly welcome other people if they want to live in Apex, but first crack should be given to those who live in Apex," he said.

After 2012, all growth within Iqaluit is going to be in the form of multiplex or apartment buildings, whereas Apex lots are earmarked almost exclusively for single and semi-detached homes. Two lots could be multiplexes, Sayani said, likely capped at four units each.

The prospect of growth made some residents uncomfortable because it would come at the expense of green space, much of which the city is considering making available for residential development.

"We've always wanted a green belt around the community, especially on the hillsides, which are a resource for residents," Anne Crawford said. "Why not think more broadly instead of just filling in the blanks where there are no houses?"

"You're taking 30 years of our dream of turning this into a version of Peggy's Cove (a small community in Nova Scotia) and throwing that out the window," said Peter Baril. "The bottom line is not just green space, but a whole other picture of what Apex should be."

Sayani suggested that part of all development is the requirement for improvements such as parks and playgrounds.

Meanwhile, some residents called for better recreation facilities, including a new community centre and an outdoor hockey rink.

"If we're going to have construction in the future, I support the construction of a new community hall," Joamie said. "Even though the population of Apex is small, we deserve a large hall."

"Youth shouldn't have to go to town all the time because the cost of taxis is too high," Alice Joamie said.

"We want recreation facilities now," not as development happens, Crawford said, noting the community size warrants more facilities. "We should have an open-air hockey rink."

There was some confusion about the meeting's focus on new housing in Apex, which one elder assumed meant old houses were being replaced. Martha Michael, who lived in a tent on the shore before there were homes in Apex and now lives in public housing, raised concerns that homes such as hers are not well-maintained.

"With all these houses, if they are maintained by the housing authority they will be neglected," Michael said.

Others expressed concern the proposed development is within the area of the former dump site at Tarr Inlet. According to territorial health rules, no homes can be built within a 450-metre radius of the site, even though almost half of the community's homes are within this radius already.

"It's a southern standard that doesn't apply here because there are no basements," Sayani said.

He said the Department of Health and Social Services told him Apex can request that the radius be reduced to 250-metres.

The plan is currently a projection of what is possible, Sayani reiterated, and the full development would take several years if city councillors decide it is warranted.

He said he will take the concerns of residents to council.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.