Arctic Canada’s city votes to temporarily stop people from building cabins on its land

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. It’s just simply to regulate it going forward.”Iqaluit Counselor Kyle Sheppard

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. [And a] better application or approval process, because right now it’s very wide open within city limits.” Joanasie Akumalik, Chair of the planning and development committee
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. Or cabins aren’t being built on top of cabins in places where they really shouldn’t be built in the first place.” Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell, speaking in the meeting

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.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s Green Party leadership candidates debate food security and the North’s economy, CBC News

Finland: Finnish gov agrees to formation of Sámi Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Yle News

Norway: The Arctic railway – Building a future or destroying a culture?, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Sami in Sweden start work on structure of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Eye on the Arctic

United States: Alaska reckons with missing data on murdered Indigenous women, Alaska Public Media

Jackie McKay, CBC News

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