Inuvik residents fear proposed housing corp. duplexes will drop their property values

The N.W.T. Housing Corporation wants to build duplexes for RCMP on Inuvik's Carmichael Drive, but residents in the area fear the project could bring down the value of their homes.

Kevin Campbell moved into the house he's living in now about five years ago. He says he has a view of the entire delta from his property.

"It's like living in the country," he said about why he loves it there. "It's so quiet up here."

Campbell isn't concerned the proposed project will threaten the quiet, but he isn't looking forward to the aesthetic change it could bring. So he and others from the street attended a town council meeting Monday to express their concerns.

"Duplexes will take away from all of our homes on Carmichael east and west," he said.

"They take up a lot of real estate."

Mackenzie Scott/CBC

The N.W.T. Housing Corporation needs permission from the Town of Inuvik to build the housing, because the duplexes are considered "conditional use" for zoning in that neighbourhood.

The Carmichael neighborhood currently consists solely of single-family homes.

All of the residents at the meeting made it clear they have no issue with the RCMP, and they would be fine with them living there in standalone units that would fit better into the neighbourhood.

"There's no doubt in my mind [that] all of the beautiful homes up here, if they go to sale … the price of their house will go down," said Campbell.

Former Mayor Jim McDonald attended the meeting as well. He said not only does Inuvik not need any more duplexes, but scooping up town land for government housing will reduce the amount of land that can be developed.

"There are people who want to build homes," he said.

Mackenzie Scott/CBC

Randy Cleveland, acting director of infrastructure services for the housing corporation, said he isn't surprised by the public's strong reaction.

"It's a nice neighborhood, which is part of the attraction," he said.

"The longer you can retain an officer, the better, and what's going to do that just like everyone else is you want to be in the best neighbourhood you could possibly find."

Cleveland added his team isn't married to the idea of modular housing — something residents also took issue with — but the housing corporation wants to complete the project by April 2021, so it's working within a limited timeframe.

Many people at the meeting also asked Cleveland if he would consider building the units on a piece of land referred to as the Blueberry Patch instead. That parcel is owned by the N.W.T. government.

Cleveland pointed out that land is next to buildings that "need to be destroyed in order to make it a safe neighbourhood," so it would take a larger investment.

Town council will vote on the decision Wednesday night.

Mayor Natasha Kulikowski said residents are welcome to express their opinions and ask questions.