Iqaluit planning committee gives nod to recovery centre

Iqaluit city councillors gave their blessing to grant a development permit for the Nunavut Recovery Centre Tuesday evening at a meeting of the city’s planning and development committee.

The next step will be for council to approve or reject the committee’s recommendation.

Councillors voted unanimously at the committee meeting to recommend the city issue a development permit for the two-storey, 3,140-square-metre building.

The Government of Nunavut wants to build the recovery centre to house its future addictions and trauma treatment facility on the Road to Nowhere, north of Toonik Pond.

Deputy Mayor Kyle Sheppard and councillors Romeyn Stevenson and Simon Nattaq all spoke about the importance of making sure the nearby snowmobile trail is not blocked during construction.

“There is a critically important snowmobile trail in this area. As this area gets developed, we’re going to have to take into consideration the route of that trail,” Sheppard said.

The Nunavut Recovery Centre will be opened near Toonik Pond. (Screenshot courtesy of the City of Iqaluit)

He asked that a special condition be added to the development permit stating the contractor will not block the snowmobile trail, which city consultant Samantha Toffolo said could happen.

“When a large piece of vacant land like this is going to see a large development … the storage of equipment and materials tends to expand exponentially outside of that construction [area],” Sheppard said.

Stevenson said he wants the city to add the snowmobile trail, which runs through the lot where the recovery centre is proposed to be built, to the site drawings and include it in future development maps.

“There will be some day, probably, when it’s going to be far more difficult to exit this community with a snowmobile,” Stevenson said. “Hunters and recreational users alike use this spot, so I think it would be good to formalize it.”

The recovery centre will have 24 beds, 52 employees, a daycare, outpatient treatment, a sewing room and skinning room, outdoor seating, a smoking shelter and storage seacans, according to city documents.

The Government of Nunavut, which is overseeing the project, is going to pay for a road and utilidor extension to the lot located behind Toonik Pond, just off of Niaqunngusiariaq Road, also known as the road to Apex.

David Venn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News