No one from the public attends Aqsarniit hotel's liquor license hearing

Nunavut's liquor and cannabis board held a public hearing last night seeking feedback on the Aqsarniit hotel and conference centre's application for two liquor licences. 

One licence would cover the restaurant which is expected to seat 80 people and the conference centre, when needed for events. 

The other is for a cocktail lounge seating around 180 people, though Sheldon Nimchuk, who's managing the hotel construction says "cocktail lounge" is a liquor board term not necessarily an indication of what will be on the drinks menu. 

"At this time, certainly anything that you would find available in Iqaluit would be available.

"How the managers and the bartenders and everybody develop and put their own flavour to the customer service — we don't want to prejudge what that would evolve to," Nimchuk said. 

Public hearing draws no attendees

The public hearing was held at the Catholic parish hall, but not a single member of the public attended. 

Nimchuk, who's the director of project development and partnerships with the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, said he wasn't expecting many attendees.

"We were expecting, because ... the hotel had been out in the public for quite some time, we would not get too many people feeling that they would have objections," Nimchuk said. 

He said Iqaluit residents would understand that a hotel needs a bar to cater to tourists, business travellers and the city in general.  

In his presentation, Nimchuk said the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation fulfilled its duty per the liquor board requirements to inform the public of the meeting. 

Notices were posted in Nunavut News on Dec. 9 and Dec. 23 and in the Facebook group Iqaluit Public Service Announcements on those same days. Paper notices were posted in the Elders' Qammaq, on boards in the two main grocery stores — Arctic and Northmart — and the post office. 

After he presented, the board was given an opportunity to ask questions and the whole meeting wrapped up within about 10 minutes. 

Travis Burke/CBC

The hotel's architecture and design will reflect Inuit culture and the staff will have an emphasis on service, Nimchuk said. 

He said construction on the hotel is near complete and as it wraps, the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation is beginning to staff the hotel. 

The board will consider the application this week during its board meeting which runs until Thursday, explained Terry Dobbi, the he Iqaluit chair of the liquor and cannabis board

Final approval on the licences will come after the health and fire marshal inspections give the hotel the all-clear. The fire marshal will also approve the final seating numbers for the two establishments. 

The hotel will have 94 hotel rooms, including 12 suites, and Nimchuk says he expects it to open between mid-April and mid-May.