Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit August 25, 2016 - 7:00 am

Iqaluit council ponders import fee on new vehicles

Imposition of levy on imported vehicles would require changes to territorial legislation

STEVE DUCHARME
A wrecked Mazda sits near the Iqaluit beach. Iqaluit City Council wants to impose an import fee on new vehicles to defray the cost of end-of-life vehicle disposal, but to do that, they need the Nunavut legislature to amend the territory's legislation. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
A wrecked Mazda sits near the Iqaluit beach. Iqaluit City Council wants to impose an import fee on new vehicles to defray the cost of end-of-life vehicle disposal, but to do that, they need the Nunavut legislature to amend the territory's legislation. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

The City of Iqaluit says it will work with the Government of Nunavut to implement a front-end import levy aimed at paying for the disposal of end-of-life vehicles, following a resolution passed by Iqaluit City Council Aug. 23.

Described by councillors as a long-standing issue for Iqaluit, the city is struggling to keep up with the cost of disposing of old vehicles.

Right now the city charges a $200 “car-tipping” fee, but is proposing to increase that to $1,000 within its Consolidated Fees Bylaw, which they expect to pass in the near future.

At least 167 discarded vehicles currently in the city’s possession will be shipped out at the end of the year, following a recently awarded contract to liquidate the city’s temporary scrap metal landfill.

But according to Iqaluit Mayor Madeleine Redfern, as many as 400 abandoned vehicles are still inside the city’s jurisdiction.

Several councillors have said the proposed fee-hike could deter car owners who want to lawfully surrender their vehicles at the landfill.

Redfern acknowledged council’s motion as a step in the right direction.

But she said any change in how Nunavut, or Iqaluit, disposes of large items will have to be authorized to changes in territorial legislation.

“The whole issue about levying an import fee is something that requires the territorial government to amend their legislation,” Redfern said, adding that recent meetings between city staff and the Department of Community and Government Services extended beyond vehicle disposal.

“We spoke to the need for possibly levying some sort of fee, as imposed in other jurisdictions, for appliances and tires [as well],” Redfern said.

“Right now, those fees are levied in [other] jurisdictions and shipped up. Those disposal fees have actually been charged to the customer, but in that jurisdiction, yet we are faced with the actual disposal of those items. None of that disposal money is given to us.”

Council’s resolution for the import levy followed a defeated motion by Coun. Terry Dobbin that would have created a limited-time $100 car disposal fee extending to the end of September.

The proposed $100 fee did not include the costs of properly draining the vehicle of toxic contaminants, or towing the vehicle to the landfill.

Deputy Mayor Romeyn Stevenson acknowledged Dobbin’s motion would allow the city’s garages to cheaply dispose of vehicles stockpiles — since they could prepare the cars at their own cost — but provided no incentive for individual Iqalungmiut to bring in old cars.

Stevenson said the city’s current $200 tipping fee includes draining and preparation and would therefore be cheaper than Dobbin’s proposed fee.

Councillors will vote on the proposed Consolidated Fee Bylaw at their next council meeting scheduled for Sept. 13.

Due to strong opposition against the new $1,000 car-tipping fee — six dollars below the estimated cost for disposal provided by the city’s public works department— it is unclear whether some councillors will ultimately move to lower that charge before the bylaw is passed.

But according to statistics provided to council by the mayor, the city is incurring large deficits for every old vehicle brought into the landfill for disposal.

Redfern said the 167 cars now in Iqaluit’s landfill will cost $167,000 for processing, but the city only collected about $33,400 from the vehicle owners.

Since the municipal election last October, city administration tightened its belt in efforts to curb an estimated $8.5 million dollar deficit inherited from the previous council under the former Iqaluit mayor, Mary Wilman.

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