Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit October 10, 2012 - 5:33 am

Iqaluit renters sign petition in support of Oct. 15 aquatic centre referendum

"We feel we have not been adequately represented”

SAMANTHA DAWSON

Some Iqaluit renters have signed a petition in support of the upcoming aquatic centre referendum, city council heard Oct. 9.

Next week, Iqaluit ratepayers will vote yes or no to approve the borrowing of up to $40 million to pay for construction of a new aquatic centre in the vacant lot behind city hall. 

The centre would improve the lives of everyone, especially youth and kids, Andrew Maher, who put the citizen’s petition forward, told council.

“We feel we have not been adequately represented,” he said.

The 30 to 50 Iqaluit renters who signed the petition don’t feel that they have a say in the matter, he said.

The concerned renters would be willing to pay the amount equal to what ratepayers would pay if the referendum is successful, Maher said, adding that the petition shows that there is support and that renters want to be engaged in the process.

Maher said that so far, renters haven’t been as involved in community consultations.

Coun. Jimmy Kilabuk supported the idea of renters having more influence in the decision. A renter himself, “we need some sort of say in this referendum,” Kilabuk said.

Coun. Stephen Mansell agreed.

“They [the undersigned renters] feel their voice should be heard in this,” he said.

The Cities, Towns and Villages Act dictates the way the city must carry out the referendum, but Mansell said he encouraged renters to send the petition to local MLAs.

“There are people on both sides who are unhappy with how we are doing this,” he added.

Coun. Mat Knickelbein also said the CTV act is an “antiquated piece of legislation.” “We really do have our hands tied,” he said.

But “it’s quite obvious how as a community we’re all going to have our thumbs in this pie,” Knickelbein said.

Landlords will pass any increases in costs onto renters, Knicklebein added.

However, he said renters have been involved in public consultations for the past three years.

“Everybody in this community has had the opportunity to be engaged, that’s how we’ve come to the vision we have.”

Maher, who brought a letter along with the citizen’s petition to council, said everyone who signed the petition read the letter.

“People are aware that it’s not the city’s decision,” he said.

The purpose of the petition is to show support to renters because there are a lot of renters out there who aren’t able to vote who want to support it [the aquatic centre referendum], Maher said.
Even if the undersigned renters don’t have a voice in the vote, they are on board, he said.

In order for the referendum to proceed, a borrowing bylaw had to go through first and second reading during the Oct. 9 meeting.

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