Would $40 million debenture be money well spent?
"The current request... would not have a universal benefit"
The very first and successful debenture ever used in Iqaluit was to provide money for a road-paving program.
The territorial government in Yellowknife insisted that the ratepayers of Iqaluit make a contribution for their roads and Yellowknife was not prepared to spring for the whole deal.
I had visited Greenland many times and was struck by the high standards in those communities for their roads, ditches for run-off, and docks.
I suggested to my Iqaluit council that we should pave the roads here. “Are you crazy?” was a common response. So was “you can’t pave roads in the Arctic” and “it’s impossible” and so on.
Fortunately, good sense prevailed and sufficient support for the debenture won the day. There was just enough money, $850,000, which enabled us to take advantage of the work being done by a contractor who was in Iqaluit doing airstrip re-surfacing.
We could afford to pave some roads, such as the road to the old Ukkivik residence, the Ring Road, and Apex Hill up to the bridge. Eventually the naysayers did come around to see the benefits and much less dust.
That was a long time ago. That debenture made sense. It would benefit the whole community.
The current request for $40 million would not have a universal benefit. That kind of money, if it were available, could resolve some of the major issues affecting Iqaluit, benefiting everyone.
The roads speak for themselves. A dock would reduce food costs and speed up unloading. A dock would enable our fishing fleet to unload their catch here. That would provide the airlines with backhaul cargo, which could go a long way to reduce the high cost of freight.
The current dump is a major ecological disaster brought about by a do-gooder who convinced the council to cease burning trash but offered not alternatives. Run-off ditches, which roads survive on, are constantly washed away through lack of proper ditching.
And $40 million would build 150 new homes. As it is, most of the recreation department budget goes to the upkeep of the hockey rinks. A golf driving range would cost peanuts, as would a ski tow, a tennis court, a volleyball court, and a bike racing facility.
What about a graveyard?
During the 1970s, a school teacher in Inuvik developed a cross-country ski program that produced the Firth twins, local girls from Aklavik who became world champions. Has anyone from the North participated in any Olympics since?
Many of these kinds of facilities would go a long way towards enhancing life in our remote northern city, and, who knows? There may be an Olympic champion out there.
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