The Government of Canada announced $214 million in funding Friday to address long-term water sustainability for Iqaluit.
The planned project will involve the excavation of a new water reservoir next to Lake Geraldine.
Mayor Kenny Bell said the initiative is going to take about four years to complete and it will be a staged approach.
“It’s obviously going to be a lot of work. This announcement is really going to put the city on the map,” he said.
Coun. Kyle Sheppard tweeted after the announcement: “This $214 million federal investment in Iqaluit water infrastructure is a world-changer for our city. This partnership will make a real difference in our lives and our economy.”
The funding, through the Disaster and Mitigation Adaptation Fund, comes in response to an application the City of Iqaluit made to Infrastructure Canada, which was then expedited by Ottawa.
“We actually turned it around in a relatively short amount of time. We work closely with territories, cities and Indigenous nations,” said Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal.
The new infrastructure will be designed to mitigate current and future impacts of climate change, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking virtually from the south.
“Clean drinking water has always been a top priority for us,” said Trudeau.
Vandal repeated that the federal government promised safe drinking water for Indigenous communities in 2015 and will continue to commit to that.
Premier P.J. Akeeagok said this project is a step in the right direction, however, there is more work to do.
“Nunavummiut have struggled to gain this basic right for far too long,” the premier said. “Improving water infrastructure will be essential for paving the way for more homes to address Nunavut’s growing housing gap.”
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated President Aluki Kotierk agreed that this is a good step towards reconciliation.
“We appreciate the great commitment that the federal government has made to the capital city of Nunavut. We know that water is vital to all of us around the world, to be able to live and have a good life,” said Kotierk. “I’m filled with great hope today and excited the City of Iqaluit has been provided the federal financial support.”