The City of Iqaluit and Nunastar Properties Inc. have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together and help resolve historical lot encroachment by the city on lots leased to Nunastar.

In November of last year, Nunastar presented a proposal to the city to help cap city costs for the realignment of a section of Palaugaa Drive, which stretches from the Aquatic Centre down to Queen Elizabeth Way.

Previously the city’s position was not in support of road realignment due to the costs it would entail for the City. With this MOU, Nunastar would be the one to undertake the road realignment to create a proper road right-of-way up to municipal standards.

“The city’s contribution will be capped at $500,000 for the land acquisition and road construction works,” said Michelle Armstrong, a consultant planner with the City. The City will also be responsible for the legal survey to dedicate Lot 21 as a road parcel as part of this new road realignment.

The realignment will help remove public encroachment on lots leased to Nunastar.

Without this, the estimated cost to undertake this work would be approximately $975,000, this deal helps mitigate risk for the city.

“We have been working with the city over 12 years on these issues and finally there are practical solutions being proposed which will enable all stakeholders to move forward,” said Ed Romanski, president of Nunastar Properties.

“The City’s cost and risk exposure is limited,” said Romanski.

The lots which are encroached on specifically are 9-1, 92 and 192, Nunastar wishes to redevelop two of those lots with 120-unit residential apartment buildings, the current name for this project is Sky.

“This is the only known example of a public road that passes through a leased lot without a surveyed road allowance so there really hasn’t been any previous experience to draw upon to resolve this issue,” said Armstrong. The MOU will help move this issue forward, she added.

Councillor Romeyn Stevenson, said it’s important to undertake work such as this in order to help grow Iqaluit.

“We need to continue to find these problems and resolve them as quickly as possible. Especially where they effect leasees and where they effect development is important,” said Stevenson.

Iqaluit mayor Kenny Bell praised Nunastar for working with the City on resolving these issues, saying it’s a “great deal for the City and a great deal for Nunastar.”

“It’s a long-time coming, as we can see yes we’re spending $500,000 to fix the situation but if we had to remove that road it would have cost a lot more and we will be receiving a lot more intact revenue from the two properties that we’ve built on that location,” said Bell.

Nunastar plans to further develop Astro Hill with additional residential projects currently planned such as Sky, Pinnacle and Lookout. Work is also currently being done on another project, Gate. Additional commercial space is also being planned for the area.

If completed these will result in 250 new units in downtown Iqaluit.

“The result in the end will be more residential unit and commercial development in our community,” said Romanski. “We will continue to be a make developer in Iqaluit.”

“We’re happy, you’re happy, everybody’s happy,” said councillor Joanasie Akumalik.

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