Iqaluit thrives as Arctic hub

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New economic development plan creates opportunities for businesses and residents

Canadian Design and Construction Report staff writer

Iqaluit, Nunavut largest city and Canada’s northernmost capital, offers exciting development and growth opportunities as business expands in Canada’s far north.

While the Baffin Island community is Canada’s smallest capital with a population of just about 7,000 people and can be reached only by air and summer sealift, its special status as the transportation, service and administrative hub for the eastern Arctic region provides rewarding and challenging opportunities for businesses and developers wishing to tackle frontier challenges, while creating opportunities for local Inuit residents.

Economic development officer Joamie Eegeesiak says a new economic development plan scheduled to be in place by 2013 will welcome more businesses and residents.

She says development in recent years has included a hospital and patient residence. New projects on the horizon feature a new city hall, swimming pool, fire hall and training centre.  As well, plans are in the works for a major $250 to $300 million airport redevelopment.

As the flight and transportation hub for much of the north, Eegeesiak says there is a lot of potential for business with small business and start-up opportunities for people who have been in the region for at least a year. “Most southern planes stop here either to drop off for people to continue their travel into outlying communities or for refuelling before they continue on,” she said. “We see cruise ships a few times a year and the Sealift Express comes in here early spring and summer.”

Additional work in the area includes a residential project just outside the city and new land development inside the city’s boundaries for new commercial developments.

The city’s general plan intends to maintain the core as an employment with a balance of offices, retail, commercial, institutional, residential opportunities and open space based on projections the population will grow to 10,000 by 2022. Road and traffic improvements, protection of significant land or spaces, a new governance structure and a waterfront strategy are among the components of the general plan which will factor into the region’s future economic development of the region.

As the capital and a key destination for the north, the city receives  attention from important visitors such as the Queen of England and Governor General of Canada and continues, in many ways, to be the face of the north.

www.city.iqaluit.nu.ca

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