When structural issues forced the closure of Iqaluit’s municipal pool, the city’s 7,740 residents were left without a central community space to get healthy, active and connect with each other. The City of Iqaluit envisioned a bigger and better replacement. Amy Elgersma, CAO of the City of Iqaluit tells the story of what could be a model for sustainable building practices for the city and other Northern communities.

In her presentation Ms. Elgersma discusses overcoming challenges of construction in Northern communities, including transportation, energy, historical contamination and permafrost.

Some highlights and results include:

Triple bottom line benefits: The centre created 38 jobs, and is expected to reduce Co2 emissions by 794 tonnes annually and  reduce water consumption by 30%, while also providing a location for community members to connect and improve their physical and mental health.

Stakeholders / Community engagement: The City of Iqaluit developed a need-based fund to ensure Inuit Children and their families can access all the benefits of the aquatic centre and its programs.  The Jimmy Kilabuk Childrens Recreation Fund is named after an elder, former councillor and mayor who passed away before he could see his dream of building the Aquatic Centre through to completion.

Capacity building: Over 2500 swim lessons have been taught through learn to swim programs and school swim programs which has resulted in the certification and subsequent hiring of local youth as lifeguards and swim instructors.

Financing: GMF opened the door to allow the City of Iqaluit to secure financing for its energy efficient Aquatic and Fitness Centre.

Critical partnerships: The City of Iqaluit and Qulliq Energy Corporation demonstrated a unique multi-level government partnership with its district heat agreement realize green-house gas emission reductions and cost-savings.  The success of the partnership led to a commitment to connect an additional three City of Iqaluit facilities to the District Heat System.


Amy Elgersma, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Iqaluit

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