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Emily Ridlington Northern News Services Published Monday, January 24, 2011
NANISIVIK - Construction on the navy's re-fuelling depot on the same property as the old Nanisivik mine will be delayed until 2013 because the project is still in the design phase.
"People are interested in knowing what's going on," said Arctic Bay mayor Niore Iqalukjuak.
The navy refuelling station for the Canadian Forces and Coast Guard ships operating in the High Arctic was supposed to open in 2015 but that date will probably also be pushed back as well.
Located just off the Northwest Passage, ships will be able to refuel and maintain a presence in the Arctic doing sovereignty patrols according to Jeannine Leclair, project director for the Nanisivik Naval Facility.
Leclair said she anticipates the design and construction drawings for the facility will be done in April. The plans will then have to be approved by the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat which she said is hoped to be done in June 2012.
The 80-acre (32 hectare) property was home to a lead-zinc mine and a company town from 1975 to 2002. Half of the property is the waterfront.
Already on the property are a wharf or deep water jetty, tank farm and buildings.
The wharf will be redone. It was originally built by Public Works and Government Services Canada.
"It is over 40 years old and in need of repair," Leclair said.
After several studies, she said the plan is to raise the height of the wharf, driving piles deeper than the existing ones and enclosing it.
The fuel tanks still belong to the mining company, and a plan to clean up the site has been approved by the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.
This process, Leclair said, was supposed to start in 2010 but was delayed due to late delivery of equipment. The decontamination of the site should now begin this summer.
The shore support buildings will be designed for 15 people and include offices, accommodations, a kitchen, small lounge and first aid room.
The estimated budget for the project, in 2009, was $100 million. It has now risen to $175 million plus $12 million for the design.
She said they are looking at alternative sources of power such as wind and solar during the design process.
The site will mostly see activity during the shipping season from June to September.
"You may have an exercise like Operation Nanook but we don't see a big amount of activity in the area," said Leclair.
Officials with the project are scheduled to be in Arctic Bay on Feb. 1 to meet with business owners, service providers and those with skills in certain domains which could be used during construction, operation and or maintenance of the facility.
Iqalukjuak said he is looking forward to seeing the plans and learning how Inuit and Inuit-owned businesses could benefit.
Leclair said once the design is finalized, they will have a better idea of what is required in terms of skills but that Inuit will be involved.
"We are very conscious of that and it is very important," she said.
One concern Iqalukjuak has that has also been expressed to him by residents is that staff at the station will fill up the seats on scheduled flights leaving from the new Arctic Bay airport.
"When they are going to be having exercises or need to do crew changes, we're kind of scared once they start doing that they will fill up the planes," he said