Funding for safety
Four Kivalliq airports receive federal dollars

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet ( May 24/00) - Four Kivalliq airports are about to benefit from $1,330,950 in federal funding.

Rankin Inlet, Whale Cove, Arviat and Coral Harbour will all have safety improvement projects done at their facilities under the Airports Capital Assistance program (ACAP).

The Rankin airport will have a runway sweeper ($213,000) and plow ($234,000) replaced.

Arviat will have a runway snowblower refurbished ($213,000), while Coral will receive a new runway plow ($234,000) and Whale will have a new airfield lighting system installed ($436,000).

Paul Guy is the manager of airport facilities for the Nunavut airports division of the Department of Community Government and Transportation.

He says the GNWT and the Nunavut Government only recently became eligible for the ACAP after years of work demonstrating territorial government eligibility.

To be eligible for the ACAP, an airport must receive regularly scheduled passenger service, meet airport certification requirements and not be owned by the federal government.

In order to receive funding, submitted projects must maintain or improve safety levels, protect airport assets or significantly reduce operating costs.

"This really came as a sort of windfall for us to improve the facilities in these four communities," says Guy.

"This will mean a significant improvement in the lighting system at the Whale Cove airport, especially from a reliability perspective.

"We're talking about replacing a 25-year-old system with one that's state of the art."

Guy says Nunavut airports are among the safest in the country because they provide such an essential service.

He says the biggest ongoing challenges in the Kivalliq are life-cycle issues with airport equipment and runway maintenance.

Gravel surfaces wear over time and Guy's department is constantly working to improve them.

"The Whale Cove resurfacing project is also going ahead.

"Their surface has deteriorated. It's not in unserviceable or unsafe condition, but it's time that it needs work done.

"You can only let them go so long or you end up having to do something drastic.

"In the Whale situation, it's timely to get that done now."