The bridge of contention
Kugaaruk still plagued by issue

Kerry McCluskey
Northern News Services

Pelly Bay ( Jun 12/00) - With the clock ticking, the hamlet of Kugaaruk (Pelly Bay) is still waiting for the green light from the cabinet for this summer's capital project.

Approval could come as early as the end of this week, when cabinet's retreat in Pond Inlet wraps up and the Kitikmeot community may get the go-ahead to move with their road and bridge-building plans.

Designed to connect the community with their new gravel site, the road will also be used by DND to clean up the abandoned DEW Line site located 20 kilometres outside of town.

Because the hamlet could save the military as much as $400,000 by building the road themselves, DND said they'd give that amount of money back to the hamlet if the road and bridge were completed by the end of this summer, thereby allowing the military to hire a contractor to start the remediation process next summer.

The GN, which funds the hamlet, said they couldn't afford to build the project in one year and asked DND if it could be stretched over two years.

After complicated negotiations and some confused finger-pointing, tentative approval for the two-year project was granted as long as the road and bridge were in place by July 31, 2001.

"If we can have assurance from the Government of Nunavut that DND won't suffer any losses and as long as they're finished next summer ... from that point of view we've accepted the schedule," said Tony Downs, the director general environment for DND.

"That's OK as long as the risk is minimal," said Downs.

The deputy minister for the Department of Community Government and Transportation said the new development was going to be brought to Minister Jack Anawak's attention late last week.

As long as Anawak is comfortable with the required guarantee and the new proposal, the matter will be brought forward to cabinet as soon as possible.

"This makes it a more feasible project to look at with phasing it over two years," said Ferris.

Quinn Taggart, Kugaaruk's senior administrative officer, said his concern still lay with the timing of cabinet's decision.

Because a tender call will have to go out quite soon if the winner is to be given enough time to order all of the supplies and have them in Montreal, packaged and ready for sealift by July 27, Taggart said he was worried the project still might be a bust.

"What about the barge? I hate to sound like a broken record, but the bridge is going to miss the barge," said Taggart.

"This has been a nightmare and it's extremely frustrating. I've been at this since November of 1999 and we're no further ahead than we were then," he said.