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Nanisivik Naval Facility opening delayed to 2016
Start of construction still planned for 2013

Emily Ridlington
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, March 17, 2011

NANISIVIK - The opening date for the Nanisivik Naval Facility to be fully operational has now been pushed back until 2016, but this hasn't stopped project officials from keeping in contact with the community to keep them informed and involved on the progress.

NNSL photo/graphic

Community members talk to staff with the Nanisivik Naval Facility at a consultation in Arctic Bay on Feb. 22. From left, talking about the plans are Jeannine Leclair, project director, and seated is Diane Pinto, consultant - photo courtesy of the Nanisivik Naval Facility

"We want to open up the doors to the community, show everyone what we've been working on and what our plans for the site are," said Rodney Watson, the project manager of the Nanisivik Naval Facility, after a visit to Arctic Bay Feb. 21-24.

This visit included an open house at the community centre on Feb. 22 and meetings on Feb. 23 all in relation to the navy's construction of a refuelling depot at the former Nanisivik mine site.

Located just off the Northwest Passage, Canadian Forces and coast guard ships doing sovereignty patrols will use the facility.

In January, it was announced construction will be delayed until 2013 with the opening being in 2015. Now, the start date for construction remains the same but the site is not expected to officially open until 2016.

Watson said members from the project team try and go to the community at least every six to eight months to provide an update on the project. Until now, the meetings have been mostly with the mayor and council so this was the first time designs for the site had been shared with the public.

"I think they had some productive meetings with the hamlet and were able to show the community what is coming down the road," said Clare Kines, the hamlet's economic development officer.

The site will include a new tank farm, a shore support building with living and working arrangements for 15 people as well as a wharf.

The tank farm will consist of five tanks to be solely used for navy distillate fuel and will hold 3.75 million litres each. There will be other tanks for waste water and for diesel.

Watson said the existing tanks on site are in poor condition.

The next step in the project is in the spring and summer when some marine geotechnical work will be done. This involves getting a drill to go through the ice before it melts and getting samples from below the sea bed. The equipment is already on site.

Watson said they might need to send divers to look at the existing wharf.

In January the cost of the project was pegged at $175 million plus $12 million for the design of the facility.

In January Arctic Bay mayor Niore Iqalukjuak told Nunavut News/North residents were concerned that, once the site was open, staff working at the station would take up seats on scheduled flights which are usually full.

"Workers during the construction phase would probably come to the site via charter," Watson said.

He said the same would probably be the case once the facility opens as they would not want to take seats on planes designated for community members.

The territorial government stopped maintaining the 25-kilometre road from Arctic Bay to Nanisivik after the Nanisivik Airport closed on Jan. 12.

Watson said they would like to see the road re-opened during construction and operations.

"The community wants to keep the road and we will need the road so we've all got to work together," he said.

One option for the Department of National Defence is to pay for the maintenance. Watson said he is not sure how much that would cost but the GN, in January, said the road cost about $600,000 a year to maintain with most of the money being spent on snow removal.

Residents also wanted to know what jobs would be available to them during the construction phrase.

Watson said they are working on an Inuit participation plan.

Kines said the community will need to know what kind of workers are needed to ensure they can be ready.

"Capacity is always something we need as a community and we always need to build toward it," he said.

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