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Site chosen for research station
New federally-funded science centre will be located on the plateau in Cambridge Bay

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, March 04, 2013

The location of the future Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) in Cambridge Bay has been chosen.

The year-round, multi-disciplinary facility will be built on a site referred to as the Plateau, on the road to Mount Pelly, announced Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister Bernard Valcourt on Feb. 27. Three other sites were considered - two locations on Airport Road and one location on Water Lake Road.

"With the selection of the Plateau site as the location for CHARS, we are one step closer to building this major center for scientific research and to building important partnerships across the North, Canada and internationally," stated Valcourt.

The site was chosen following consultations with Cambridge Bay residents, including elders and hamlet staff, as well as Public Works and Government Services Canada. Access to infrastructure resources, opportunities for future expansion and community integration were some of the criteria used to determine the site, stated the department.

Federal officials worked very closely with the community and took the recommendations/suggestions very seriously, said Jim MacEachern, economic development officer and hamlet representative on the CHARS committee.

The community is pleased with the site and is excited to see the process move forward, he added.

"It's raised a little bit so they'll have some good sight lines and some good views," explained MacEachern. "It's close to the ocean, so they'll have access there to do any kind of marine research they're interested in. And there's also a river that runs down close to the site, so it's kind of an ideal location for them."

Now that the site is selected, the design process can start, he added.

Two Montreal-based firms - Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet and Associates as well as NFOE et associes architectes - operating as a joint venture will design and supervise the construction of the multi-disciplinary facility.

Ottawa will pay $142.4 million over six years, beginning in 2012, for the construction of the research station and to buy the equipment it needs. An additional yearly investment of $26.5 million, as of 2018-19, has been earmarked to operate the station and its programs.

The station will operate a new science and technology program, employing between 35 to 50 seasonal part-time and full-time staff, when it opens in 2017.

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