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Journey to highlight climate change
Four-man crew rowing non-stop on Mackenzie River en route to Northwest Passage

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, July 11, 2013

These guys are on a climate change awareness mission.

NNSL photo/graphic

Denis Barnett, left, and Paul Gleeson of Ireland are part of a four-member team trying to row the Northwest Passage non-stop in a single season in a specially-designed boat. They began their 3,000-kilometre journey in Inuvik July 5. The team took up the project for the adventure and to highlight climate change in the Arctic, Gleeson said. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

Extensive renovations are underway at both the Fort Providence recreation centre and the swimming pool. The hamlet is spending $786,000 to correct problems caused by the pool's original inadequate ventilation system that allowed mould to grow in the building, said Susan Christie, the hamlet's senior administrative officer.

If renovations go as planned, the pool, which has been closed for two summers, will open as early as mid-July.

"We're pushing to open as soon as possible," said Kyle Humphreys, a project manager with Arktis Solutions Ltd., who is overseeing both projects.

The mould was cleaned up by a specialized company and all of the flooring and some of the wall components have been removed from the pool and are being rebuilt. The new flooring will be water tight and will prevent the leaks that contributed to the mould, Humphreys said.

The ventilation system is being upgraded with new fans and ductwork, the mechanical systems are also being upgraded and the washrooms and change rooms are being rebuilt.

The pool is an essential recreation service the hamlet provides and both the hamlet council and Christie have been working diligently to reopen the facility, said Fort Providence Mayor Tina Gargan.

"It's a priority for all of us," she said.

The hamlet is also spending $1,612,634 on upgrades and repairs to the recreation centre, a building that is 30 years old. The hamlet received $1,144,866 toward the project from the federal Building Canada Fund.

Phase one, which costs $435,000, was completed this past fall. It included installing new insulation around the base of the community hall to prevent the ground from freezing directly next to it and applying pressure on it. The metal siding on the hall was also replaced.

This summer, the remainder of the building is being addressed in phase two at a cost of $1,177,634. The phase has three main goals, the first being upgrading insulation to prevent heat from escaping the fitness room causing the ice to melt in the arena. This work should lengthen the hockey season, said Humphreys.

The roof over the curling rink and the fitness room is also being replaced and leaks in the roof over the arena and community hall are also being addressed. The third goal is to prepare the curling rink so it can be converted into a more usable space such as new change rooms or extra seating space for the arena. This involves upgrading the insulation because the rink was originally designed to be a cold space, said Humphreys.

As part of a separate project, the cost of pouring a concrete slab in the arena is also being examined.

Increasing energy efficiency in the building is a major part of all of the upgrades, he said. The hamlet has expanded on this by also installing solar panels on the recreation centre's roof.

The 15-kilowatt system, which was installed in the spring, should be operational by mid-July. Two-thirds of the panels are creating electricity for the arena and the remainder are creating electricity for the pool.

The panels are expected to create approximately 16 per cent of the energy used in the arena in the summer months, leading to savings of $4,000 to 5,000 annually, said Humphreys. The savings at the pool haven't been calculated. Because the pool only operates for three months of the year, the electricity created by the panels during the remainder of the year will be put onto the community's power grid creating a credit on the hamlet's electricity bills, he said.

The solar panel project costs $90,000. The federal Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada contributed $37,845 and the territorial Department of Environment and Natural Resources contributed $38,962. The hamlet is covering the remainder of the cost.

The system could be expanded in the future and may inspire other installations in the community, said Humphreys.

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