Federal Liberal government confirms funding for Iqaluit deepwater port
GN finalizing $63 million agreement with Ottawa
The project has been decades in the making, but the Government of Nunavut says it’s finally secured the federal money needed to build a deep water port in Iqaluit.
In July 2015, the federal Conservative government announced $63.7 million towards a long-awaited deep water port in Iqaluit as part its election campaign.
When a new Liberal government was elected last October, the project’s future became uncertain.
But no longer: Jim Stevens, the assistant deputy minister of Nunavut’s department of Economic Development and Transportation said the Liberal government has come through with the money needed to move forward with the project.
“We have confirmed that the funding that was committed by the previous government, the $63.7 million, is still intact,” Stevens said, “and we are in the process of finalizing a funding agreement with Canada at this time.”
With that in place, Iqalungmiut can look forward to new marine infrastructure as soon as 2020, he said.
That federal funding would amount to $63.7 million of a project estimated to cost roughly $84 million overall, with the GN picking up the remaining $21 million.
The one condition that remains is the legislative assembly’s approval of that spending, which makes up about a quarter of the project cost.
That will be brought forward at the winter sitting of the legislature, which begins in late February, when MLAs will be asked to vote on a supplementary appropriation bill, Stevens said.
The main element of the new infrastructure is a deep water port planned for South Polaris — an area past Iqaluit’s causeway, close to the intake area where fuel is offloaded.
The port will include a single vessel docking face, with an additional sealift barge landing, plus a laydown area for the sealift.
A second component of the project includes an overhaul of Iqaluit’s existing small craft facility at the breakwater. Crews will excavate the area to create better boat access at low-tide, install floating docks and improve parking for users.
Some of the work was outlined in a 2005 report called Strategic Plan for the Iqaluit Deepwater Port project, prepared for the City of Iqaluit.
“This proposal and work has been done over a number of decades,” Stevens said. “So we have referred to past work and used it where appropriate.”
Once Nunavut’s portion of the port funding is approved, the project will still be subject to environmental studies and regulatory approvals.
Stevens said Iqalungmiut can expect to see community consultations held later this winter or early spring, before a final design is prepared.
“We see this taking a total of four years,” he said, adding construction should begin by the summer of 2016.
“I think the department is happy that we’ve received federal funding to move this project forward,” Stevens said.
“We see this benefiting all Nunavummiut.”