Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit September 20, 2012 - 2:43 pm

Ottawa to give Nunavut up to $77.3 million for $300-million P3 airport at Iqaluit

"A milestone in Nunavut’s development"

JANE GEORGE
Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq announces that the Iqaluit International Airport improvement project can count on $77.3 million for the P3-funded project. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)
Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq announces that the Iqaluit International Airport improvement project can count on $77.3 million for the P3-funded project. (PHOTO BY JANE GEORGE)

In the waiting room of the Iqaluit airport, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq stood at a podium to deliver welcome news to an audience of MLAs, Nunavut government ministers, bureaucrats and air travellers: that the federal government will spend up to $77.3 million on a public-private partnership, or P3 deal, for a new Iqaluit airport.

It’s “a huge investment for Nunavut,” said Aglukkaq, who called the project “a milestone in Nunavut’s development.”

The $300 million project, which will be financed over 30 years, will pay for a new terminal building, expanded aprons for aircraft to park, new lighting systems, runway upgrades and a new combined services building that will house airport firefighting vehicles and heavy equipment. Construction is slated to start in 2014, with the new airport set to open by the end of 2017.

“As Nunavut continues to grow, the Iqaluit International Airport will play an important role in supporting our local economy, promoting trade and connecting us as a nation,” said Aglukkaq. “By investing in this project, the Government of Canada and Nunavut can leverage public funds with private sector support and expertise. This is a big gain for Nunavut’s transportation hub and especially for taxpayers.”

The $77.3 million comes through the P3 Canada Fund.

P3 projects “provide better value” for the government’s money Aglukkaq said.

The project will mean “significant” job creation, as well as training and economic development opportunities for Iqaluit and Nunavut.

“Infrastructure development, jobs and the building of Nunavut’s economy all go hand in hand,” said Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak.

Aariak said P3 projects are a way of crossing big ticket items off the GN’s list of costly infrastructure projects.

Nunavut’s economic development and transportation minister, Peter Taptuna, said “airports provide a vital transportation link in Nunavut as the only way to safely and reliably move people and goods year round between the south and the north and between our northern communities.”

The project will support the objectives of the Nunavummi Nangminiqaqtunik Ikajuuti contracting policy, he said.

The GN plans to select a private partner through a competitive selection process to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the facility for 30 years.

They’ll be paid by the GN through an arrangement that Taptuna likened to “paying off a mortage,” because at the end of the deal, the airport will become the property of the GN.

For the project, the GN is using the consulting firm Partnerships B.C., a British Columbia government agency that oversees major infrastructure projects, usually only in B.C.

The B.C. company has overseen 16 completed projects, from bridges to transportation systems, and has eight more projects under construction in B.C.

The request for qualifications phase for the Iqaluit airport project closed on Aug. 15.

Next month, a request for proposals is expected to be issued to the three most qualified proponents.

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