Harper delivers good news for Nunavut’s CHARS
$188 million is earmarked for the Canadian High Arctic Research Station and its science and technology program
In Cambridge Bay on Aug. 23, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the news that people in the Nunavut community of 1,500 had been waiting for: the federal government plans to spend $188 million on the future Canadian High Arctic Research Station and its science and technology program.
This includes $142.4 million over the next six years on the construction, equipment and start-up costs for the CHARS, which is set to open in 2017, and $46.2 million over the next six years on its science and technology research program.
Harper also announced the winning bidder for the design of the station: two Montreal-based architectural firms — NFOE et associés architectes and Fournier, Gersovitz, Moss, Drolet et associés, which has designed air terminals in Iqaluit, Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq as well as the recently-opened community science centre in Kuujjuaraapik.
The roughly 8,500 square-metre station will incorporate laboratory space, offices, workshops, accommodations, dining and food preparation facilities, and a recreation area. Its design will include the use of green technologies.
“The North is a fundamental part of Canada’s heritage, future and identity, and we must continue to assert our sovereignty over Canada’s Arctic,” Harper said. “This new station will undertake science and technology research that will support the responsible development of Canada’s North, inform environmental stewardship, and enhance the quality of life of Northerners and all Canadians.”
The science and technology program at CHARS will focus on priorities identified as part of Canada’s Northern Strategy and foster sound “social, economic and environmental stewardship of the Arctic through traditional and solutions-driven initiatives,” an Aug. 23 news release said.
A science and technology team set five major priorities for new the facility where researchers from Canada and around the world will work on developing new science and technology — such as an Arctic-adapted autonomous submersible vehicle to explore underwater.
At CHARS, they’ll also study resource development, monitor changes in the climate and look at human health in the Arctic, with a focus on mental health and food security.
Between 35 and 50 seasonal, part-time and full-time staff will be employed at the station, starting in 2017.