For heritage, Kitikmeot training centres, no dough equals no go
GN looks at a public-private partnerships to pay for projects
Two major projects, discussed and promoted by Nunavut officials for years, are nowhere to be found in the Government of Nunavut’s capital plans for 2013-17: a heritage and performing arts centre for Iqaluit and a mine training centre for Cambridge Bay.
If there’s any hope of moving ahead with these projects, Nunavut ministers say that will come from P3 deals — partnerships between government and private businesses.
Committee of the whole members said they had “continuously supported the need for a Nunavut Heritage Centre which would allow for the repatriation of cultural and historical artifacts which are currently been stored, under contract, outside of the territory” during their Oct. 26 session at the Nunavut legislature.
But the heritage centre was missing from the GN’s current five-year capital plan, they noted.
Over the past two fiscal years, $7 million had twice been approved for the Nunavut Heritage Centre project, only to be repeatedly transferred or removed from the budget of the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, Nattilik MLA Jeannie Ugyuk said during the discussion of capital requests made by that department.
“This project no longer appears on the department’s five-year capital plan. Substantiation sheets previously provided to the committee by the department indicated that the Nunavut Heritage Centre will ‘play a key role in supporting Nunavut’s arts and culture sector.’ Members continue to support the idea of combining the Nunavut Heritage Centre with a performing arts centre and encourage the minister to consider options that will allow for economies of scale and permit the project to continue,” said Ugyuk, who chairs the Committee of the Whole.
Amittuq MLA Louis Tapardjuk, who is the committee’s deputy chair, also spoke out in favour of the heritage centre plan.
“This heritage centre was going to be built in Iqaluit, and also to be utilized by the arts sector. That way we would be promoting the Inuit culture and language. As you are probably all aware, we are deteriorating that sector, and we also have to send out our artifacts to other museums. There is the matter of repatriating those items. They have to be brought back. They have to be repatriated because they are owned by Nunavut,” he said. “I am disappointed that those millions of dollars were used for other purposes.”
The proposal for the 6,700-square-metre heritage centre called for exhibit and archive spaces, studios and an auditorium.
Arcticle 33 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement states “there is an urgent need to establish facilities in the Nunavut Settlement Area for the conservation and management of a representative portion of the archaeological record,” but, so far, GN has never had the money to build such a facility.
James Arreak, the minister responsible for CLEY, said the heritage centre is still “something that we look forward to seeing.”
Arreak said the GN is looking at building the centre as a P3 project.
The P3s offer cash-strapped governments, like the GN, leasing agreements with private developers as an alternative to traditional, capital-intensive methods of constructing public buildings.
Arreak said the construction of a new legislative assembly building also remains in limbo.
As for the artifacts from Nunavut awaiting repatriation from Yellowknife, the GN hopes they can remain in the Northwest Territories beyond March 2012, when the agreement between the two territories expires, Arreak said.
The mine training centre project for Cambridge Bay’s Nunavut Arctic College campus was also not included in the college’s five-year capital plan, even though it had been included in previous capital plans.
“Standing committee members encourage the minister to bring this project forward and explore the potential for partnerships with mining companies and other partners, as the mining industry has significant potential to provide jobs and income to Nunavummiut with the appropriate training,” Ugyuk told Daniel Shewchuk, who is the Nunavut minister responsible for NAC.