Ottawa opens design competition for Nunavut’s CHARS
"This is a major milestone for construction of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station"
The $81-million Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay has moved one step closer to being built, with Ottawa’s Sept. 25 announcement that a Request for Proposals for the design of the new facility has been published.
The RFP comes 13 months after Prime Minister Stephen Harper, stuck in Churchill, Man. because of weather, made the announcement there that Cambridge Bay was the winner in the three-year long sweepstakes for the right to become home to the new Canadian High Arctic research station, dubbed CHARS.
“Our government is moving forward on the design and construction of CHARS. Once operational this station will lead on Arctic science within the international scientific community,” Leona Aglukkaq, Nunavut’s MP, said in the release.
The release promised the competition to select the winning RFP for CHARS “will be open and fair and consist of two stages.”
The first stage will evaluate the proponents’ professional experience and expertise in consultancy work for “complex, high profile projects,” such as CHARS, it said.
The second stage will involve the evaluation of the approaches for the design of CHARS.
To ensure socioeconomic benefits in the North, CHARS procurement will respect relevant articles of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, it said.
During the design phase, bidding firms that include “Nunavut representation,” such as Inuit employment, offices and facilities located in Nunavut, or that provide on-the-job training and skills development for Inuit, will have their price proposal adjusted downwards for bid evaluation purposes.
“This creates a significant incentive for bidding firms to ensure their proposals generate economic benefits to Nunavut,” the release said.
The final selection of the design consultant and the awarding of a contract should be in place for the summer of 2012. According to the project schedule, designer will deliver a final design for the facility, estimated between 6,500 square metres and 8,500 sq. m in the summer of 2014.
The design of the CHARS will incorporate laboratory space, offices, workshops, accommodations, dining and food preparation facilities, and a recreation area.
The design will also include the use of green technologies, “create a welcoming environment that acknowledges Aboriginal peoples’ knowledge and experience in the North,” and support partnerships between western science and traditional knowledge.
CHARS, is set to open during the fall of 2017.
“This is a major milestone for construction of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station,” John Duncan, aboriginal affairs and northern development minister, said in the release. “This facility will advance Arctic scientific research, support positive economic development in Canada’s North and contribute to strong and healthy communities in the North.”
Cambridge Bay, whose population is expected to boom soon as the construction of CHARS starts, needs about $100 million to cover new infrastructure, hamlet officials say.
These needs include road-paving, more fire-fighting equipment, a new municipal garage and an expanded airport. As well, a new dock to accommodate the growing number of vessels, small and large, which sail through the Northwest Passage every summer, is on the hamlet’s wish-list.