Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut June 27, 2016 - 4:00 pm

Preliminary surveys for Iqaluit port set to begin this fall

Nunavut Impact Review Board screening geotechnical work

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
Work is scheduled to begin this fall to collect geotechnical and environmental baseline data to prepare for the proposed port project planned for South Polaris, near Iqaluit’s causeway. The study areas are outlined in red. (IMAGE COURTESY OF ADVISIAN)
Work is scheduled to begin this fall to collect geotechnical and environmental baseline data to prepare for the proposed port project planned for South Polaris, near Iqaluit’s causeway. The study areas are outlined in red. (IMAGE COURTESY OF ADVISIAN)

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has begun screening preliminary work that will take Iqaluit’s deep water port project one step closer to reality.

The much-anticipated port is expected to include a vessel docking face with an additional sealift barge landing, plus a laydown area for the sealift.

But specialists must complete preliminary studies first, even before an environmental assessment of the project can be done.

Work is scheduled to begin this fall to collect geotechnical and environmental baseline data to prepare for the proposed port project planned for South Polaris, near Iqaluit’s causeway.

The scope of the project, lead by southern consulting firm Advisian, includes drilling, foot surveys and the collection of water and sediment samples, both before and after freeze up.

Crews will also survey with an underwater camera to identify the presence of fish species and habitat, along with on-ground ecosystem mapping to survey soil, plant and bird life along the shoreline.

A proposal letter addressed to the NIRB, dated June 24, suggests up to 100 litres of diesel fuel will be used to operate a drilling rig, along with some hazardous materials and chemicals for sampling preservation.

The majority of the preliminary work is scheduled to occur this fall with some carry over to the spring of 2017.

Nunavummiut have until July 4 to comment on the project at http://www.nirb.ca.

This past January, Nunavut finally got confirmation of $63.7 million in federal funding towards the long-awaited port project in the territorial capital.

In March, Nunavut’s legislature approved $5 million towards the port project, the same amount the territorial government is expected to re-approve over the next four years of the project’s development.

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.

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 improve boat access at low-tide, install floating docks and improve parking for users.

The project is expected to be completed by 2020.

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