Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut May 17, 2018 - 1:30 pm

First Air, Nunavut community airports get Ottawa money for upgrades

First Air will get $12.7M towards a new cargo warehouse in Iqaluit, while $22.5M goes to terminal revamps in five Nunavut communities

The Kugluktuk airport is among five Nunavut airports slated for renovation and replacement with money from the National Transportation Corridors Fund. (FILE PHOTO)
The Kugluktuk airport is among five Nunavut airports slated for renovation and replacement with money from the National Transportation Corridors Fund. (FILE PHOTO)
Kimmirut's decrepit terminal features this cracked door frame with rusty hinges, beside an old heating vent that blows furnace fumes into the building. (FILE PHOTO)
Kimmirut's decrepit terminal features this cracked door frame with rusty hinges, beside an old heating vent that blows furnace fumes into the building. (FILE PHOTO)

(Updated at 2:25 p.m.)

Ottawa plans to spend roughly $35 million from its National Trade Corridors Fund on two projects to improve air cargo transportation and airport safety in Nunavut.

One will see a new cargo warehouse built for First Air in Iqaluit. The other will see aging airport terminals either upgraded or replaced in five Nunavut communities: Kugluktuk, Naujaat, Kimmirut, Whale Cove and Chesterfield Inlet.

Yvonne Jones, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs and MP for Labrador, made the funding announcement in Iqaluit on Wednesday, May 15, when she said that her government wanted to “ensure that Canada’s transportation networks remain competitive and efficient.”

The Makivik Corp.-owned First Air airline will get $12.7 million towards building an expanded cargo warehouse near the new Iqaluit airport. The new facility will be much larger and more energy efficient than its aging, nearly 70-year-old facility.

This project will make “a significant impact on the daily supply of goods year-round for northerners,” a release on the funding announcement said.

First Air says that it shipped 19.4 million kilograms of freight out of Ottawa to communities across the Arctic last year, including food, mail and medical supplies.

In applying for money for the fund, the airline said earlier this year that it expected its cargo demands to increase by over 28 per cent over the next five years.

The new warehouse will increase cargo capacity by 75 per cent for products needing refrigeration. That should reduce the amount of goods sent north that end up spoiled due to weather delays.

The construction of the warehouse, which First Air has pegged at about $18 million, will also create about 120 jobs.

In Ottawa, for a separate project, First Air has partnered with the Ottawa Airport Authority and Aeroterm—which manages Ottawa’s FedEx shipping operation—to apply for an $8 million grant to expand its warehousing and refrigeration capacity at that airport.

The outdated and undersized airport terminals in Kugluktuk, Naujaat, Kimmirut, Whale Cove and Chesterfield Inlet are also slated to be replaced or upgraded. The $22.5 million cost for those projects is expected to mean about 220 jobs during construction.

The inclusion of the Kimmirut airport in May 16 announcement means staff and passengers at its airport can now look forward to an end of its 40-year-old terminal’s problems, which range from mould to broken pipes.

The current terminal building sometimes fills up with furnace fumes and aircraft engine exhaust, an employee told Nunatsiaq News earlier this year.

The decision to put money into airport infrastructure follows a report tabled at the House of Commons last May, when the Auditor General of Canada slammed Transport Canada for failing to keep northern airports safe and efficient.

Nunavut alone would need $463 million, in 2014 dollars, to meet the infrastructure needs of its airports, including $76 million to relocate two airports, in Kimmirut and Pangnirtung, so they can meet Transport Canada safety regulations, that report said.

It also took note of the big problem in Pangnirtung, where one of Nunavut’s air carriers told them the runway is too short and limits the type of aircraft that can land there.

But Pangnirtung was not included in this week’s announcement, nor was the change of the airport location in Kimmirut.

Last month, proponents of the Grays Bay road and port project in western Nunavut learned that they would not benefit from the $400-million fund dedicated to the three northern territories over the next 11 years.


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(24) Comments:

#1. Posted by Better Idea on May 17, 2018

Close Whale Cove and Chester down, they are social and economic black holes. Spend the money on upgrades in the larger centres.

#2. Posted by Ms Trouble on May 17, 2018

I’m glad for the terminals to be upgraded.

Yvonne Jones, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs and MP for Labrador, made the funding announcement

Where’s Nunavut MP? Does he even go to meetings now? Labrador MP should take over Nunavut issues for now until next time.

#3. Posted by Keep going on May 17, 2018

Close Kimmirut, Hall Beach and Grise Fiord too while you are at it.

How does First Air get money from the Feds? Does the other airlines get the same treatment?

#4. Posted by @ #3 on May 17, 2018

From the CBC article on the same topic:

“The Inuit-owned airline’s application was among more than 300 the federal government received. A spokesperson for fellow Northern airline Canadian North confirmed to CBC News it did not submit an application for funding under the program.”

#5. Posted by Gone with the Wind on May 17, 2018

#1, #3,
What about the people who have good lives and purchased their own
homes ? Don’t they count as Canadians in the communities you have
If that is your way, move every down by Arviat, and rename it
Nunavut City. It could be serviced and supplied by rail and road.
Frankly I hope it never happens.

#6. Posted by Where are Infrastructure's for Small Remote Commun on May 17, 2018

This POOR consultation before NLCA was establish April 1, 1999 is a creation of social economic burden across this territory right under the nose of laid back bureaucrats, and DIO’s to directors… in reality during Land Claims negotiations before April 1st, 1999 was established ONLY to benefit three community’s, which were only on wish list to centralized government departments i.e. Rankin, Cambridge Bay, and Iqaluit; in reality these communities have not benefitted with economic prosperity due to arrogance.

Small communities are taking challenges while LAID back directors, DIO’s, government departments, and politicians are prospering make-ups! ha! ha! ha!

A lot more consultants hired to spend on Nunavut budgets; while papers just continue to collect dust to NO end results perhaps could of/should of benefited small remote communities! Posted #1 wake-up, and go get your tim Horton donuts/ coffee some more! or perhaps go sit laid back, and drink water at Legion! sound about right!?!

#7. Posted by Paul Murphy on May 18, 2018

Close down communities and move the people???
Didn’t we try that once before??  And look what that did.

So now we tell those that were moved once, they have to do it again??

I think not.

Better we take the population of Iqaluit and decentralize them to the smaller communities. The hamlets have better roads anyway.

See how that makes you feel.

#8. Posted by iRoll on May 18, 2018

#5 - In reality hundreds of small communities across Canada have been shuttered, and always for the same reason; they are economically unviable.

In most of our tiny communities the majority of economic activity is based government funding, government jobs and that’s about it. We have a false sense of what a normal, functional and healthy economy should look like, and so maybe these considerations escape us.

Outside of this little bubble, however, the closing of an unviable community is a norm, not an exception, and not some kind of human rights violation, as some of you self righteous bloviators would have us believe (#7).

#9. Posted by I live in the Arctic on May 18, 2018

We could all move to Arviat make it a small city with a highway/rail heading south eh?

#10. Posted by Keep going on May 18, 2018

Sorry Paul I was being sarcastic there, I thought #1 comments was stupid and idiotic.

#11. Posted by Reality Elder, Cambridge Bay. on May 18, 2018

I remember about 50 years ago, there was some talk of relocating
people to Yellowknife, Winnipeg, and Ottawa.
The idea was that Northern native people would have better access to
employment, education, medical services, cheaper food, and other
social benefits.
I honestly don’t know the answer.
But if it ever came where the government had to withdraw financial
support, (GOD FORBID)  and said to people, stay north in your own
time and your own dime , we would all have to make very serious

#12. Posted by David Kritterdlik on May 18, 2018

The Inuit in smaller communities are once again urged to move to other communities not now by government, so that Federal and Territorial Governments will save money.
Those of us who were moved will not give into that once again.
Where ever the population grows, there is no saving of any funds, except the gambling places and socializing locations.

How foolish can some people get?

#13. Posted by Kim on May 18, 2018

At least there is more funding going into Nunavut, this year alone millions across Nunavut in new funding for infrastructure, better than before but please keep going.

#14. Posted by GEEZ BOYS on May 18, 2018

Humm, didn’t the local contractor get 200k for upgrades last year.. Perhaps we can run Bingo’s from the new airport??

#15. Posted by The Bay on May 18, 2018

First Air gets $12.7 million—great.  First Air doesn’t fly in or out of this Nunavut community.  Zero impact or improvement to the quality and cost of food here.

#16. Posted by Sovereignity on May 18, 2018

I read somewhere that Canada could lose sovereignity over Nunavut
if they try to move the original inhabitants ?
Is this true ?  Anybody know?
Heck there is only 35,000 people in Nunavut.
Canada gets back gold, diamonds, minerals from Nunavut, so I think
it’s good.

#17. Posted by The Old Trapper on May 18, 2018

Let me be the one to tell you straight out, Nunavut is not economically viable. Apart from some minor altruistic tendencies the only reason the federal government pours so much per capita into Nunavut is to protect Canadian sovereignty. As a part of the overall federal budget the amount spent on Nunavut is minor compared to the resource potential.

Would it be cheaper to run a couple of dozen government outposts, weather stations, research stations? Probably, but that’s not the way things have worked out.

The GN will always be pushed for enough money to run the territory, it would be s mart of them to take tough decisions, like closing down smaller communities, sooner rather than later.

#18. Posted by Uvanga on May 18, 2018

I hope the new cargo in Iqaluit will help reduce the airline tickets to go up to Arctic Bay.cheapest beneficiary fare from Iqaluit to Arctic Bay is $2500, can’t imagine the price to Grise Fiord. Please subsidize the high arctic airline prices…

#19. Posted by Skwaddy, Iqaluit. on May 20, 2018

I hope what you are saying never happens but in the future it might
be the best thing to do.
Air fare, rail travel and resupply would be a lot cheaper for Inuit

#20. Posted by Hypothetical. Iqaluit. on May 22, 2018

# 12,
If the majority of Inuit people, decided to relocate to Southern Kiavaliq
for the beneficial reasons mentioned in this articles comments, you cannot do anything about it, the Inuit people will decide !!
  For too many years I have been watching leaders, schoolteachers,and
other GN workers get big wages and benefits for a job they have not
#9 Good words from you.

#21. Posted by Very concerned on May 22, 2018

While the runway strips need concrete resurfacing for the southern airlines not built for gravel airstrips, endangering the passengers by ruining their landing gears not built for northern runways. Also propellers stirring gravel up to them and into gear compartments. Why the terminal housing as a priority?
Close calls has happened already, we had to overnight in Pickle Lake Ont. om May 6, the plane almost fell apart while taking off from Sanikiluaq, whhow!

#22. Posted by Ken on May 23, 2018

Is this from Canada’s economic action plan?

#23. Posted by FLAKY!!! Penny Fund's on May 24, 2018

Infrastructure’s for SMALL RURAL communities!?! don’t think this had happen since Nunavut was est. April 1st, 1999…

Makes you wonder???

#24. Posted by Larry on May 25, 2018

More funding for the north then ever before, for Nunavut but the trolls are out saying all kinds of fake news about Trudeau, makes you wonder, the party line seems to be more important than what is actually going on.

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