Kitikmeot Inuit, GN, keep pushing for Grays Bay port, road project
“The most beneficial infrastructure project in Nunavut”
CAMBRIDGE BAY—So what if the federal government says it’s not yet ready to support one of the Government of Nunavut’s biggest infrastructure dreams, namely the 227-kilometre Grays Bay road-port project, which would link the Arctic Ocean to a winter ice road near the Nunavut-Northwest Territories boundary that leads to Yellowknife, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association says.
Amarjeet Sohi, the minister of infrastructure and communities, said two weeks ago in the House of Commons two weeks ago that the Grays Bay project “is not at a stage where it can move forward.”
That means Ottawa is not prepared to respond to an application that the GN and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association submitted to Infrastructure Canada earlier this year that asked the federal government to fund up to 75 per cent of the project’s roughly $500 million cost.
But the Nunavut Resources Corp.— a subsidiary of the KIA—still wants to build buzz for the project, which its president, Charlie Evalik, called “the most beneficial infrastructure project in Nunavut” at last week’s annual general meeting of the KIA in Cambridge Bay.
The NRC plans to restart the environmental review process for the project with Nunavut regulators, Evalik and the NRC’s operations director, Scott Northey, said Oct. 6 at KIA’s AGM.
The project submission is influenced by the design from MMG Ltd., the company that owns the Izok Lake and High Lake lead, zinc and copper properties, which had originally proposed building a road, port and telecommunication system to Coronation Gulf, but then abandoned that plan due to its high costs.
However, the proposed route does not connect with MMG’s Izok Lake lead zinc deposit. It does run through the company’s Ulu and High Lake deposits, as well as the defunct Jericho diamond mine.
That regulatory process could take two to three years, Evalik said.
The Grays Bay project’s big plus: reducing the cost of living through the year-round use of trucking services, potential ice roads to communities and possible grid connection to railways, fibre optic lines and the electricity system, he said.
“Seeking [to cause] no harm to caribou,” road-shutdown periods would be also considered, with no harvest taking place from the road, the NRC presentation noted.
The port part of the project would include two berths for ships, a small craft harbour, tank farm, warehouses and equipment for emergency spill response.
The KIA and the GN have jointly asked Ottawa for $365 million for Grays Bay.
The balance of the money needed for the project’s construction, about $122 million, would come from third-party debt paid back by user fees and support from the GN. Any excess would go back to the KIA to fund programs, the NRC presentation said.
At the end of the KIA AGM Oct. 6, delegates unanimously passed a resolution supporting the Grays Bay project, calling it a project of “national significance.”