Resolute Bay gets big upgrade to Polar Continental Shelf Project
Announcement on High Arctic research station expected next month
Construction is underway now on a big upgrade to the Polar Continental Shelf Project’s facilities in Resolute Bay, a community that’s also a highly favoured candidate for a new High Arctic research station promised by the Conservative government.
Two Quebec companies issued a news release July 16, boasting they will deliver 31 prefabricated modules to Resolute Bay next week.
Construction CEG and Concept Mat, two companies based in Matane, QC, said they “have beaten the clock” on delivery of the modules, which are “adapted to the rigourous climate and conditions of the Nunavut territory in Resolute Bay, the futur homebase of the Canadian and world scientists for Antartic and polar research (sic).”
“The multi-task building includes a state of the art laboratory, complete kitchen, dining room, living room and 35 rooms as sleeping quarters,” the news release states.
A media contact listed on the release didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
The federal government announced the Polar Continental Shelf Project upgrades in January of 2009.
Meanwhile, community leaders in Resolute Bay expect Prime Minister Stephen Harper will soon declare that their community will host a long-awaited High Arctic research centre.
Ludy Pudluk, the mayor of Resolute Bay, said the hamlet has been told to expect the announcement during a prime ministerial visit there at the end of August. That’s near the end of Operation Nanook, the military’s annual summer exercise in the Arctic, which is being held in the High Arctic for the first time.
“It’s going to be good, not only for Resolute but for the High Arctic,” Pudluk said. “We need more air traffic up here.”
Harper is a regular visitor to the North during Operation Nanook. Last summer, he and Defence Minister Peter MacKay staged a photo opportunity in Frobisher Bay on the deck of HMCS Toronto, complete with fighter jets and a submarine.
But the Prime Minister’s Office generally doesn’t announce prime ministerial visits until a few days before they happen.
Resolute Bay, Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet all made the shortlist of potential homes for the research centre, first announced by the Conservative government in the 2007 throne speech. The 2010 federal budget contained $18 million to design the new centre, which promises to bring economic spin-offs to local contractors..
In 2008, a report prepared by the Canadian Polar Commission called for the creation of a High Arctic research centre and upgrades to northern research infrastructure.
Cambridge Bay has lobbied hard for the centre, but Resolute Bay, population 300, is already a hub for Arctic research, with numerous government and university research installations. The hamlet is also used as a staging area for research sites scattered across a vast area of the High Arctic.
The Canadian Forces are also building a winter warfare training school in Resolute Bay.
Speaking to reporters at Canadian Forces Base Alert this past April, MacKay wouldn’t reveal the location of the High Arctic Research Station, but said “we [DND] intend to share part of that facility.”