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Tower Arctic wins $89M contract for Iqaluit, Pond Inlet marine projects

Long-established eastern Arctic company comes in as lowest bidder

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

Iqaluit’s deep-sea port will be located at the southwestern tip of Koojesse Inlet. Its features, shown in orange and green in this image, will include a fixed dock where cargo ships will unload their freight and a sealift ramp to unload barges. (IMAGE FROM GOVERNMENT OF NUNAVUT)


Iqaluit’s deep-sea port will be located at the southwestern tip of Koojesse Inlet. Its features, shown in orange and green in this image, will include a fixed dock where cargo ships will unload their freight and a sealift ramp to unload barges. (IMAGE FROM GOVERNMENT OF NUNAVUT)

Tower Arctic Ltd., a well-known company that has done business in the eastern Arctic since 1945, has won an $89-million contract from the Government of Nunavut to construct a small-craft harbour at Pond Inlet, and a deep-sea port and small-craft harbour in Iqaluit, GN documents reveal.

Tower Arctic, which has been majority Inuit-owned since 2008, came in as the lowest bidder on the projects, a GN tender document states.

They’re listed on Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s registry of Inuit-owned companies and on the GN’s list of Nunavut companies.

The GN issued the tender call this past Feb. 23, and awarded the work to Tower Arctic on May 16.

This means construction work will likely start this year, with completion of all work by 2021. The Pond Inlet harbour could be complete by 2019, GN officials said last year.

The work involves two high-profile projects: a long-awaited small-craft harbour in Pond Inlet and a work on two combined projects in Iqaluit: a deep-sea port and improvements to the nearby small-craft breakwater in the beach area to create a small-craft harbour.

To help pay for the Iqaluit project, the former Conservative government agreed in 2015 to give the GN $63.7 million, with the GN kicking in $21.2 million. That funding was confirmed in 2016 by the new Liberal government.

For the Pond Inlet project, the federal government is contributing $30 million, with the Nunavut government kicking in about $10.1 million.

The GN has already spent money on planning, design, some site preparation, and work related to environmental screenings by the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

The NIRB said yes to those projects in a screening decision last October.

Interested firms were given the option of bidding on either the Pond Inlet work, the Iqaluit work, or both at the same time.

Tender documents show that Tower Arctic bid about $62.2 million for the Iqaluit work, $24.3 million for the Pond Inlet work and about $86.5 million for both projects together.

The next lowest bidder was a company called Pilitak Enterprises Ltd., whose combined price for both projects was $102.9 million.

A company called Nuqsana Inc. bid about $176.8 million for both projects and a company called Nuna East Ltd. bid $34.1 million for the Pond Inlet project only.

The Iqaluit deep-sea port is expected to cover about 40,000 square metres of space, at South Polaris reef, an area at the southwestern tip of Koojesse Inlet near the end of the fuel line that seagoing tankers use to supply the city.

The project includes a wharf, a four-hectare sealift cargo laydown area, a 30-metre-long landing ramp and a new road connecting Akilliq Road to the port development area.

It’s expected to speed up the offloading of sealift vessels at Iqaluit and improve safety for workers and the public.

The Iqaluit small-craft harbour will involve a 100-metre extension to the existing municipal breakwater.

The minimum Inuit labour requirement for the Iqaluit and Pond Inlet projects has been set at 15 per cent, a GN tender document said.

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