Remediation of derelict radar site to create 41 full-time jobs

Cape Christian clean-up to start next year


Next summer, Qikiqtaaluk Logistics Inc. will start a clean-up at Cape Christian, a derelict radar site about 16 kilometres northeast of Clyde River.

The $11.1 million operation will focus on several dump areas littered with solid waste and barrels. Many of the buildings still on site contain asbestos and are covered with PCB and lead-based paint.

Cape Christian, established by the United States Coast Guard as a long-range navigation site in 1954, was abandoned in 1974.

In recent years, officials from the hamlet of Clyde River and MLA James Arreak lobbied hard for the contaminated site's clean-up.

Last week in Iqaluit, their efforts were rewarded when Chuck Strahl, minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, announced Qikiqtaaluk Logistics would receive the contact to clean up Cape Christian.

"Along with restoring the site to its natural, healthy state, this project will bring economic benefits to Nunavummiut and Inuit-owned businesses – an essential investment," Strahl said.

The contract for the Inuit-owned Qikiqtaaluk Logistics will create 41 full-time positions in Nunavut, including about 35 positions for Inuit. About 75 per cent of the project's sub-contracts will go to Clyde River.

The work, due to start next summer, is expected to take two years to complete, and the camp and equipment are scheduled for removal by the end of 2009. Following the clean-up, there will be a 25-year monitoring plan for the site.

Ottawa spent more than $400,000 under the Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan to determine the extent of contamination at Cape Christian, finding hazardous waste, contaminated soil, petroleum fluid, paint waste and and asbestos. DIAND also tested water samples from the site.

People in Clyde River are still concerned about another contaminated site near Clyde River – the old town site, which was abandoned more than 30 years ago.

During the Second World War, the U.S. Army Air Force built a weather station and an aid-to-navigation transmitter at this site. These were handed over to the Canadian government after the U.S. Coast Guard erected the LORAN A transmitter at nearby Cape Christian.

Old Clyde River, according to a 1996 Government of Nunavut document, resembles an "extensive dump site." Twisted metal, barrels and other rusty scraps remain from the time when people moved to the present-day community site and its better access to fresh water.

"Overall, the site does not appear to be as heavily contaminated as other abandoned (military) sites, however, there is evidence of the site being poorly managed, and contaminated by fuel and metals," says a GN document.

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