GNWT caves in on Keewatin resuppply proposal
IQALUIT – Whether fuel gets delivered to Keewatin communities by barge or by ocean-going tankers will be up to the first Nunavut government to decide.
NWT Public Works Minister Goo Arlooktoo announced last week that he has suspended plans to introduce a direct fuel resupply system until after April 1, 1999.
“After my recent meetings in the Keewatin I have concluded that residents don’t have enough information to feel comfortable with the proposed resupply change,” Arlooktoo said in a press release.
Arlooktoo said that postponing the planned changes to the fuel delivery system would allow GNWT time to complete charting the waters off the Keewatin coast and to compile a detailed report of its recommendations for the new Nunavut government.
Opponents of the GNWT’s Keewatin resupply plans had been asking for a dealy for the same reasons.
Construction of shoreline fuel-receiving facilities has also been put on hold for the life of the current government.
The GNWT, meanwhile, will complete research by the end of next year on the potential environmental impact of tanker resupply and examine its effect on the cost, timing and frequency of sealifts in the region.
Arlooktoo said he is still committed to the direct resupply proposal contained in the final report of the Keewatin Marine Resupply Committee. The committee concluded that the most economic option for fuel delivery in the Keewatin is direct delivery by tankers.
Fuel is currently delivered by rail to a tank farm in Churchill, Manitoba, then barged to each community by Northern Transportation Company Ltd. (NTCL).
The GNWT’s contract with NTCL for fuel resupply in the Keewatin expires at the end of 1998.
In order to ensure that there is sufficient time to purchase and arrange shipping of fuel for the 1999 delivery season, the GNWT believes a new bulk fuel contract must be tendered no later than February or March, 1998.
One of the implications of the marine resupply committee’s report, therefore, is that Nunavut’s interim commissioner will have to support a new multi-year contract for fuel delivery.