Infrastructure: A looming disaster?

“Risk of a major social collapse in Nunavut”


One of the toughest issues facing Nunavut is how to pay for badly needed new infrastructure, and how to pay the cost of replacing existing infrastructure that’s now aging, say the authors of Nunavut’s 2005 Economic Outlook.

“Failure to address issues of public works and basic human needs such as housing carries the risk of a major social collapse in Nunavut,” the report says.

These infrastructure shortfalls include Nunavut’s desperate shortage of social housing.

But the report writers believe the federal government “is not likely to deliver” on the $1.9 billion in new social housing money that’s requested in a joint submission that Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Government of Nunavut made in 2004.

They also point out that 65 per cent of municipal sewage lagoons in Nunavut are failing because of overuse, creating a big environmental problem for local governments that will require about $100 million to bring sewage treatment facilities to national standards.

At the same time, the federal government has raised its water quality standards. They estimate that this will create another $93 million in one-time costs for Nunavut’s municipalities, plus an extra $9 million a year in operation and maintenance costs.

Another problem is that about 50 per cent of Nunavut’s community halls must be replaced, and the GN is five years behind schedule in replacing them.

The report writers see no easy fix for this situation. But they recommend that Nunavut look for cheaper building designs and continue to press the federal government for infrastructure funding.

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