Iqaluit awards Apex River pumping contract to Tower Arctic

Work to begin next month

To avoid the water shortages that have plagued Iqaluit over the last couple of years, the city can now begin pumping water from the Apex River into Lake Geraldine, pictured here, during the spring melt. (File photo)

By Dustin Patar

Tower Arctic has won a contract from the City of Iqaluit to pump water this summer from the Apex River to help stave off another water shortage.

City councillors unanimously awarded the contract on Tuesday afternoon during a regularly scheduled city council meeting.

The news follows a briefing given by Chief Administrative Officer Amy Elgersma during the last council meeting that provided an update on the spring pumping project, which is slated to begin as soon as next month.

During the summers of both 2018 and 2019, low water levels in Lake Geraldine forced the city to apply for emergency water amendments, allowing them to pump from the Apex River and, as was the case last year, Unnamed Lake.

Last October, the city announced that a new amendment to its water licence would allow it to begin pumping in the spring.

While not a permanent fix, this does buy the city time while it seeks a long-term solution to its ongoing water security issues.

For the upcoming season, the city received bids from four companies, among them Tower Arctic, whose bid was the least costly with a total unadjusted tender price of $687,960 plus GST.

The city’s 2020 capital budget includes an allowance of $1 million for the project.

Aside from the operation of the pumps, Tower Arctic will be responsible for the setup and takedown of the site, maintenance, insurance and security, among other tasks.

However, before pumping can begin, the water licence amendment requires that the city submit a water balance assessment to the Nunavut Water Board that indicates how much water will be pumped out of the river to supplement the reservoir.

The city issued a request for proposals earlier this month for a consultant to produce this assessment.

The next city council meeting will be at 12 p.m. EST on May 12 and will be live streamed on the city’s YouTube channel.

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