Iqaluit radar site meets approval


IQALUIT — The City of Iqaluit has given conditional approval to a proposed Nav Canada radar site at Upper Base.

But before the city gives the final OK to the project, Nav Canada will have to plead its case to Iqaluit’s planning committee.

Nav Canada had initially proposed putting the radar at a site off the Road to Nowhere, but that idea was opposed by residents concerned about the facility’s impact on recreational activities in the area.

In contrast, the new proposal seems to have wide community support.

At a public meeting Tuesday night, about 10 people showed up to hear a presentation and ask questions about the proposed facility.

The private non-profit company, which owns and operates Canada’s civil air navigation service, says the radar site is needed to improve air-traffic safety in the North.

The Upper Base location was the site of a radar base operated by the U.S. air force in the 1950s and 1960s.

While not the company’s first choice because of its elevation, Nav Canada’s Graeme Stephens said the Upper Base site is adequate.

The radar tower will measure 25 metres in diameter at its base and rise 30 metres in the air. Access to the Upper Base site will not be affected, Stephens said.

Nav Canada will pay for the maintenance of the road to the site, as well as about $40,000 a year in taxes to the city, Iqaluit’s CAO Rick Butler said.

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