Iqaluit’s deepsea port is almost ready, but questions remain over how it will be run

Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes tells legislature he’s concerned an operations plan is not yet in place

Minister of Economic Development and Transportation David Akeeagok said the operations report for Iqaluit’s deepsea port will be ready by the fall. Photo by David Venn)

By David Lochead

With Iqaluit’s deepsea port expected to be ready by fall, Iqaluit-Tasiluk MLA George Hickes said he’s concerned that an operational plan for it is still not ready.

“We’re looking at as little as three months away that the port could be open for business, and there is still not a management model decided upon,” Hickes said in the legislature Tuesday.

He said he wants to know when it will be implemented.

Tower Arctic constructed Iqaluit’s deepsea port, which will be 430 metres long and be able to take in ships at all tides. Fuel tankers will also be able to offload at the dock with a new fuel line, in addition to the existing one.

But people still need to be hired to work at the port, and they will need to be trained as well, said Hickes.

In response, Economic Development and Transportation Minister David Akeeagok said the report is in progress and he will share it as soon as he can.

“I understand the urgency and I share that with my colleagues,” he said in the legislature.

The $85-million project was largely paid for through the federal government’s Building Canada Fund. The federal government announced in July 2015 it would kick in $63.7 million, while the GN contributed about $21 million.

A deepsea port promises to make cargo deliveries during Iqaluit’s sealift season much smoother, as ships won’t have to wait for specific tide conditions in order to bring ships in close enough to shore to unload. Instead, they’ll be able to dock at any time of day.

Akeeagok told Nunatsaiq News his department is working on the report to guide operations for the deepsea port with global engineering consultant Advisian, which also provided engineering work for the project.

The report will provide information around operation and maintenance costs, staffing needs, as well as how much the government will charge in feeds, and issues potential issues around loading and unloading.

It will provide similar information about a small-craft harbour set to be ready in Pond Inlet this fall as well.

Akeeagok reiterated his confidence that his department will be ready in time for the port to be in operation this year.

“We’re gonna get that done,” he said.

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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by Champ on

    Be reasonable. They’ve only had years and years to figure all this out. I’m sure whatever they come up with at the last minute will be great.

    • Posted by Lives in Iqaluit on


      Love this comment and very well articulated. ??

  2. Posted by Delbert on

    Another boondoggle. With endless meetings.Speeches by individuals who will be poorly informed. Millions spent time wasted. Politicians trying to squeeze more money out the feds to be wasted. Another Baffinland.
    I hope a project that could be so helpful.
    Not end up being another lost opportunity.

  3. Posted by Tax Payer on

    is the road from Baffin gas to the port will be paved?

  4. Posted by Sean on

    Does that 85 million also go to paving the causeway road??

  5. Posted by Baffled on

    We need a year round open water port to make any difference.
    Hard to say who benefits from this and how.

    • Posted by Wow on

      It’s baffling how you think we can have a port open all year round.
      Maybe we should get a train to Montreal while we are at it

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      With a comment like this it makes me wonder if you even live here!

  6. Posted by pissed off on

    What a joke !!!
    Do we know who actually will OWN the thing and the land it sits on??
    Who will have authority over it ?
    Who will control access ?
    Who will be liable if someone gets hurt there?
    Who will be liable for any environmental damage that could happen there over time ?
    Will the shipping companies be charged a fee to use it ?
    Who will sort out the possible scheduling issues between the users ?
    Will there be some sort of harbor master as everywhere eles in the world ?

    How come nobody seems to have seen that coming ?

    What a joke again

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      All that stuff is supposed to be in the Ops plan. Good luck getting it done before NEXT year’s sealift season let alone this one!

    • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

      You should have asked all of those questions BEFORE the project was approved.
      Not after the fact. Where were you then?

      • Posted by BEFORE on

        What a ridiculous thing to say. You have no idea who that person is. Why are you assuming they didn’t ask those questions before? And anyone is more than free to continue asking questions at every stage of any project taxes pay for.

        Government officials are paid a lot of money to figure these details out. It is literally their job. The fact that they didn’t do that job is worthy of some questions.

        • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on

          By all means, the list of questions is a joke.
          The project was approved years ago, paid for by the federal government of the day, and is now built.
          Now we need to know who will control the day-to-day issues??
          I really suspect that it seems the GN, however.
          So now we will ask questions and if we are not satisfied with the answers, we will stop the project?? Get real.

  7. Posted by pissed off on

    A man is supposed to be his brother`s keeper
    But do we have to do all the work ???

    People are put in place to get stuff done , right?

    In reality, most of the time they don`t do a thing until it blows up in their face or they are kicked in the behind by being exposed once again


  8. Posted by It’s the GN on

    No surprise here, the GN just can’t seem to do anything right, I’m sure like the housing debacle there will be delays and millions more need because of the incompetence from the GN.
    But hey! Let’s blame the Inuit organizations lol.

  9. Posted by Frobisher bay on

    Hta maby local hunters & trappers organization and qia can partner up & so forth come on are capital ……

  10. Posted by Peter on

    Nunatsiaq news can you dig a little deeper and let us know which department is supposed to be working on this, managers, directors ADM DMs please,
    We need some accountability here, if we continue to not know who is responsible this will continue.
    Just like the housing debacle no accountability at all. Millions and millions wasted and where is the accountability for that and now this.

    • Posted by Yes! on

      Department of ED&T being responsible for this, all we have to look at is for the last 4-5 years who have been in that department.
      Some have left or have recently been shuffled to another department.
      Poor management and with being shuffled to another department no accountability.
      It’s embarrassing actually how this government keeps wasting time and resources, millions and millions of dollars every year.
      I am sure the auditor general will have a report on this and unfortunately it will fall on deaf ears with the GN.

    • Posted by Accountability on

      It is my perception that Nunatsiaq often avoids mentioning individuals, even though they are government appointees. Until recently the DM of EDT was Jimmy Onalik. Jimmy has now been promoted as the most senior bureaucrat as DM EIA.

      • Posted by Yikes on

        That is a scary thought, we may be seeing more of this kind of debacle from the GN.

  11. Posted by baffin resident on

    All you nay sayer’s, can’t you at least be happy with an 80 million dollar port? Dig up more crap against the GN. confusing, all these negative-noogies. can’t you just be happy with a port? sheesh!!

    • Posted by Yeah on

      Too bad this completed 80 million dollar port won’t be in use this summer, that’s on the GN for not working on it but yeah let’s just be happy about that.

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