Long-awaited new RCMP detachment to open in Pangnirtung

Opening ceremony set for Thursday afternoon; 3 more detachments to be built in Nunavut over next 6 years

Pangnirtung’s new RCMP detachment will hold its official opening on Thursday. It is shown here in September 2023, a few months after it went into use. An earlier official opening was cancelled due to weather. (Photo by Corey Larocque)

By Jorge Antunes

After five years, Pangnirtung is getting ready to celebrate the official opening of its new RCMP detachment on Thursday.

Officers have been working from the new detachment in the hamlet’s west end, beside the Northern store since June 2023.

An official opening had been scheduled for last October but was cancelled due to bad weather and a power outage, Chief Supt. Andrew Blackadar said Wednesday.

“Pangnirtung had one of the oldest detachments in Nunavut,” he said, referring to the building that opened in 1979, adding it had only about 1,300 square feet of space, about the same area as a three-bedroom apartment.

“Our old detachment was basically [two combined] trailers; one with cells, one with an office.”

The new facility, at nearly 6,500 square feet, is larger and more inviting, Blackadar said, and the extra space makes it more community friendly.

It includes a boardroom that’s accessible to the public, as well as room to display community art including a large mural created by Pangnirtung artists Andrew Qappik and Jolly Atagoyuk.

There are improved fitness facilities and a garage so that people who are detained can be brought in more discreetly.

The new detachment, where four officers are based, has been years in the planning. In April 2018, the project was awarded to the Ottawa office of Canadian construction services company EllisDon.

Construction was to begin in July 2019, however, some of the modules brought in by sealift were damaged.

The modules were plastic-sealed to keep out the elements, but some of those seals broke during the sealift.

That led to what Blackadar called a “water incursion” while they were being transported on the barge to Pangnirtung, and the modules had to be dried out in order to prevent mould.

It took 18 months of remediation before construction could begin in 2021. Blackadar noted the community was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused more delays.

He said that what should have been a two-year project ended up taking four years.

The final cost of the project, including design, remediation, site preparation and construction materials, was $21.5 million, he said.

Blackadar said over the next six years three more new RCMP detachments will be built in Nunavut.

Kinngait is to be first, with construction planned to begin in May 2025, finish in March 2028, and occupancy expected a month later. Baker Lake and Rankin Inlet will get new detachments after that.

“I’m really looking forward to getting into Pangnirtung [on Thursday] and really opening the community detachment,” Blackadar said.

The opening ceremony will start in the parking lot at 1 p.m., with a public reception to follow.

Along with Blackadar, Pangnirtung Mayor Lynn Mike, Nunavut Justice Minister David Akeeagok and Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashuk will attend.

 

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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Resident on

    Did you know not a single local Pangnirtung resident was hired during the construction, all the southern workers actually lived and stayed on a vessel (boat) in the fiord. I guess they didn’t want to sleep at the local hotel or bed and breakfast.

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    • Posted by Joanasie on

      Did you know there was a world pandemic that was happening during that time? No one knew what the risk covid 19 was to a small isolated community with little health care services. The type of construction used for this police station was not the same as a house, and needed specialized workers. They were isolated on the boat and instructed not to interact with the community to lower the risk of covid 19.

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    • Posted by Tricia on

      The contract was won by Ellis Don, as they are a private company, they can pretty much do whatever they want. And it was probably cheaper for them to live on the boat. Plus it is hard enough to get rooms in Pang, nevermind trying to house maybe 10-20 workers for a fair bit of time?

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    • Posted by E*** on

      Pang resident here, there was a few locals and even a couple out of towners. And for the record, I would not want to hire locals, most mornings you have to pick up the help, and most mornings they are out cold from a night of “fun”, so you have to wake them and hope they don’t have a hangover.

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  2. Posted by Respond to Resident on

    That is crazy!! Why wasn’t this pointed out to NTI? All contractors who work and bid in Nunavut have obligations to hire locally; it is in the Nunavut directives.

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    • Posted by Wrong on

      This is not true. Just as not every employer is not entitled blighted to hire locally, contractors are not obligated to hire locally in all cases. Yes, there is preferred bidding for Nunavut government contracts with negotiated levels of Inuit employment, it is not like this for federal or private construction.

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    • Posted by Inuk from Nunavik on

      Local hires not very reliable , have a tendency to take off fishing / hunting on a nice sunny summer day.

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