Port, training centre should go to Nanisivik


Being from Arctic Bay, I think common sense is not being used by local, territorial and federal people, whether they are elected, bureaucrats or ordinary people, about the selection of a deep water port location and the location of a training center for the military in Nunavut.

Nanisivik is the suitable place for it.

Arctic Bay is in a very good position to propose that Nanisivik become the deep water port site and a location for a training center for the military. It meets all the needs and requirements: location, cost and logistics.

A deep water port was built in Nanisivik by a lead and zinc mining company long ago, and sea-going vessels from around the world docked at the deep water port to pick up lead and zinc back from the late 1970s through the 1990s and 2000s. Canadian coast guard ships use the port all the time.

One time there were at least three vessels sitting at Nanisivik at the same time, waiting for calls and to refuel. And because of the jet service at Nanisivik, the Coast Guard ships were able to do a crew change.

Why would the territorial and federal governments want to build a deep water port when there is one already? Why would the federal government want to build a training center when Nanisivik is a good location and the infrastructure is already there?

The military has studied the site in the past as a possible location. It would cost less to build one, since most logistical issues are in place: building foundations, roads, infrastructure, and so on. Nanisivik is also close to Landcaster Sound, where foreign ships and submarines enter the Northwest Passage. It would only make sense as a site to monitor ships and submarines going through the area. It is a good site for the purpose of maintaining sovereignty.

Nanisivik is also equipped with an airstrip that jets and other aircraft can land on, whether they are passenger, cargo, military, charters, and or small aircraft.

The High Arctic communities, Resolute Bay, Grise Fiord and Arctic Bay, would get their jet service back. The mayor of Arctic Bay cannot make a complaint right now about the poor First Air service because the mayor is also the First Air agent.

But the three High Arctic communities are always complaining about bumped passengers, bumped cargo, bumped mail, cold meals, confined spaces, mechanical problems with aircraft, and so on. It would not look good when the mayor who works for First Air, has to make a complaint to First Air about its services.

Arctic Bay and its people already have experience with shipping and with people from around the world. Icebreakers and other ships have gone to Nanisivik when there is still solid ice. The shipping companies have worked with the residents on how to deal with shipping routes while the community is carrying on with traditional hunting.

The people of Arctic Bay also welcomed outsiders to work in the mine. It would not take much costs to build Nanisivik as a site for both a deep water port and a military training center. A lot of infrastructure is already there. Sure, there would be disadvantages, but the community has learned from the past.

Wouldn’t it be a good news story that the Canadian government and Canada has a well established center for military training, sovereignty monitoring system and that it was built by both the Inuit and the government?

So, please think. Use common sense.

(Name withheld by request)

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