Sewage plantfaces setback


Nunatsiaq News

IQALUIT — A shortage of money may force the Town of Iqaluit to postpone completion of a proposed new sewage treatment plant by one year.

The $1.8 million the Nunavut Government gave Iqaluit for the project in this year’s budget won’t cover the plant’s $7 million price tag.

Nunavut’s deputy minister of Community Government, Mike Ferris told Iqaluit Town Council this week the town may have to build part of the plant now and wait for more funds from the territory next year.

‘There has to be a recognition there are less dollars than in the past,” said Ferris.

Town officials say the plant is a must because of tough new environmental laws that govern the type of waste water that can be pumped into the ocean.

If the plant is not built the town could be charged with violating any number of environmental laws and face heavy fines, Town Engineer Denis Bedard said.

But Ferris told the council Tuesday night that regulatory bodies such as the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Nunavut Water Board may be lenient with the town if they can see progress is being made with the treatment plant.

Bedard said the Town will receive $800,000 in infrastructure funding from the federal government and the town plans kick in $500,000 of in-kind donations of labor and services to the contractor, but that still leaves a short-fall.

The other option being explored is for the Territory to borrow money — between $2.7 and $3.1 million — to bridge that shortfall and finish the project, Ferris said.

While the town hasn’t signed any large over-arching contract for the project yet, it has picked the company it wants (Hill Murray and Associates) and has spent about $1.5 million on smaller “service contracts” for the plant’s design, and building materials. But Hill Murray is getting impatient and wants to begin construction this summer.

Ferris said his department along with Hill Murray had been talking with Toronto Dominion which handles Hill Murray’s asset management about getting the loan.

He said a decision should be made this week on which option the government will take.

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