The buzz of construction can been seen and heard in just about every corner of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut (population 1582). Between now and 2017, more than $200 million will be spent on building projects in the hamlet.
Jim MacEachern is the hamlet’s economic development officer. "The scope of these projects... the fact they are going on concurrently... I've never seen anything like it."
A new dorm for the Kitikmeot campus of Nunavut Arctic College is just one of nine projects changing the hamlet’s landscape. Other work includes widening the hamlet’s runway, a new $22 million tank farm, a new hamlet office and two new 10-plexes — one for public housing, the other for government of Nunavut staff. The Kitikmeot Inuit Association is also building new headquarters.
“It’s either boom or bust in Nunavut,” says local businessman Bruce Peterson. He owns Green Row Executive Suites and is taking advantage of the influx of construction workers.
"We don't have a enough beds for all the people to stay there so there are bunk houses opening up that are accommodating the overflow,” Peterson says.
Land has also been cleared to make way for a new Bed and Breakfast.
The project with the biggest punch has yet to break ground. The $142 million Canadian High Arctic Research Station is set to open in 2017.
People in the hamlet say the spin-off from the boom will continue, when hundreds of people coming to the region to work.