Ottawa ponders locations for arctic port, training centre

The federal government plans to build a deep sea port and military training centre in Nunavut as promised but now it's reconsidering the locations of the new facilities.

Ottawa plans to make good on promises to builda deep sea port anda military training centre in Nunavut but it's reconsidering the location of the new facilities, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor told reporters during a visit to Iqaluit Friday.

"Basically, I'm back this year to say we're doing it," said O'Connor as he wrapped up his northern tour in Nunavut's capital.

During the election, the Conservatives promised to build the port inIqaluit and the training centre in Cambridge Bay. Now, it is also looking at Resolute Bay for the training centre, and seven communities — includingIqaluit — as theplace to build the new port.

"Our military staff are going to look at all seven against our requirements and try and determine which one or ones are the most appropriate for us,"O'Connor said.

Nunavut needs a port

Premier Paul Okalik said Ottawa will make the final decision based on what makes the most military sense.

"We want to get the port, regardless of where it may be, done," said Okalik. "We don't have a port. We need one. It's as simple as that."

Although he didn't indicate his preference, Okalik did say one or two of the smaller communities, which are strugglingeconomically, would benefit from the infrastructure.

No more pins in the map

Iqaluit Deputy Mayor Glen Williams says he wants to know how the port location will be decided.

"We don't think it should be done by a couple of bureaucrats sitting in an office with a pin, sticking it into a map and saying, 'Oh, look.' That's how our communities were all formed up here,"said Williams.

"We're looking for an open and public process to do this so that the communities —there's going to be more than one community that wants a port — they should know. If we don't get the port, we would like to know why didn't we get the port."

Ottawa has not yet put a price tag on either project.