Ottawa's Arctic port plan mired in delays

One of the crown jewels in the federal government's Arctic strategy is mired in a slow-moving environmental clean-up and the threat of legal action, federal documents reveal.

Deep-water port at Nanisivik still awaits environmental clean-up

HMCS Goose Bay moored at the future site of the Nanisivik Naval Facility. Environmental remediation of the site is necessary before the Department of National Defence can take possession. (The Canadian Press)

One of the crown jewels in the federal government's Arctic strategy is mired in a slow-moving environmental clean-up and the threat of legal action, federal documents reveal.

The deep-water port at Nanisivik, Nunavut, remains under the control the federal fisheries department six years after Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the creation of a naval refuelling station high in the northern archipelago.

Environmental remediation of the site is necessary before the Department of National Defence can take possession.

But a private company which operated a now-defunct zinc mine in the region has yet to complete a clean-up of a fuel tank farm, despite four years of pressure from the military.

A 2009 briefing note to former defence minister Peter MacKay, obtained under access-to-information legislation, warned that delays by the company were a major risk to the project schedule and cost.

The cost has already swelled to $116 million from the original $100 million estimate.