The town of Inuvik, N.W.T., has been cut off from new shipments of propane because the ferry isn't operating and ice roads haven't opened yet.

Mayor Floyd Roland says he's concerned there may be a fuel shortage in town.

Inuvik Gas Limited says they have enough natural gas and propane to supply the town into the new year.

"We anticipated that there would be some sort of road outage this year even with the work they were doing with the ferry, and as part of our plan we switched over to the gas wells," said Kevin MacKay, the company's general manager.

MacKay says now it only has four days worth of propane in storage. 

New shipments were halted nine days ago when ice buildup caused a jam for the Louis Cardinal ferry. Earl Blacklock, of the N.W.T. Department of Transportation, says they're working on getting the ferry service back up and running as soon as possible.

"We've been trying to create an ice channel for it to operate in and have been unsuccessful in completing that ice channel," Blacklock said.

Channeling

The NWT Dept. of Transportation is trying to open an ice channel so the Louis Cardinal ferry service can resume. (NWT Dept. of Transportation)

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"We've also encountered some weather and ice conditions that have made that effort very difficult," he said.

It will take at least three weeks until ice roads are thick enough for fuel trucks to start rolling.

Right now the town is able to switch from propane to natural gas from the Ikhil Natural Gas facility, but next year they won't have that backup.

"There's no concern because we have the Ikhil backup and that's what we're running on right now," Roland said. "That draws down what the future may be and the town itself is involved in negotiations on taking over the gas distribution system and we have to look at what other plans we have in place."

Roland say if ferry service continues to be unpredictable, the town may have to think about building a larger storage facility so they aren't stuck like this again.