North

Some claims for compensation for Giant Mine cleanup dropped

Some of the boaters requesting compensation for losses related to the cleanup of Giant mine near Yellowknife have dropped their claims. The requests were made to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board as part of the permitting of the cleanup.

But biggest claims, from City of Yellowknife and Yellowknife Historical Society, remain active

The Great Slave Sailing Club sits on land near the Giant Mine town site. The federal team overseeing the cleanup of Giant says its worked out a plan to minimize the impact the cleanup will have on boaters in the area. (Richard Gleeson CBC)

Some of the boaters requesting compensation for losses related to the cleanup of Giant Mine near Yellowknife have dropped their claims.

The requests were made to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board as part of the permitting of the cleanup.

In letters to the board, four boat owners and the Great Slave Sailing Club said they are withdrawing their claims after the cleanup team made adjustments to minimize the length of time the sailing club will be shut down for cleanup work.

The club is located on the mine site, as is a nearby city boat launch. Both will have to be shut down for a period of time while contaminated soil is removed from the sites. 

Sailors claimed compensation for the loss of enjoyment and the cost of moving their boats. But after the claims, the federal team overseeing cleanup of the mine developed an alternate plan that includes building a second boat launch at the sailing club to avoid any interruption of access to the lake.

The project team also said sailing club members will be able to store their boats in a nearby area while the property the club operates on is being remediated.

"Based on this understanding, I hereby withdraw our claim for compensation and confirm that we will not pursue this further," said sailing club president Ben Russo in a March 27 letter to the land and water board.

Biggest claims remain

The land and water board gave boaters and other organizations that made requests for compensation until March 27 to provide updates on the status of their claims. Only five of approximately 24 boat owners who submitted claims responded by the deadline.

Four withdrew their claims. One maintains he should be compensated for the cost of moving his boat to and from another location to accommodate the cleanup, a cost he estimates will be $18,436.

The organizations that have made the biggest requests for compensation say their claims stand.

"The Giant Mine Remediation Project informed the City that it would not be negotiating a compensation agreement with the City," said City of Yellowknife director Kerry Penney in a March 27 letter to the board. "The City has not been informed of any change in the Proponent's position, therefore there are no further updates to provide."

The city is claiming $1.3 million for each year the cleanup blocks residents' access to the city boat launch. It is also claiming $8.6 million to cover its share of the costs of replacing an aging underwater pipeline it uses to draw its drinking water from the Yellowknife River.

In a letter to the board, the Yellowknife Historical Society says its claim also stands. The society is building a museum in the area. It's claim includes $200,000 annually for lost government funding and $138,000 to move mining equipment displays to allow for the cleanup and then move them back after it's completed.

It is now up to the land and water board to rule on the claims that remain. 

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