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Iqaluit port could be operated by regional harbour authority

It will be at least two years before work begins on a port in Iqaluit, but city councillors asked Nunavut’s department of Economic Development and Transportation Monday night who would own and operate the new port.

Infrastructure would initially be owned and operated by Government of Nunavut

Iqaluit's port plans would nearly double the length of the city's current breakwater. (Government of Nunavut)

It will be at least two years before work begins on a port in Iqaluit, but city councillors on Iqaluit's Lands and Planning Committee are thinking ahead.

On Monday, councillors asked Jim Stevens, assistant deputy minister for Nunavut's department of Economic Development and Transportation, who would own and operate the new port.

"Initially it will be owned and operated as a GN asset, however we have always put out there the idea of a harbour authority to operate and manage it," he said.

"There are opportunities of revenues from ships using the facility."

Stevens said the federal government has raised the idea of a regional harbour authority that could be in charge of the Pangnirtung small craft harbour, the proposed Pond Inlet small craft harbour as well as the Iqaluit facilities.

Stevens said the city would be invited to take on a meaningful role in a harbour authority, but that is still years away.

Construction could begin in 2018

Eiryn Devereaux, assistant deputy minister for Community and Government Services, said if all goes according to plan, construction should begin in 2018 and be completed by the end of 2019.

"For the remainder of 2016 we will undertake environmental and geo-technical baseline studies," Devereaux said.

"The design of this project will occur throughout 2017 calendar year, then we would anticipate a tender for construction by the end of that year."

He said the plans include nearly doubling the length of the city's current breakwater.

"There would be a permanent breakwater extension and then there would be that floating dock. We would also undertake a bit of dredging so we could have access through the tidal ranges for small craft to dock."

Councillors asked if the money for the project had been confirmed by the federal government. Devereaux said that although a contribution agreement won't be signed until later this summer, the money has been promised in writing.

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