Schools, airports, health centres in line for Nunavut infrastructure cash

Nunavut MLAs are discussing how territorial infrastructure dollars will be spent next year, with a look at major transportation projects - including Iqaluit's new airport, which will get its last big infusion of cash in 2017-2018.

Nearly a quarter of spending goes to Iqaluit airport, the 'largest and most complex' territorial project ever

Iqaluit's airport project once again got the biggest chunk of funding in the capital estimates for 2017-2018. (John Van Dusen/CBC News)

Nunavut MLAs began discussing the 2017-2018 budget for the territory's major infrastructure spending Wednesday with another discussion of the new Iqaluit airport.

"This project is the largest and most complex project that the Government of Nunavut has ever undertaken," Transport Minister Monica Ell-Kanayuk said in Inuktitut. 

The capital estimates outline how government departments will spend their share of $200,644,000 during the next fiscal year. 
Minister Monica Ell-Kanayuk presented the capital estimates for Economic Development and Transportation. (Nunavut Legislative Assembly)

Once again, the new Iqaluit International Airport Improvement Project is getting the biggest single pot of money, with $48 million. 

But Ell-Kanayuk told MLAs this will be the last year of major capital spending for the project which is "on time and on budget."

Other transportation spending

While construction of that multi-million dollar P3 project in Iqaluit starts winding down, the government says work is beginning on two significant marine infrastructure projects. 

Over the next several years, Nunavut will pay out $21.2 million for its share of the cost for Iqaluit's new deep sea port and small craft harbour. 
Plans for Iqaluit's port also show plans to nearly double the length of the city's current breakwater. (Government of Nunavut)

In 2017-2018, the department has budgeted $1 million, which Ell-Kanayuk says will go toward assessments.

The territory is planning to spend twice that on the Pond Inlet small craft harbour next year, which will eventually cost Nunavut a total of $11.2 million. 

In total, Economic Development and Transportation will dole out more than $61 million in the next fiscal year. 

That includes a more modest $4-million budget for a new air terminal in Taloyoak — Ell-Kanayuk says the current one has "reached the end of its useful life" — and $2-million for a new Kivalliq Regional Visitors Centre in Rankin Inlet. 

New high schools for Baffin region

Over the course of the fall sitting, Nunavut MLAs will discuss the capital estimates for the government's other departments. 

Three communities are set to receive funding for new high schools, including Cape Dorset, which lost Peter Pitseolak High School to a fire last year. 
Firefighters battle a blaze that destroyed Cape Dorset's Peter Pitseolak High School. The territory has budgeted $14.5 million toward work on a new high school in the hamlet. (submitted)

Cape Dorset is pegged to get $14.5 million next fiscal year toward the new school's total $34-million price tag. Igloolik and Naujaat are also set to receive funding for their respective schools.

The health department is set to spend significantly less on capital projects in 2017-2018, but one new project is a new health centre in Sanikiluaq. 

The budget sets out funding for the Arctic Bay health centre that is scheduled to open in 2017. 

The fall sitting is set to wrap up Nov. 7.