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Iqaluit is Nunavut’s territorial capital and a regional hub with a growing population and increasing economic activity. By the early 2000’s, it had become apparent that the constraints of the old sealift beach would eventually impact the community’s sealift operations. Specifically, the size of the barge ramp and laydown area, together with the fact that barges were subject to Iqaluit’s extreme tidal cycles, meant that the old facility would become increasingly congested. Unanticipated events such as ice blocking the inlet or two or more vessels attempting to offload at the same time could cause serious delays, potentially impacting sealift in other communities.
In 2015, the Government of Canada announced $63.7 million in funding for the Iqaluit Marine Infrastructure Project through the New Building Canada Fund. This Federal contribution represents 75 per cent of the total $84.9 million cost of the project. The Government of Nunavut provided the remaining $21.2million.
The project consists of a deep sea port capable of accommodating cargo, fuel, and Canadian Coast Guard vessels The facilities feature a dredged fixed dockmooring space, cargo laydown area, barge ramp, and a fuel manifold. Additional improvements were made to small craft marine facilities by providing an additional breakwater, floating dock infrastructure, and all tide boat launching facilities.
In 2018, the project construction contract was awarded to Tower Arctic Ltd., and construction began later that year.
In 2022, the project was granted substantial completion.
This project has been managed by the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Community and Government Services (CGS). The Department of Economic Development and Transportation (EDT) is involved with this collaboration and will be responsible for ongoing oversight of the facility as well as fulfilling other operations and maintenance needs. EDT has operations and maintenance funds in place for this facility moving forward and is working on devising an operational model that reflects local needs and capacity.