Nanisivik naval depot project on schedule
The largely abandoned former mining site at Nanisivik on the northern coast of Nunavut’s Baffin Island will soon come alive when the CF begins construction on a new naval depot and refuelling station.
“In keeping with the federal government’s policy on the Arctic, it was determined a northern naval presence was necessary to maintain Canada’s Arctic sovereignty,” says Lieutenant-Commander David Forestell, project director in the Directorate of Maritime Infrastructure and Director General Maritime Force Development. “Thus was born the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship, of which Nanisivik Naval Facility is a key support component.”
While no ships will be stationed at the new facility, the deep-water refuelling and resupply station will serve the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship, once built, and other government ships during the navigable season, July to October. The site was chosen because of its proximity to the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage.
The Nanisivik Naval Facility project is in the definition and development stage, with project managers set to choose a design consultant in the coming weeks.“The design consultant will go up north,” LCdr Forestell says, “start surveying the site, and come up with some recommendations for us.”
The construction contractor will be chosen through an open competition in early 2011 and construction will begin shortly thereafter.
“We hope to commence operations in 2013,” says LCdr Forestell, “with full operational capability in 2015.”
Nanisivik was built as a company town for a lead-zinc mine in 1975.The mine was permanently closed in 2002 due to falling metal prices and shrinking resources. It was serviced by a jetty that was used for shipping and receiving supplies from the site.The jet-capable Nanisivik airport is about 15 km south of Nanisivik and 19 km southeast of the community of Arctic Bay, but will soon be replaced by a new airstrip closer to Arctic Bay.
“As of now,” LCdr Forestell says, “the progress of the Nanisivik Naval Facility project is on schedule.”