Construction boom set for Nunavut
Nunavut infrastructure a boon to the eastern economy

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

BAKER LAKE (Apr 14/97) - Infrastructure for Nunavut is coming as soon as extensive planning and construction begins this summer for an eastern legislative assembly, new homes and offices.

The plans were announced by representatives from the NWT Housing Corporation and Nunavut Construction Corporation at a recent Keewatin Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting.

"If I were a contractor, I'd be very interested in these projects," said Tagak Curley, an NCC spokesperson.

Nunavut Construction, which operates under the arm of birthright corporations such as Kivalliq Inuit Association and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., has an extensive construction schedule planned for the next few years.

It includes projects in 11 communities in three regions with 250 residential units and 12 office buildings, all scheduled to get under way between 1997 and 2001.

This summer, Iqaluit will get 20 residential units in three buildings and plans to call for the start of construction of another two office buildings.

"This project alone is worth about $10 million," said Curley.

Two other office buildings are planned for 1998 in Iqaluit, along with another 20 residential units in 1999.

Nunavut Construction plans to advertise all projects openly in Nunavut, but companies in the south can make their bids too.

Curley said their objective is to have 85 per cent Inuit employment in construction by 1999 and a minimum of 50 per cent starting this summer.

"It's a challenge," Curley said. "The whole thing is based on a challenge and the determination to maximize the economic benefits to the community. The Inuit Land Claims Agreement, Article 24 says that that's the rule -- that's the agreement and we want to honor that."

Article 24 will give local contractors an edge over southern companies, but experience and capabilities of each contractor are also necessary, he added.

"Companies are going to be asked to honor certain commitments. It's not profit-at-all-costs any more."