New system will save money
Critics charge decision to change resupply political

Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Oct 29/97) - Brian Austin, director of the public works petroleum products division, said that the savings on using pipelines over the existing fuel resupply system will enable the government to get rid of fuel subsidies.

With the tug and barge system, it costs $6.5 million annually to transport 30 million litres of fuel into the Keewatin.

The new system will utilize the pipeline with tankers shipping in fuel and freighters carrying dry cargo, it will cost $1.8 million per year (six cents/litre x 30 million litres) for fuel transportation costs. This means a $4.7 million annual savings.

"It's self-funded by investing into this pipeline," he said.

When asked why the GNWT is spending money now on a project that will become the responsibility of the Nunavut government the year it's ready to be used, Austin would only say that the contract for fuel transportation across the NWT ends after the 1998 resupply.

He maintains the government is merely looking ahead.

"The effectiveness will place no burden on the GNWT or Nunavut," he said. "There are similar pipelines in the Baffin and in other regions of the NWT."

He said there isn't any risk with the new system that the price of dry cargo will

increase, only that freighters will be making fewer deliveries than the barge service.

Jackie Simpson, Union of Northern Workers president, has her own theory on why the decision has been made.

"It looks to many people that the GNWT is ramming through this RFB because doing so allows them to control who profits from the project," she said.

"If they wait for community consultation to occur, it's more likely the Nunavut government would get to make the decision,

and those who hope to benefit from the project now don't want to take the risk they will be excluded down the road."