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New funding for satellite station
Inuvik economy expected to get a boost in construction phase

Mark Rieder
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 6, 2015

The federal government announced new funding for Inuvik's satellite antenna facility on July 30 in a move intended to encourage even more dish antenna development.

NNSL photo/graphic

A group of elected officials and members of Inuvik's business community toured the newly-commissioned Natural Resources Canada 13-metre diameter satellite antenna facility on July 30. - Mark Rieder/NNSL photo

Colin Carrie, parliamentary secretary for federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, said the funding will provide improved access to the site.

"Our government is investing $3.7 million to improve and build roads granting access to this facility. This investment will not only improve immediate access, it will lay the groundwork to attract more partners to co-locate here, and more opportunities for people in this region," he said. "These investments are helping to position Inuvik as one of the world's main hubs for satellite and space data."

Premier Bob McLeod, Lands Minister Robert C. McLeod, Yellowknife Centre MLA Robert Hawkins and Finance Minister Michael Miltenberger were among the elected officials and business community members who attended the announcement at the Midnight Sun Complex.

The event came on the same day that Natural Resources Canada officially unveiled the new $7.4-million dish antenna. This is the third dish at the facility. The two others are operated in partnership with Natural Resources Canada and the German, Swedish and French space agencies.

The new antenna is expected to collect data on forest fires, ice conditions and shipping traffic in the Arctic region.

Premier McLeod said projects like the satellite facility will help expand job opportunities in the North.

"We want to diversify our economy to ensure our residents have opportunities and choices, particularly our youth. Those opportunities include jobs working in the digital technology sector. There is no reason our Northern youth cannot be tomorrow's scientists, engineers and technology experts," he said.

Carrie said the new road and resulting new satellite antennas will benefit workers in Inuvik.

"The potential impact for Inuvik could be enormous because developing this facility will create more good jobs in a community that has already demonstrated it has the people and the know-how to build in this unique Northern climate," he said.

Nellie Cournoyea, chairperson of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, said this type of development will help alleviate the boom and bust cycles of the local economy.

"We get concerned sometimes in the ups and downs of the economy," Cournoyea said. "What is happening now is so very important to us because we see more stability, more long-term development."

Scott Hendry, director of sales for MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates - who design, build and operate the facility - said they plan to continue working with partners in the region as the facility develops.

"For some time, we've been actively engaged with the community," he said "We are very pleased with the relationships we've developed. My colleagues and I look forward to working with the local community to build the ISSF (Inuvik Satellite Station Facility) into a world-class facility."

McLeod pointed out that the construction of the Mackenzie Valley fibre optic line will increase the capacity for even further development at the facility.

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