October 1, 2007

Contract worth $11M awarded for cleanup of former U.S. Coast Guard site in Nunavut

The federal government has awarded Qikiqtaaluk Logistics, an Inuit-owned firm based in Iqaluit, a three-year contract valued at $11.1 million for the cleanup of a former United States Coast Guard navigation site at Cape Christian in Nunavut. The Cape Christian site is 16 kilometres from the community of Clyde River, on Baffin Island.

Established in 1954 by the U.S. Coast Guard as a long-range navigation site, Cape Christian was abandoned in 1974 and responsibility transferred back to the Canadian government. With Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) as the lead agency, the federal government has spent over $400,000 to determine the nature and extent of contamination, through the Contaminated Sites Action Plan.

While INAC's studies have not indicated any off-site migration of contaminants, there remains a substantial inventory of hazardous and non-hazardous waste materials to be cleaned up. There are several dump areas on the site and many of the buildings contain asbestos and are covered with PCB and lead-based paint. The soil on the site is contaminated with PCB, hydrocarbons, zinc, lead, cadmium, copper and chromium. Estimates from 2006 of the materials on-site include 2,800 cubic metres (m3) of non-hazardous waste, 30 m3 of hazardous waste, 461 m3 of contaminated soil, 1,700 m3 of hydrocarbon-contaminated soil and 6,800 litres of petroleum fluid, along with smaller quantities of paint waste (PCB-amended and lead-based) and asbestos material.

Because the site is now on Commissioner's land, the Nunavut territorial government has been involved with developing the remediation plan and will be providing financial support for the cleanup work. Funding for the project is being provided through the federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan as well. Following the cleanup, INAC will implement a 25-year monitoring plan for the site.

Qikiqtaaluk Logistics expects to begin the cleanup project next summer. The work is expected to take two years to complete and the camp and equipment are scheduled for removal by the end of 2009. Throughout the project, the contractor has committed to creating or maintaining the equivalent of about 41 full time positions in Nunavut, including about 35 positions for Inuit. The company has also committed to providing Inuit firms over 75% of the project's available sub-contracts and will hire local residents for a number of contract jobs during the cleanup.

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