Construction begins on research facilities in Canadian Arctic

Next week, 31 prefabricated modules will be delivered to Resolute, Canada as construction begins on the Polar Continental Shelf Project. The federal government announced plans to build the new research facilities in January 2009. A news release stated, “The multi-task building includes a state of the art laboratory, complete kitchen, dining room, living room and 35 rooms as sleeping quarters.” The project is supposed to provide logistical support to scientific research in the Arctic.

In addition, Resolute is crossing its fingers that it will be the home of a new $18 million Arctic research facility. Prime Minister Stephen Harper will visit Resolute at the end of August, around the time when Operation Nanook, an annual military exercise carried out by Canada’s forces in the High North, concludes. At that time, it is likely Harper will make an announcement regarding where the new facilities will be located. While it’s most likely that Resolute will house the center, last year, both Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet were also being considered. All three towns are located in Nunavut, so the province as a whole will certainly benefit. Yet the $18 million dedicated to the construction of the facility in the 2010 federal budget will also help local contractors.

Resolute’s Mayor Ludy Pudluk spoke of the other benefits which a new research center would bring to the region. He stated, “It’s going to be good, not only for Resolute, but for the High Arctic. We need more air traffic up here.” There are no roads going into Resolute, so the only way the town of 229 people receives supplies is via air traffic. Plus, the more air traffic there is in Canada’s High North, the greater the country’s claim to true sovereignty might be – at least in the eyes of Harper’s Conservative government.

News Links
“Research station hopes high for Arctic town,” Montreal Gazette
“Resolute Bay Gets Big Upgrade to Polar Continental Shelf Project,” Nunatsiaq Online

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