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Sites considered for research station
Federal government examining four possible locations in Cambridge Bay

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, Oct 29, 2012

Four locations in Cambridge Bay are under consideration for the planned Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS).

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) is considering locating the proposed research station either on Airport Road, on Water Lake Road or on the road to Mount Pelly, explained Jim McEachern, economic development officer and hamlet representative on CHARS committee. He said the committee is considering two sites on Airport Road, and the Water Lake Road site is adjacent to the proposed Nunavut Arctic College campus expansion.

"These are the ones that have been identified mutually by the community and by CHARS, so there is no problem with any of these sites," said McEachern.

He said all the sites are integrated into the community; none of them are too far out of hamlet or have major construction issues.

Ottawa will invest $142.4 million over six years, beginning this year, for the construction of and equipment needed for CHARS, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced this summer. He said an additional yearly investment of $26.5 million, as of 2018-19, has been earmarked to operate the station and its programs.

Two Montreal-based firms - Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet and Associates as well as NFOE et associes architectes - operating as a joint venture will design and supervise the construction of the multi-disciplinary facility.

The architects and AANDC visited the community at the end of September, early October to assess the sites, said McEachern. He added they met with community members, who suggested the station be energy efficient and use sustainable alternative energies.

Geotechnical studies are currently underway but a site won't likely be selected until late this year or early next year, said McEachern. He said the architects are coming back sometime in November to ask for the community's vision for CHARS.

The High Arctic research station will operate a new science and technology program, employing between 35 and 50 seasonal, part-time and full-time staff, when it opens in 2017.

The federal government will invest $42.6 million over six years, starting in 2012, for the program, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced this past summer.

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