In an effort to make Inuvik’s Mike Zubko Airport more resilient to the effects of climate change, both the territorial and federal governments announced on June 28 that they are investing $22 million to help improve the airport’s infrastructure.
“It’s important to take action, but it’s also important to also start planning for the future. That’s why it’s important to know that Canada is your partner in mitigating the risk of extreme future weather,” said Michael McLeod, the MP for the NWT.
The investment will go towards widening the airport’s runway and taxi embankments, as well as protecting the permafrost below the airport’s surface by improving the airfield’s drainage system, which will direct water away from vulnerable areas.
McLeod revealed that the federal government is contributing $16.5 million into the project through their Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, while Inuvik Boot Lake MLA Alfred Moses announced that the GNWT will provide the remaining $5.5 million.
“Here in the North, you see the impacts of climate change everyday. Whether it’s permafrost affecting our runways, shorter winter road seasons or spring floods,” said Moses. “The territorial government is pleased to be working closely with the government of Canada on a proactive approach to climate change.”
He added that the airport has played a critical role in bringing communities together and building businesses in the Beaufort Delta Region.
“By creating a transportation system that is more resilient to the effects of climate change, we are investing in the safety and well-being of everyone here in the North,” he said.
Inuvik airport manager Jason MacNeil said that they’ve had a history of dealing with dips in the airport’s runway.
“We’ve had to redirect some drainage around the airport as well in the past couple years,” said MacNeil.
While a timeline for the project has yet to be revealed, McLeod said that the renovations will help increase the airport’s resiliency for years to come.
“I’m very proud that we’re taking the action to keep residents safe and protect the communities we built,” he said. “This is just one example of how we’re making our communities stronger and more resilient.”