A rendering of what the Town of Inuvik's main office and fire hall will look like when upgrades are completed. The town is working on two sides of the building this year and installing new wheelchair accessible ramping in 2022. Screenshot courtesy Town of Inuvik.

Many summer capital projects are waiting on either federal funding or supplies. 

Town of Inuvik senior administrative officer Grant Hood told council April 14 a supply-drought of insulating foam for the piping is holding up work on the town’s utilidor replacement. 

Hood added that public works director Rick Campbell had been in constant contact with the lead engineer on the replacement project, Hood said a contractor had assured the town they were confident a supply would become available over the summer, but the town was waiting to see what will happen. 

“We are not going to give the approval to go ahead with the project unless that pipe is arrived in Edmonton and is ready to go to be shipped to Inuvik,” he said. “The utilidor project is an all or nothing. We can’t do a little bit this year and a little bit next year. We don’t want to get started on something and then find out ‘oops.’” 

More swimming pool complications

Cost estimates for the swimming pool have increased to $750,000 from the $550,000 estimated in the fall. The town had applied for funding from Ottawa to make the repairs and Hood said the town was expecting to hear a decision “relatively soon.” 

In the event Ottawa says no, Hood said the town had a contingency plan using internal reserves to complete the work, which will now include raising one area of the wall and modifying the surrounding area to prevent tripping hazards. The town is replacing concrete piping with new piping around the walls and is also replacing the liner for the pool.

“We are expanding the coverage of the liner,” added Hood. “That is a bigger part of the scope of the project.” 

A third project awaiting money from the federal government is the Breynat Road upgrades. The plan is to widen the road and install crosswalk lights.

Major projects ready to go

On a positive note, many other major summer projects aren’t waiting for funding. 

Notably the town’s Hidden Lake biomass system, fully funded by Natural Resources Canada, is almost ready to go to tender. Work on the town office and fire hall was also ready for tender. Hood added the town was eligible for a $50,000 rebate from the Arctic Energy Alliance. 

Work will start with the front and one side of the building. Replacement ramps and front stairs will happen next year, alongside with the other two sides of the building. Hood said the town is splitting the work to ensure there’s enough funding to make the ramp fully wheelchair accessible. The town is eligible for the same rebate again next year. 

New piping installed at the Roy Sugaloo arena at the Midnight Sun Complex. Hood said he expects the new brine pump system to be installed by the end of the month. Screenshot courtesy Town of Inuvik.

Another project the town is eager to start on is sidewalk replacement, carried over from 2020 because of the pandemic. New ‘Frick’ control panels are on the way for the Midnight Sun Complex. Town staff are also installing a replacement brine pump and piping for the arena. Hood expects the new piping to be ready by the end of the month. 

“That is the real name, Frick,” said Hood. “It’s gonna make a big, big difference as to issues that we’ve got going forward. The Frick controls are the brains of how a lot of this works so they’re being updated as well.” 

Delivery of new sign expected before spring thaw

An image of the Town of Inuvik’s new gateway sign under construction in Edmonton. The sign will still be painted and furnished before being shipped to Inuvik, which is anticipated before spring thaw. Screenshot courtesy Town of Inuvik.

With the new performance pavilion already standing, Hood said the town is budgeting $1.53 million to finish upgrades to Chief Jim Koe Park — including landscaping and interior work on the pavilion. Engineering is also nearly complete on the new Arctic Market building. The new gateway sign, the most talked about of the many summer projects Inuvik has been waiting for, is under construction in Edmonton. It will be up by end of summer.

“While it would be tight,” said Hood. “They’re anticipating the sign being delivered before the spring road closure.” 

One last project this year is a significant energy and heating improvement to the town’s water treatment plant. Funding from INAC Northern Reach program for a Glycol Heat exchanger will put waste-heat to work warming the building. The town is also installing stratification fans in the ceiling to mitigate heat waste through the roof. Construction on the cost-saving system will begin this year.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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