Concept art of the proposed new Inuvik Airport terminal at Mike Zubko airport, which has been in the works since 2016. Construction of the new terminal is hoped to begin this summer.

Inuvik’s gateway to the world is getting a totally new look as a trio of planned upgrades are slated to start construction next spring.

Delegates Delia Chesworth and Tammy Allison explained what was in the works for Mike Zubko Airport at Town Council’s Jan. 29 regular meeting.

In total, three separate projects are in the works for the airport — a new terminal, a new runway and upgrades to the foundation and drainage as part of disaster mitigation planning.

“There’s quite a bit of money probably going to be invested in Inuvik in the next couple of years in three major projects,” said Chesworth. “Our first project is being funded under the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation fund the federal government initiated this past year. They termed climate change as one of the disasters that’s eligible for funding and we have a number of issues at the airport on the runway, so we have to have a fair amount of civil improvements to make.”

Those improvements involve providing more avenues for drainage to protect the underlying permafrost from changing temperatures as well as widening the runway’s safety areas and taxi embankments. Work on this is expected to begin in October and be complete by 2022.

Funding for the runway is mainly being provided by the Department of Defence. It will be extended by 3,000 feet to 9,000 feet long, making it capable of landing any existing size of aircraft. On top of this, the runway will be fully lit with L.E.D.s, making it far easier to see at night and in poor visibility. Construction on the runway is hoped to begin April, 2021 and be complete by 2024.


Built on the land currently occupied by the old RCMP building, which has been almost completely taken down, the new terminal will be a bit larger — 2,830 m2 to the current 2,000 m2. On top of this, the utility room will be a separate building, freeing up more space for the rest of the terminal and enabling the building to be lower to the ground for better accessibility. The system for moving baggage out to the tarmac is being re-worked to be more efficient and the restaurant is expanding from 39 to 54 seats. Construction on the new terminal is estimated to be beginning in July and be complete by 2023.

Current leases held with businesses and vending machine owners will remain in place until the contracts expire, then the bidding will be open to tender.

One new feature the airport will have is a section for Canada Border Security Agency, enabling the airport to process international flights. However, a security terminal of the scale seen in Yellowknife is not currently in the cards, though room is being allotted in case that changes in the future.

No plans for parking spaces for private aircraft are currently featured in the design, but with the space freed up by the demolition of the current terminal that could be in the cards for future development.

A more detailed public meeting of the plan is scheduled for the week of Feb. 17. A location for the meeting is to be determined.


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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