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Giant Mine project team sends rejection letters to claimants

2308sailing44.jpg Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo The Giant Mine public boat launch, which can see hundreds of boaters using the site on a summer weekend, is among the sites that will be closed to users when remediation takes place in 2023. The city filed for intent of seeking compensation for having access cut off. The city will need to find another boating facility for boaters that can access Great Slave Lake, however, that will require a feasibility study, which the municipality is unable to cover alone. Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo.

The federal government won't be coughing up any bucks to several claimants, including the City of Yellowknife, seeking compensation for reclamation work taking place at Giant Mine.

The Giant Mine remediation team announced its decision in a letter to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, Nov. 15. The city, along with several recreational boaters, were seeking millions of dollars in compensation after learning the public boat launch and nearby Great Slave Sailing Club would face potentially years of disruption while the remediation team cleaned up the shoreline. 

The remediation team has since advised that it will likely be able to keep at least some facilities open for users during the cleanup.

The Giant Mine Remediation Project team is proposing to block access to one of two public boat launches in the city starting in 2023, should the next phase of mine remediation take place. The Giant Mine location is the most popular site in the city and sees more than 100 boats, trailers, and vehicles per day throughout the months of June, July and August. NNSL file photo
The Giant Mine Remediation Project team sent a response letter to claimants for compensation associated with the team's water licence application to remediate the Giant Mine town site. The letter rejects millions of dollars in compensation claims, including the City of Yellowknife's efforts to seek financial assistance for a water pipeline and to numerous members of the Great Slave Sailing Club. NNSL file photo

The cleanup is expected to begin in 2021. 

Compensation claimants have until Dec. 5 to respond to the Giant Mine Project team's letter of rejection.

The response letter, signed by Natalie Plato, deputy director of the Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada Giant Mine Remediation Team, provides detailed responses to 25 parties who had sent compensation claims earlier this year explaining how they would be financially impacted by the cleanup. 

City of Yellowknife 

The municipality currently leases most of the Giant Mine town site area from the territorial government as it is Commissioner's Land. It also sub-leases to other parties, including the Yellowknife Historical Society and the Great Slave Sailing Club.

One of the worries over the past year has been the loss of access to the public boat launch - arguably the city's best and most popular access point to Great Slave Lake for boaters.

Last month, the project team stated in a letter to the City of Yellowknife that it is willing to rebuild a new public boat launch adjacent to the town site so that boaters can maintain its access to the big lake. 

The Giant Mine public boat launch, which can attract hundreds of boaters on a summer weekend, is among the sites that will be closed to users when remediation begins. The Giant Mine Remediation team has offered to build another one but rejected other financial compensation sent by the city in a Nov. 15 letter.
Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo

“The GMRP (Giant Mine Remediation Project) will make best efforts to maintain continuous public access to Great Slave Lake for boating through the Town Site Area during the boating season,” the letter states. “The GMRP proposes to achieve this by constructing a boat launch comparable to the existing one at the Giant Mine boat launch near the site of the GSSC, and to make sure that at least one of the existing or new boat launches will be accessible by the public over the duration of the project during the boating season.”

The city has also sought compensation in connection with its plan to replace its water pipeline to the Yellowknife River. The letter rejected the claims noting that "the city is suffering no immediate or future loss or damage from the proposed project activities. "
A request for an interview with the City of Yellowknife this week was declined as Mayor Rebecca Alty was unavailable. 

“I can confirm that the project team did file their responses to the numerous compensation claims that were filed,” stated Kerry Penney, director of economic development and strategy.  “The (Mackenzie Valley Land and Water) Board has requested additional information from the project team and the team has until Nov. 22 to file the requested information.”

Giant Mine Remediation Project members were unable to comment at press time.

Most of the claims came from sail boat owners, many of them unsure of where they will store their boats once they lose access to the sailing club. 

Yellowknifer attempted to reach several boat owners on Monday, but only received response from Ian McCrea, past commodore of the Great Slave Sailing Club.

He stated in an email that he was aiming to review the remediation team's letter before responding.