The Department of Community and Government Services’ (CGS) capital budget for 2022-‘23 rings in at $58.2 million and includes $17.2 million to continue with the design and construction of an undersea fibre link between Iqaluit and southern Canada.

Other major expenditures built into the budget are:

-$10.5 million for water and wastewater treatment facility projects in Arviat, Baker Lake, Kugluktuk, and Rankin Inlet;

-$5.5 million ongoing annual block funding for non-tax-based municipalities towards the Municipal Mobile Equipment Program;

-$4.5 million to begin construction of a new hamlet office in Sanikiluaq;

-$4 million for Iqaluit towards infrastructure improvements in water, wastewater, roads and general operations — marking the final year of a five-year block funding agreement with the city;

-$2 million in municipal capital block funding for non-tax-based municipalities to plan and manage their capital upgrades and improvements;

-$2 million to launch a Municipal Parking Garage Program;

-$1 million to implement year four of the Municipal Green Infrastructure Fund that was introduced in 2019

An anticipated $30 million in capital funding towards the design and construction of a new tank farm in Arviat has been postponed by a year because the community needs more time to determine an appropriate site, according to CGS Minister David Joanasie.

The undersea fibre link project, with a projected $209.5-million overall price tag, elicited many questions and much discussion. As it stands, the initiative would be owned and controlled solely by the Government of Nunavut. MLAs asked about the possibility of partnering with Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, which wrote a letter to the GN broaching the prospect, or with a private entity like CanArctic.

“At this time we are proceeding with this project and anticipate that if there are any partnership opportunities with Inuit organizations or other interested parties, it will be on this project that we’re presenting here today,” Joanasie said, refusing to provide details on the route or terminus point of the link in southern Canada, only saying that it’s “undersea.”

The project is expected to be complete in 2025.

The minister also explained why the CGS capital budget has risen drastically compared to last year.

“We are seeing a huge increase to our capital spending for this department and, as was noted by the standing committee’s opening comments, by over 119 percent. We are trying to progress on our capital needs, from the planning through to construction and completion,” said Joanasie.

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