Canada continues Nunavut airport improvements | Polarjournal
Whale Cove is on the western shore of Hudson Bay (Map: Google Maps)

Canada’s government has announced that it will refurbish the gravel runway at the airport in the hamlet of Whale Cove, as part of an on-going billion-dollar plan to keep the country’s remote communities connected.

Especially in the North, Canada’s remote communities depend on well-maintained airports to keep them connected. These airports also support essential air services including community resupply, forest-fire response, air ambulance and search and rescue.

Canada’s regional airports are run by territorial and provincial officials . In Nunavut, like elsewhere, they struggle to raise enough revenue for operations, and to keep them going, federal officials have, since 1995, used C$1.2 billon (€89 million) from the Airports Capital Assistance Programme to fund over 1,000 projects at 199 airports. The most recent spending comes after an extra C$186 million was added to the programme in 2020 to ensure that small airports could carry out required safety improvements, despite revenue losses due to the pandemic.

In addition to the $4.4 million to repair the runway in Whale Cove, federal authorities will use $840,000 for plow trucks in Cambridge Bay and Coral Harbour, while another $210,000 will be used to purchase a snowblower for Clyde River.

The funding comes a year after the airports in Coral Harbour, Kimmirut, Pangnirtung and Rankin Inlet received a total of C$1.9 million as part of the programme.

“With Canada being such a large country, our airports are critical to keeping communities connected, especially in our Northern communities and territories. This investment in local and regional airports in Nunavut will ensure that residents across Nunavut continue to be able to see their loved ones and have access to essential air services. Our government made a commitment to Canadians to build safer, healthier and stronger communities as we rebuild from the pandemic, and, through investments like these, that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Omar Alghabra, the transport minister, said in a statement.

Kevin McGwin, PolarJournal

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