Igloolik company gets Nunavut Recovery Centre contract

Evan Schellenberg is the general manager of construction with Arctic Fresh Projects. (Photo courtesy of Evan Schellenberg )

The Government of Nunavut has awarded a contract to build the Nunavut Recovery Centre. 

The contract went to Arctic Fresh Projects, based in Igloolik, on June 22. The tender was put out in February and bids closed on April 6.

The company is part of Arctic Fresh an online retailer that ships groceries to Nunavut and recently started offering flights from Iqaluit to Igloolik and Sanikiluaq.

Pilitak Enterprises bid on the project for $77 million, while 5581 Nunavut Ltd. bid on the project for $89 million.

Arctic Fresh bid on the tender for $65 million, the lowest of three bids for the project.

The 24-bed trauma and addictions treatment centre will be built across from the Arctic Winter Games Arena in Iqaluit and will accept people from all over Nunavut.

More cost effective to use local labour

Evan Schellenberg, the construction manager at Arctic Fresh Projects, said construction likely won’t start this year because it’s too close to the sealift season.

“A lot of the sealfit is full already, there’s a lot going on in Nunavut this year. We will however be starting some of the civil work this year,” he said.

Schellenberg said groundwork like moving rocks, clearing a road and putting in water and sewer infrastructure will start this summer. The Iqaluit-based company Tower Arctic will do that work, he said.

“We’re going to be pushing to get as much done as we possibly can.”

He said that the company started renovating abandoned houses in Igloolik and is currently building the local housing authority building as well as a women’s and children’s shelter, both in Sanikiluaq.

It was also recently awarded the contract to renovate and build an addition to Sakku School in Coral Harbour.

According to the project tender, the recovery centre is required to have a minimum of 20 per cent Inuit labour force.

“We will exceed the minimum for sure,” Schellenberg said.

Schellenberg also said Arctic Fresh Projects will partner with a southern contractor to build the recovery centre.

“We lean on some of their ability that we don’t yet have the capacity for,” he said. “But we’re building that capacity.”

Arctic Fresh’s construction crew are all Inuit based in Nunavut, which Schellenberg believes contributes to keeping construction costs down.

“It’s always more cost effective to use the people in the communities where you’re building,” he said.

Training for Inuit counsellors

The Nunavut Recovery Centre was first announced in 2019 when the GN, the federal government and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. signed a declaration of intent to build it.

The federal government has also contributed $41 million toward it.

Once the centre is built, the federal government has promised to subsidize the operating costs of the centre with an additional $9.7 million annually.

NTI has also promised another $5 million to ensure Inuit participation in the creation of the centre’s programs.

Makigiaqta Training Corporation — a subsidiary of NTI —  will provide $11.8 million to train Inuit counsellors for the centre.

The recovery centre is supposed to be complete in 2025.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Tension easing in Mayo, Yukon as opioid emergency declaration nears expiry, CBC News

Finland: Finland’s alcohol consumption declines by 15%, Yle News

United States: Alaska’s drug problem worsening as police resources strained, Alaska Public Media

Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press

Reporter-Editor for The Canadian Press News in Iqaluit Formerly Nunatsiaq News

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