CHURCHILL, Man. — The federal government has chosen Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, as the home for the long-awaited High Arctic research station.
But by the time the first scientists move in, it will have been 10 years since the Conservative government first promised a multidisciplinary research centre to unlock the mysteries of the North.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was supposed to deliver the good news to the residents of Cambridge Bay at an announcement early Tuesday but heavy winds delayed his flight out of Churchill, Man.
“The Canadian High Arctic research station will be a meeting place for Canada’s top scientists and indeed for leading scientists from around the world,” Harper told reporters packed into the restaurant at a cosy lodge for an impromptu news conference.
“It will also inspire the imagination and ambitions of young Canadians and Cambridge Bay across the North.”
Ottawa carried out a $2-million feasibility study to determine which of the three communities was best suited for the year-round multidisciplinary facility.
Pond Inlet and Resolute were also in the running for the station, billed as a scientific hub for Canada’s North.
A further $18 million over five years was allocated in the 2010 budget for the pre-construction design phase.
The station is targeted to be operation by 2017, in time for Canada’s 150th anniversary.
That’s the same year the government is expected to deploy another star of its Arctic policy — a $720-million, made-in-Canada icebreaker.