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New delay in construction of Nunavut military port blamed on coronavirus pandemic

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The construction of a new military refuelling station in the Arctic is facing yet another delay more than 13 years after it was first promised by the federal government.

Stephen Harper first announced plans to build the Nanisivik deep-water port in Nunavut along with up to eight armed Arctic patrol vessels in 2007.

The long-standing expectation was that the port located on Baffin Island about 20 kilometres from Arctic Bay would be ready when the first of those ships was finally delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy.

Read more: Canadian Navy to welcome first Arctic and offshore patrol ship on Friday

Yet while the first Arctic patrol vessel was handed over to the navy on Friday after numerous delays and cost overruns, the Department of National Defence says the facility won’t be ready until 2022.

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Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande blamed travel difficulties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic for the latest delay, which follows numerous environmental and structural problems over the years.

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The port was originally supposed to include an airstrip and staffed year-round, but both plans were dropped after the project’s $ 116-million budget was found to have more than doubled to $ 258 million in 2013.

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