March 16, 2015

Arctic sovereignty setback: Nanisivik naval facility delayed until 2018

Jonathan WadeRebel Commentator

The Nanisivik naval facility, located near the Arctic Bay in Nunavut, has again been delayed until 2018.

Announced in 2007 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the facility has been designed to welcome Royal Canadian Navy ships for refueling and restocking goods.

National Defence spokeswoman Dominique Tessier said that, "The target date was adjusted to 2018 after they completed initial site investigations ... to ensure all requirements of the facility could be met."

Located approximately 3,100 km north of Ottawa, the Nanisivik naval facility is a step forward by the Conservative government to ensure Canadian Arctic sovereignty. The facility will keep the warships at sea for a longer period of time—increasing our military presence in the area.

Since no airstrip will be available for the Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft, they will land approximately 33 kilometers from the naval facility. Logistical supply runs could then be dispatched by ground vehicles.

The unheated warehouse and a smaller tank farm will receive minor upgrades. The upgraded housing will have a six person capacity which could be doubled in case of an emergency.

The Arctic facility will not be functional during the winter, giving no logistical possibilities for Canadian ships during the one of the most critical season in the Arctic, but there is a possibility to upgrade the facility so it becomes operational year-round.

While delays for the Nanisivik naval facility are a set back, it will become a turning point in Canadian Arctic sovereignty, especially with the current Russian militarization of the Arctic.

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commented 2015-05-05 23:32:07 -0400
Big time. Jean Chretien, just had tea with Putin. And the definition of treason is what?
commented 2015-04-25 21:15:06 -0400
We need to pick up the pace in the Arctic.
commented 2015-04-25 15:35:05 -0400
If this every gets off the ground, I wonder who the lucky contestants in the Armed Forces are who will get to man it – totally isolated, probably minus their families, and for how long at a stretch? Not to mention this facility probably could be overrun by a company of Russian infantry in about 30 minutes.

Unless we are serious enough about this to build a real, defensible base with proper infrastructure able to support a substantial permanent presence, we would be better off putting the money into more naval and air assets, and submarines that can actually stay under the ice (as in nuclear powered)…
commented 2015-04-22 13:42:13 -0400
Considering the escalation from Russia, isn’t 2018 too far off. It all sounds like a bit too little kinda too far down the road.
commented 2015-04-22 13:39:16 -0400
I’m sure Putin would love to have you Nicholas, you’re not gay are you?
commented 2015-04-15 21:16:03 -0400
Russia throws it weight around too much? The U.S. and NATO throw their weight around a lot too – I really think we should try to see things a little bit from the ‘other side of the fence’! Besides, you would be hard pressed to find a more conservative country than Russia! Perhaps we need to make friends?
commented 2015-03-18 13:26:24 -0400
Both the Government of Nunavut and the organization representing Inuit in Nunavut have suggested that the money would be better spend developing a deepwater port in either Iqaluit or Cape Dorset – an investment that would both boost Canada’s Arctic sovereignty claims AND provide considerable primary and secondary economic benefits to the Territory. Apart from some spin-off for Arctic Bay, it’s hard to see much real return for Nunavummiut in this initiative.
commented 2015-03-18 08:22:56 -0400
Hi Fraser.

1. I agree with the Norwegian (or EVEN Danish) Arctic offshore patrol ships. Irving Shipbuilding will never meet the deadlines and even if we are in a peacetime procurement period, I don’t believe in buying a frigate for three times the market prices only to create a few hundred jobs. We coul still have these jobs if we’d only awards upgrade and service contracts to the Canadian shipyards while saving more from buying ships (who are almost ready to sail right away) abroad.

2. We can’t build nuclear-powered ships due to the treaty of Ottawa.

3. I would go with LNG instead of Nuclear. A Nuclear plant would mean heavy installations with a large amount of peole working in it. Creating a LNG pipeline would be way more beneficial and we could use gas extracted in Canada.
commented 2015-03-17 19:41:55 -0400
Looking at the maps I agree with you. Now for the equipment we would need
1…Two floating dry docks 1 for Nansivik and 1 for Churchill Canada is to build a fleet of ice hardened patrol vessels based or a Norwegin design as you know to opperate a ship in the high Artic is not like we opperate down here
2…We are in the process of building 2 t0 3 heavy ice breakers, when we looked at thse vessels for the first time they were to nuclear powered but they are looking to build diesel powered.
3…In building up the north they will need electric power my choice is build a nuclear power plant also build the worlds largest LNG PLANT why to supply Europe with safe natural gas freeing them from the Russian bear. We could build an 800 mile pipeline to Churchil to ship the LNG and oil.
With your knowledge I look forward to your comments and suggestions
Enlightened Conservative.
commented 2015-03-17 13:25:44 -0400
Fraser, I do agree we need something in Eastern Arctic too. However, Nanisivik is more important for now. Canadian ships can always stop in Alaska for now. Nanisivik is very well placed but I agree that the govt. needs to start putting more time in our Arctic policy.
commented 2015-03-17 12:12:47 -0400
The ship in the photo is HMCS GOOSEBAY currently in the Caribean.
It has been the policy of both the Conservatives and the Liberals to develop the north. With Russia’s move into the Artic it is imperative that Canada act quickly to move forward with the development of the north. But doing it right is essential we do it right. If we are to opperate ships in the high Artic we would need a base and is Nansivik the right place? We would need a base in the Eastern Artic. My suggestion would be Churchill Manitoba it has already a harbor and rail link.
Enlighted Conservative
commented 2015-03-17 10:19:11 -0400
There are Joint Supply Ships planned for deployments outside our borders. A naval facility would be better due to the fact that ships could dock to resupply. refuel and evacuate sick or wounded sailors by air. The fact that our warships can dock facilitate resupplying in case of an agitated sea.
commented 2015-03-17 09:28:26 -0400
It seems to me that the navy could be kept at sea longer and without the danger of environmental degradation by building some new supply ships. Supplying warships at sea is not a new idea and in fact kept the German navy in the fight most of the war. Both ‘U-boats’ and surface ships ( Graf Spe and the mystery ‘U-boat’ found well inland in Labrador for example) were kept in action by open sea supply. The question is, do we really need to establish a base here or do we need to build more ships, both combat and supply?
commented 2015-03-17 07:19:36 -0400
Hugh – here’s an article I wrote about the Russian Arctic snap drills –
commented 2015-03-17 07:03:33 -0400
Hugh – Norway is currently its largest Arctic exercises since the 1960s. Norway is also changing their doctrine due to Russian aggression in the region. I am pretty sure it’s to counter the Norwegian exercise.
commented 2015-03-17 01:29:43 -0400
RIGHT!!!! Just on CTV news Russia is holding Arctic exercises with 20k army ,20 surface ships and up to 100 planes. this is to consolidate their arctic sovereignty. We station 6 and double to 12 in an emergency and it’s the one year anniversary of the Crimea invasion.
I’m not paranoid …just very very aware.
commented 2015-03-17 01:20:08 -0400
If all the Arctic Sea Ice melted like the Liberals, NDP, Elizabeth May, Al Gore and David Suzuki said it would by last year, it would have been much easier to develop and would probably be ready by now. Stéphane Dion said that is we did not act immediately the Ice would completely melt and it would be too warm for Polar Bears to survive, where is his green shift?
commented 2015-03-17 00:21:40 -0400
Hmmm … provided the Conservatives win again in 2015, this project could boost their prospects for the next election … but I’m ahead of myself.

I agree with Jim. Let’s get her done right the first time. And I want year-’round capacity. Russia throws its weight around too much as it is. We need to push back year ’round.
commented 2015-03-16 23:27:36 -0400
This should come as no surprise. The Arctic is a difficult place to develop and it has to be done right the first time. Delay is no problem but cancellation would be another matter!