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Contract for Canadian High Arctic Research Station awarded

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A joint venture between EllisDon Corporation and NCC Dowland Construction Ltd has been awarded a contract by the federal government to manage the construction of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS).

A joint venture between EllisDon Corporationand NCC Dowland Construction Ltd has been awarded a contract by the federal government to manage the construction of the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS

“With a strong research presence in Canada’s Arctic that serves Canada and the world, we will be able to advance Canada’s knowledge of the Arctic in order to improve economic opportunities, environmental stewardship and the quality of life of Northerners and all Canadians,” said Leona Aglukkaq, who is the Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council.

The Canadian government is in the process of establishing a research station in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

The new $142-million facility will provide a year-round presence in the region, anchor the network of research infrastructure in the north and demonstrate sovereignty over Canadian territory.

The CHARS station will be a cluster of buildings that includes a main research building, a field and maintenance building and two triplexes where scientists will live.

The project involves the construction of a research station, which consists of public spaces, laboratories and their support spaces. The public spaces will include a large, multipurpose knowledge sharing room, interview rooms, a kitchen, a cafeteria and a reception area.

This public area is meant to be a welcoming space, a community space and a drop-in centre

The joint venture firm will begin construction this fall and the facility is expected to be operational by 2017 to coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary. Construction of the station is expected to generate up to 150 jobs.

The contract to provide Advisory Services for the CHARS’ design was awarded to the joint venture firm in June 2013.

Under the terms of the contract, an amendment valued at $85 million was made that will enable the company to take on the additional role of construction manager and ensure the project moves forward seamlessly into the construction phase.

Despite construction challenges such as remoteness and a short summer season, CHARS will be constructed with the hopes of achieving a LEED Gold Certification.

The CHARS 3D model was based on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) principles, which is an Inuktitut word that means “what has always been known by the Inuit”.

It represents a set of life principles and traditional smart design features that have been used by the Inuit in the High Arctic for generations.

One aspect of this type of design, called bio-climatic principles, is building with nature rather than against it. This takes into account the harsh weather conditions of the High Arctic including powerful wind, strong rain, and relentless snow. This led to the compact, low to the ground design of the buildings.

Members of the Cambridge Bay community were invited to have a look at the 3D model of CHARS on March 6.

Cambridge Bay is a remote northern community located in Nunavut’s Arctic Coast Region on the southern shore of Queen Victoria Island in Canada’s far north.

The community has a population of about 1,500 and serves as the regional commercial centre for the region.

The CHARS Science and Technology research program will focus on national priorities identified as part of Canada’s Northern Strategy to foster sound social, economic and environmental stewardship of the Arctic through traditional and solutions-driven initiatives.

by Richard Gilbert

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