Project Profiles in the Northwest Territories

Learn more about some of the projects in Northwest Territories by selecting a community name:

Smoothing the way for community traffic

Resurfacing and widening roads in Aklavik

Project location: Hamlet of Aklavik

Aklavik is a remote and beautiful Northwest Territories community tucked away on the north side of the Mackenzie Delta.

Due to its exceptional location on the Peel River, Aklavik was once considered a key transportation and trapping centre. The city also gained attention as home to the legendary "Mad Trapper," the silent trapper who, in 1931, led the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the longest man hunt in Canadian history.

Today, there are troubles of a different sort.

The Dempster Highway is the only road connected to the Delta, but it begins on the other side of the Peel River. For this reason, Aklavik is only accessible for road vehicles during the winter months when an ice road is created on the frozen river. For many months each year, community traffic is confined within the village, where local roads were in very poor shape.

With support from the federal government's Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, Aklavik's roadways have now been resurfaced and widened. New culverts were also added to improve road drainage and safety.

This project aims to stimulate new development in both the residential and industrial areas of Aklavik and enhance this northern community.

Federal contribution: $233,000

Another project complete in Inuvik

Project location: Inuvik

Another project has been completed through the Economic Action Plan, adding to the list of projects that are finished across the country.

Land of the Midnight Sun and Gateway to the Beaufort-Delta, Inuvik is located 2 degrees above the Arctic Circle on the scenic Mackenzie River and Delta. It is the government, transportation and tourism centre of the Western Arctic, and the main headquarters for the oil and gas industry operating in the Beaufort Sea/Mackenzie Delta.

For Inuvik, the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund provided $349,000 to support the town's $2.8-million program to resurface its roads. Few of the community's roads are currently paved and the gravel surfaces require extensive maintenance, especially after rainy weather and spring thaws. Residents have also often complained about noise and dust associated with gravel roads.

With work now complete on this project, the federal government has helped Inuvik get closer to its goal of paving the majority of its streets. In addition to addressing residents' concerns, bringing the road network up to modern standards is benefiting Inuvik's citizens, businesses and tourists alike.

Federal contribution: $349,000

Maintaining the warm welcome at Nitainlaii Territorial Park

The log Reception Building at Nitainlaii Territorial Park in Inuvik

Project location: Inuvik

The log reception building at Nitainlaii Territorial Park will continue to welcome visitors for years to come. A $76,500 federal contribution through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund funded its renovation.

Located in Inuvik, NT, Nitainlaii Territorial Park runs along the Dempster Highway en route to the Arctic Ocean. The park's campground overlooks the Peel River, nine kilometres from Fort McPherson.

The reception building is a traditional log structure. It houses the Visitor Information Centre, which provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Gwich'in Dene, past and present, through guided tours from a local Gwich'in elder.

Repairs and renovations to the building included roof repairs, painting and general maintenance to improve security and its overall appearance. The improvements reflect the Government of Canada's commitment to work with the Northwest Territories to provide local communities improved local infrastructure, local jobs and opportunities to increase tourism.

Federal contribution: $76,500

Investing in northern communities

Project location: Kakisa

Kakisa, also known as the Ka'a'gee Tu First Nation, is a growing community of about 55 residents. The town is struggling to attract newcomers and retain youth due to a shortage of housing in the area.

In the fall of 2010, the community took steps to provide more housing development opportunities within the community boundaries. With a financial contribution from the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund secured, the community cleared brush and bought gravel to create roads and building pads. Surface drainage grading and ditching followed. The new subdivision is ready for new home construction.

With this investment, the federal government is supporting healthy, liveable communities in Canada's North.

Federal contribution: $125,000

Federal Gas Tax Fund providing better roads in the North

Pile of chips for sealing, with trees in the background

Project location: Lutsel k'e

The remote, fly-in community of Lutsel k'e is a Chipewyan settlement on the eastern arm of Great Slave Lake and one of the northernmost freshwater fishing destinations in the world.

When it comes to local transportation, snowmobiles are an ideal choice for much of the year, but during the short summer months, more transportation options open up for the community's 350 residents.

In recent years, the dusty gravel roads of this community have benefited from an ongoing chip-sealing program. Chip sealing is a cost-effective way to smooth out roads and reduce dust. It not only improves driver safety, but also air quality.

The federal Gas Tax Fund has helped Lutsel k'e and several other northern communities improve their local road infrastructure through similar projects in recent years.

As well as cutting down on dust and potholes, the treatment improves roadway drainage and reduces wear-and-tear on vehicles. It is an ideal alternative to paving, which is too expensive for many remote communities.

Building economic bridges to the North

Bridge on the Mackenzie Valley Winter Road

Project location: Mackenzie Valley

The Government of Canada is funding improvements to the Mackenzie Valley Winter Road through the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund.

This important piece of northern infrastructure currently operates only during the winter months when creek beds and soft tundra are frozen solid. The project involves strengthening the road structure and building 10 or more permanent, all-season bridges.

Creating an all-weather link through the Mackenzie Valley has been a longstanding priority. Extending the amount of time the highway can be used will greatly improve the flow of goods and services, helping to reduce the cost of living for residents. It will make businesses more competitive and increase opportunities to diversify the economy in remote northern communities.

The Mackenzie Valley Winter Road is also a vital link to the Northwest Territories' oil, gas and mineral resources, as well as water flows with hydroelectric power potential.

Improving the highway will facilitate quick responses to emergencies in the region, and support the safety and security of the Western Arctic.

Federal contribution: The Northwest Territories' total federal allocation for initiatives under the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund agreement is $185.8 million.

Sewage leaks stopped in Norman Wells

Project location: Norman Wells

A utilidor is an above-ground corridor built to carry utility lines, such as water, electricity and sewer lines. Utilidors are a necessity in many northern communities, where burying infrastructure is avoided due to permafrost.

Norman Wells, a Northwest Territories town of 800 people, needed to replace the sewage pipes in its utilidors. At least 50 residences and two major businesses were at high risk of property damage due to chronic flooding and sewer back-up problems.

This is where the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund made a difference. Thanks to federal funding, the city was able to examine the sewer deterioration and identify the pipes that needed to be replaced. Work also consisted of scouring, pressure cleaning and repairing other pipes.

The investment is expected to extend the system's life span by at least another 20 years.

Federal contribution: $400,000

Laying the trails to points beyond

An upgraded trail in the North Slave Region of the Northwest Territories

Project location: North Slave Region

In the heart of the Northwest Territories is Yellowknife. Home to some 20,000 people, the capital city is known for its beauty and rich outdoor recreational opportunities. With the right amount of energy and bug spray, tourists and locals can enjoy the moderate to highly challenging hiking trails.

With financial support from the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, three trails were repaired and upgraded with improved signage. The first two paths lead to points of interest such as the 17 metre waterfall at the end of Cameron Falls Trail, and the rapids along Cameron River Ramparts Trail. The third is the Prospector's Trail, found in the heart of Yellowknife, which provides a two-hour exploration of the lives and adventures of early miners.

Federal contribution: $65,000

Solar power initiative supported by federal Gas Tax Fund

Paulatuk solar panels

Project location: Paulatuk

The local youth centre in the Hamlet of Paulatuk is one of a number of facilities in the Northwest Territories now capturing solar rays to feed electricity back to the power grid.

Many isolated northern communities are heavily dependent on fossil fuels for their energy needs. Although they are reliable systems using diesel, natural gas and heating oil are all losing their appeal for a variety of reasons. Environmental impacts account for some of this decline, but rising commodity prices are also supporting a push toward renewable and sustainable energy sources.

In recent years, solar power has been gaining prominence across the Northwest Territories as an alternative source of electricity. Despite having short winter days, northern communities are well suited to solar energy systems. Solar panels work well in sub-zero temperatures and the reflection of the sun's rays off the surrounding snow often causes the panels to surpass their expected energy output.

In addition to supplementing traditional energy sources, solar-powered systems can provide revenue to further offset other high fuel costs. The environmental and economic benefits are a source of pride for many northern residents.

In helping a key local youth resource function more efficiently, the federal Gas Tax Fund has also enabled savings that could be invested back into expanding the centre's programs and services in the future.

Enhancing airport services in the North

The Yellowknife Airport

Project location: Yellowknife

Many northern towns are only accessible by air, particularly in the summer months when ice roads have thawed. The Yellowknife Airport serves as an access point for dozens of otherwise isolated communities. It can handle commercial aircrafts of any size and acts as a forward military operating base and emergency landing site.

Through the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund, the federal government helped finance a new Combined Services Building for this important regional transportation hub. The new facility houses a fire hall and maintenance garage, and provides emergency crews with direct access to the runways.

Design features include drive-through bays and a 180-degree view of the main runway for improved safety. High-efficiency mechanical and electrical systems are also now in place to reduce energy consumption.

This project provided airport staff with a modern, purpose-designed workplace and improved safety for the travelling public. The new building also supports Canada's goal of advancing economic and social development, as well as strengthening its sovereignty in the North.

Federal contribution: The Northwest Territories' total federal allocation for initiatives under the Provincial-Territorial Base Fund agreement is $185.8 million.