This is page numbers 5839 - 16 of the Hansard for the 18th Assembly, 3rd Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was work.

Topics

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season
Oral Questions

Page 5854

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

I appreciate the update. It is good to know what is going on and how the logistics of preparation for shipping. I understand that our only rail line to the Northwest Territories is interrupted. If the rail line is interrupted, how will fuel come north, and what is the department doing about this?

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season
Oral Questions

Page 5854

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As we have updated the House last week, we know the rail line is down with the bridge burning down at Steen River and a number of the rails are being warped. That work is being performed. As I have said, we are working with the trucking companies to bring petroleum products to Hay River. The department is in daily communication with our fuel supplier, Imperial Oil, regarding the impact of the recent interruption of rail services to the Northwest Territories. Imperial Oil is working closely with CN, with the trucking companies, and with their customers to maintain the supply of fuel into the territory. This is a priority for them as well as for us.

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season
Oral Questions

Page 5854

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

I recall last year when we were talking about the cancellation and possibly shipping by truck and what the cost would be, definitely more expensive. Will the change from shipping fuel by rail to trucking fuel cause a delay in the barge departures or deliveries in the Nunakput region this year?

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season
Oral Questions

Page 5854

Wally Schumann Hay River South

At this time, Marine Transportation Services does not foresee any significant delay in the delivery of fuel to Hay River or delay in the sailing schedule. The department is working closely with the fuel supplier, with CN and the truckers, and has an alternate supply of sources and transportation plans in place. However, the situation is fluid and can change very quickly.

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season
Oral Questions

Page 5854

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Final oral question. Member for Nunakput.

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season
Oral Questions

Page 5854

Herbert Nakimayak Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate that. Last year, the ice definitely had a big impact on shipping. I understand that trucking fuel is more costly than transporting by rail. Can the Minister tell me what impacts this will have on fuel prices for the communities of the Northwest Territories? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season
Oral Questions

Page 5855

Wally Schumann Hay River South

Yes. It does cost more to truck the fuel versus moving it by rail. However, Imperial Oil has stepped up to the plate on this. They have told us that they will pay the extra costs for transporting the fuel. They will also move the fuel by truck and will manage the transportation. The Government of the Northwest Territories will only be paying for the original rail rates for the fuel supplied to the Government of the Northwest Territories for 2019 barge season. There is no impact on the price of fuel in the communities that are served by the Government of the Northwest Territories through the Petroleum Products Program. We owe a thanks of gratitude to Imperial Oil for stepping up to the plate for the residents. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 777-18(3): 2019 Marine Transportation Services Shipping Season
Oral Questions

Page 5855

The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Oral questions. Member for Kam Lake.

Question 778-18(3): Bellanca Building
Oral Questions

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Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In recent weeks, there has been media reporting about the demolition of the Bellanca Building in downtown Yellowknife. This has been part of our skyline for many years, and many residents have been concerned about tearing down what seems to be a viable asset and whether or not there are options to convert it to, some of the ideas that have been brought forward, student housing, a university campus, or transitional housing or low-income housing. I would like to ask the Minister of Infrastructure if the GNWT has considered the Bellanca Building as an asset for any of its projects. Thank you.

Question 778-18(3): Bellanca Building
Oral Questions

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The Deputy Speaker R.J. Simpson

Thank you. Minister of Infrastructure.

Question 778-18(3): Bellanca Building
Oral Questions

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Wally Schumann Hay River South

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I knew we would get questions on this one. This was raised in the newspaper with the Bellanca Building coming down. Now, we have to make one thing quite clear: it is a privately owned business. They own this asset. We are actively leasing space off the Bellanca Development Corporation in other buildings that they own in Yellowknife. They have never made anything aware to us as a government about this building. They haven't used it to bid on other projects in the Northwest Territories, or in Yellowknife, I guess.

For us as a government to look at this as an asset to use for something around the polytechnic university or other things in Yellowknife, we haven't had a viable look at this. We have to go through our processes, get money through the House to be able to move on a number of these projects in the Northwest Territories. The short answer is no, we haven't done that. If we were to do that, we would have to have a good, hard look at this because this is an older building. I suspect there are deferred maintenance issues on this building and hazardous material, depending on what type of renovation a person would have to do on this thing. At this point, we have not clearly had a look at this thing. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 778-18(3): Bellanca Building
Oral Questions

Page 5855

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

I do share the Minister's caution. It is not all that appropriate for governments to reach in to private commercial matters, but there is some precedent when it is useful to government such as MTS. We bought those assets, and now we are using it. If there is a real need for a campus, could this be an opportunity to start fresh? I appreciate what the Minister is saying.

Now, there is some concern, as well, that the public has brought forward around demolition and all that material that as the Minister said, may or may not be hazardous going to the Yellowknife landfill and potentially being an environmental concern. Is the Minister aware of any procedures the GNWT has in place to assist in assessing those concerns if they do present a risk to the public?

Question 778-18(3): Bellanca Building
Oral Questions

Page 5855

Wally Schumann Hay River South

We have a lot of environmental regulations in place that the developer would have to follow if they were going to dispose of this building. They are going to have to deal with the City of Yellowknife, I suspect, around municipal waste disposal bylaw requirements. There are a number of environmental issues that would have to be taken into consideration on their side as well as probably ours and the City of Yellowknife if this building was to be ripped down.

Question 778-18(3): Bellanca Building
Oral Questions

Page 5855

Kieron Testart Kam Lake

Thank you to the Minister for that clarification. The Minister hasn't looked at this. Has any analysis been done on it, not just on whether it is for a GNWT project, but just on the viability of the building as a commercial development? The GNWT rents space from this development corporation. Is there any reason why they are not renting space in this particular asset?

Question 778-18(3): Bellanca Building
Oral Questions

Page 5855

Wally Schumann Hay River South

As I have said, they have not looked at any GNWT lease procurement opportunities with this building for office space proposals. We are not aware of any department that is looking for incremental space at this point. I don't believe there is any funding available to do that at this point. A lot of this is all speculation in the paper about what is going to happen with this building. I don't mind having a conversation with the Member if there is an opportunity to have a look at this thing for other projects that the Government of the Northwest Territories is having a look at, but that would be early days. We would have to look at a number of things, I think, to look at this thing. We would have to look at the operational needs, the technical upgrades that would have to take place on this type of building to meet those requirements, all these sorts of things. As the Member knows, the siding fell off there last year. There are code deficiencies, deferred maintenance issues. There are a lot of different things that we would have to have a look at, but I am willing to have those conservations.