This is page numbers 4497 - 4544 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd 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 know.

Topics

Oral Question 1143-19(2): Infrastructure Issues at Ecole Boreale
Oral Questions

Page 4509

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Yellowknife North.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4509

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In my statement I talked about transparency in infrastructure budgeting, and I want to use the Whati Transmission Line as an example.

The Whati Transmission Line has been debated for years in this House. It's clear that millions of dollars have been approved because it appears in the main estimates debates year after year. It's clear that millions of dollars have been spent because there's talk of geotechnical and reporting and a feasibility assessments being done. Some Members have oft-repeated that it would be cheaper to introduce three hydro projects as opposed to one transmission line, which is a statement you can't evaluate because there's no public figure telling you how much the transmission line actually costs.

So my question is, after years of talking publicly about this line and the different costs and weighing the benefits, can we finally have an estimated cost of the Whati Transmission Line? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4509

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Yellowknife North. Minister responsible for Infrastructure.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

June 3rd, 2022

Page 4509

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Whati Transmission Line is a key initiative, and I'm going to keep saying this, under our 2030 Energy Strategy. This proposed project will occur 100 percent on Tlicho lands, and the GNWT and the Tlicho governments are committed to advancing this important project together.

The Department of Infrastructure and the Tlicho government recently began working together to be able to determine an acceptable routing corridor for the transmission line between the Snare Forks hydroelectricity facility and Whati. The tentative date for the completion of this part of the work is in fall of 2022. Once this routing corridor for the project is known, infrastructure and Tlicho will collaborate on preliminary engineering and design. This work will include internal preliminary capital costs estimates that reflects the design work and the routing corridor. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4509

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. You know, a "no" would have sufficed. I actually don't have any idea how much this project costs, and what we're talking about.

Can the Minister tell me how much money we've spent to date on this project and how much money this Assembly has approved? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4509

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I will go back to the department and see how much of that was spent. We're so early in the stages of this project, we're still working with Tlicho. We haven't decided on a route. There's so many different factors that are involved. Without us knowing that, we don't know how much it's going to cost. Thank you.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4510

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Yes, thank you, Mr. Speaker. I get that, you know, there's different classes of cost estimates and they have different specificity. You know, we know that the Fort Providence Transmission Line costs $60 million. The GNWT doesn't have that publicly anywhere but the federal government told us that when they gave us the money. So I'm just assuming we're in about the $60 million range of public money here. That's the assumption I operate on. But I would like to understand the reason when we pass money in this House for infrastructure projects we are not told the total cost publicly is that it would affect the tendering. And in this case, I want to know for a transmission line that is going to cost 10s of millions of dollars, and I think might even be a P3, whether there is in any actual real concern that the public figure of the total cost will affect tendering of this? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4510

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Yes, releasing internal construction costs estimates publicly before procurement has a strong potential to influence that process and could result in higher costs to the government. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4510

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary, Member for Yellowknife North.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4510

Rylund Johnson Yellowknife North

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to point out that every single municipal project ever has the total public amount released before tendering because it's approved by council. I want to note that every time the federal government announces money, we have the total amount because they announced it. Did we get mad at the federal government when they told us how much the Fort Providence Transmission Line was going to cost, which has not yet been tendered?

Mr. Speaker, additionally, we don't give public estimates and we don't give business cases. I don't know if there's actually a business case for this transmission line. And so my question is, is there a business case and is that something that could be shared publicly before we spend or approve millions more of public money? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4510

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Whati project is not being developed using a traditional business case. This project is part of an initiative under our 2030 Energy Strategy, to use federal dollars earmarked to displace diesel in our remote communities.

Fortunately, typical maintenance costs for a 60-kilometre transmission line are significantly less than the annual diesel fuel savings. That will result from converting the community of Whati from diesel to hydro power for the next 50 years.

As I mentioned, Mr. Speaker, in my response to the first question, this is an important investment that will reduce GHG emissions in the community and help stabilize the costs of energy going forward to the community of Whati. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1144-19(2): Cost of the Whati Transmission Line
Oral Questions

Page 4510

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Oral Question 1145-19(2): Hunters and Trappers Disaster Assistance Policy
Oral Questions

Page 4510

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of the Department of ENR.

Has the Minister's department completed the Hunters and Trappers Disasters Compensation Policy and when can we expect this policy publicly? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Oral Question 1145-19(2): Hunters and Trappers Disaster Assistance Policy
Oral Questions

Page 4510

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Minister responsible for Environment and Natural Resources.

Oral Question 1145-19(2): Hunters and Trappers Disaster Assistance Policy
Oral Questions

Page 4510

Shane Thompson Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Before I answer that, I'd like to thank both the MLAs from Yellowknife and the Speaker for keeping constant contact to me as we watched the river break up there. I mean, it was devastating. And my condolences to the residents that have been impacted.

Mr. Speaker, ENR is currently conducting review of the current Hunters and Trappers Disasters Compensation Policy, including program criteria, eligibility, and scope of operational guidelines. This review will build on past experiences, including recent flooding events in a number of communities across the Northwest Territories. The review is currently underway and will be shared publicly once updated. And I can guarantee the Regular Members will be getting that information as soon as it's ready to go. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.