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Madam Speaker, the 19th Legislative Assembly is committed to making strategic infrastructure investments that connect our communities, expand our economy, and reduce the cost of living. From highways to airports to buildings, I would like to provide an update today on the significant progress our government has made to improve public infrastructure across the territory.
Our government has improved over 200 kilometres of highway this year. We have completed 105 kilometres of new chipseal surface on Highway No. 1, and reconstructed the Inuvik Airport Access Road. Residents can expect a smoother and safer driving experience.
These improvements were made possible by funding from the Government of Canada’s New Building Canada Plan. I thank our federal colleagues for their continued collaboration and support.
In addition to improving the existing highway system, over 85 kilometres of embankment has been constructed for the new all-season road to Whatì, which is scheduled to open next fall. This project is now more than 70 per cent complete; a great accomplishment, particularly during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Madam Speaker, airports are an essential part of our transportation system. Communities across the North depend on air travel for the movement of goods and people, air ambulances, search and rescue, forest fire response, and much more. Airports also play a role in supporting economic opportunities.
This fiscal year, over 16 million dollars was invested to enhance operations and services at 13 of our airports, including drainage and runway improvements and the replacement of older equipment.
Three major capital projects are in the works at the Inuvik Mike Zubko Airport. A new air terminal building is planned to open in 2023. At the same time, improvements will be made to the airfield drainage, which will increase the resiliency of the airport to the effects of climate change. The design of a 3,000-foot runway extension is moving ahead as planned, on behalf of the Department of National Defence.
Madam Speaker, we will continue to invest in our public buildings. Several major projects are underway across the territory, including a multi-year project to replace the École J.H. Sissons School in Yellowknife. Our department is working with the Department of Education, Culture, and Employment on this project, which will result in a larger, more modern and accessible facility for students.
In Tuktoyaktuk, another school project is underway. Our government is in the process of renovating and expanding the Mangilaluk School. The project will increase the school’s capacity, improve site access, upgrade aging buildings systems, and will include a community library space and a new gymnasium.
A tender to complete the tenant improvements at the Stanton Legacy Building is scheduled to close on November 6, 2020 with an estimated completion schedule of spring 2022.
Madam Speaker, infrastructure projects will continue to play an important role in the economic recovery of the Northwest Territories post-COVID-19. These projects provide business and employment opportunities for our residents, boosting the economy while delivering the critical infrastructure that this territory needs to provide key programs and services to our residents.
Quyanainni, Madam Speaker.