Giant Mine Remediation
All land and water surrounding Giant Mine is slated for full remediation by the federal government, in partnership with the territorial government and other stakeholders. This Giant Mine Remediation Project includes treating a portion of the land occupied by GSSC and all waters in the immediate area. Once started, the Project will require the Club to move its assets out of the remediation area, the boundary of which runs halfway through the Club’s leased property. The project could start as early as 2023.
The Club is cooperating with all levels of government and other stakeholders to ensure boaters have continued access to Great Slave Lake from Back Bay, and to secure the Club’s re-occupancy of its current property following remediation.
As of June 1, 2020, our understanding is as follows:
- Officially, the Club has been notified that the Project may begin as early as 2023, requiring all boats and assets to be relocated by Lift-Out 2022. Unofficially, the project will likely not start until 2025 - this is yet to be confirmed by the project leads.
- The Club is currently an "overholding tenant" of its current property. A renewed sublease cannot be considered until all governments sign an access agreement. As part of this agreement, it is now being negotiated that GNWT assume the land and all subleases temporarily, meaning the Club may eventually have a renewed sublease through GNWT.
- All governments have indicated interest in the Club remaining at its current location following remediation, and the Project has promised to return the property and immovable assets (ie, the wharf) in as-good or better condition.
- Remediation of the immediate area is expected to take 10-12 years. During this time, the Project will alternate its work between the Club property and the Town Site boat launch, and adjacent properties will be reserved for temporary storage of boats and assets as needed.
- While the Club property is remediated, all boats (Club and public) will have access to Back Bay from the Town Site boat launch.
- While the Town Site boat launch is remediated, the public will have access to Back Bay from the Club property. A suitable boat launch will be built as part of the Project, and detoured access via the Club is expected to be in 1-2 stages, each taking 1-2 years to complete.
In December 2019, all governments (project leaders) expressed a desire to see the Club return to its property following remediation. City administrators also suggested that a more long-term arrangement for Club tenancy could be possible. The City also noted that their continued search for access points to Great Slave Lake (eg, Con Mine) is to maximize access and not to replace existing access points.
The Club has existed at its current Back Bay site since it was incorporated in 1987.
Remediation of Giant Mine became a real prospect in 2007, when the federal government submitted plans for approval by the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. In 2014, the City of Yellowknife completed an Environmental Assessment of the project, and the project garnered public attention. Since 2014 (and earlier), the Club had anticipated that the remediation project would interrupt boat access and storage at its property and it has been an invited stakeholder in remediation talks.
Starting in 2018, the Club's pervue of the Project's plans and intentions was limited, and frustrations about the Club's uncertain future increased. Limited information provided to the Club insinuated that the project – beginning as early as 2021 – would effectively close water access at the Club and the public dock for up to 10 years. It was also understood that the City and other parties were seeking a “residential” standard of remediation, which perpetuated rumours that the current Club property could be rezoned for private/residential use. Throughout the 2019 boating season, limited communication with the Project continued and members began to understand that the Club's survivial through remediation was questionable and that members may be unable to launch and use their boats for up to 10 years and may lose their investments entirely.
In September 2019, lines of communications between governments and stakeholders were rejuvenated, and consultations with the Club helped to alleviate fears and dispel rumours regarding the future of the Club and the public boat launch. As of December 2019, the Club understands that uninterrupted public access to Back Bay is a priority for all levels of government, that all governments are interested in the Club continuing indefinitely at its current location, and that the impact of remediation to the Club will be significantly less than feared earlier in the year.
Parties & Stakeholders
|GMOB||Giant Mine Oversight Board|
|CIRNAC||Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada||Natalie Plato
Deputy Director, Giant Mine Public Forum
|ENR||Environmental & Natural Resources (GNWT)||Erika Nyyssonen
Senior Advisor, Giant Mine
|Lands||Department of Lands (GNWT)||Robert Marchiori
Manager, Commissioner's Land
|City||City of Yellowknife||Sheila Bassi-Kellett
Senior Administrative Officer
|YKDFN||Yellowknives Dene First Nation|
|GSSC||Great Slave Sailing Club||Chuck Jeffery
Chair, Remediation Committee
|GSYC||Great Slave Yacht Club||Evan Walz
|YHS||Yellowknife Historical Society|
The Board will continue updating members by email and this webpage as the remediation project develops.