Inuvik – Part II

Hope you enjoyed Part I of my trip to Inuvik.  Here’s part II, with a bit of information on what makes Inuvik so unique:

The site for Inuvik was chosen for its elevation above the Mackenzie River floor zone, ample space for an airport, freshwater lakes and navigable waters.  The community sits on a broad terrace between the East Channel of the Mackenzie River and the upland that forms the present-day Mackenzie Delta’s eastern boundary.

The town of Inuvik is Canada’s largest community north of the Arctic Circle, and has a unique history as the first completely “engineered” northern community in the 1950’s to replace the flood-prone Aklavik as the region’s administrative centre.   Inuvik must content with the permafrost and extreme cold for buildings, water, sewer, roads and drainage.  The permafrost ground below Inuvik is “ice rich”, which means that when it partially melts, the ground may settle by hundreds of millimetres as it fills the voids left by the melting ice.  This settlement may cause major damage to buildings and pipes.  Therefore, all of the buildings and pipes in Inuvik are built on piles to provide a “thermal break” between the building and the ground.   The water and sewer mains, which are referred as “utilidor”, run along a dedicated right-of-way along the back of each lot along with the power poles that service each bu8ilding.  The service connections exit above ground from each building and resemble a large “metal centipede” as they connect to the water and sewer mains.  (excerpted from a Northern Territories Water and Waste Association Newsletter).

Altogether, the Town of Inuvik has 950 water and sewer connections, 16 km of above ground Utilidor and less than a kilometre of buried line. The older Utilidor lines, which are much bulkier, were installed in the late 1950s when the federal government built Inuvik.  Isn’t it interesting?

And here’s what they look like.

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IMG_1219The smoke is from a fire that consumed some housing units.

The next set of photos is from the Ice Road on frozen the frozen Mackenzie River delta channels and the frozen Arctic Ocean between the communities of Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk.  It services gas hydrate fields and exploration facilities at Mallik, Aput and Langley, along with ice-locked barges Wurmlinger and Arctic Star which act as bases of operations for ice road crews and exploration personnel.  In addition, the road is a key supply line for Tuktoyaktuk and the hamlet of Aklavik.  It is part of the Dempster Highway.  The rest of the Dempster Highway is on land and can be driven on through the summer.  Construction of an all-weather highway between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk commenced in April 2013.

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All in all, it was a fascinating trip and I loved every minute of it.  It was a bit difficult to leave.  It’s one of those places where you’ll love to go back but you don’t know if it’ll ever happen.  Next time, maybe I’ll drive!

I posted photos of the work done during the workshop in Instagram.  I look forward to seeing some photos of finished work.

Enjoy the great weather we’ll be having this weekend.  And keep quilting!

Ana

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