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Canada : Northwest Territories

The Northwest Territories is a territory of Canada. With a population of 41,462 in 2011 and an estimated population of 43,537 in 2013, the Northwest Territories is the most populous territory in Northern Canada.

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Northwest Territories Latest News
Regulatory superboard was a bad idea

With the introduction of Bill C-88 in the House of Commons on Nov. 8, the creation of a land, water and resource management superboard in the NWT has essentially ground to a halt. In 2014, the Harper government planned to collapse existing regional land and water boards and transfer regulatory authority to a single agency.... The post Regulatory superboard was a bad idea appeared first on...

With the introduction of Bill C-88 in the House of Commons on Nov. 8, the creation of a land, water and resource management superboard in the NWT has essentially ground to a halt.

In 2014, the Harper government planned to collapse existing regional land and water boards and transfer regulatory authority to a single agency. Those changes included rights to grant permits on traditional Indigenous lands. Not surprisingly, the idea of merging NWT regulatory boards met strong resistance from Indigenous governments, including the Tlicho, which was granted an injunction.

In tabling Bill C-88 earlier this month, Dominic LeBlanc, Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs minister, said the amendments “would help maintain the efficient, predictable and coherent management and use of land, water and natural resources in the North.”

And so it should. Control belongs in the hands of the people who live here and use the lands of the territory. Indigenous groups should be empowered to oversee their respective regions.

Federal regulatory boards have always been a dumping ground for patronage, where people get big bucks for little to no work. Oversight might as well be in hands of Indigenous governments. It certainly give them more credibility, while encouraging the Dehcho and Akaitcho to complete their land-claim agreements.

The GNWT’s role should be to facilitate those land claim negotiations to foster successful completion, not put up roadblocks that will add years to the process.

NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines executive director Tom Hoefer said in an interview with News/North that the issue at the forefront for the chamber is cost-recovery – what industries pay to the territorial government for doing business on GNWT lands. Hoefer urged the GNWT to refrain from creating regulations on cost recovery in an environment that already has high costs related to exploration and extraction.

There is a lot at stake. As the chamber of mines stated in regards to the Harper government’s Bill C-15 during devolution in 2014, “Exploration and mining continue to the present day to provide extensive employment, training and business opportunities for Northern residents, and confer significant additional economic benefits beyond the NWT on the other two territories and the provinces.”

It is up to our political leaders to ensure that the infrastructure, education and appropriate regulations are in place to ensure there’s fairness and a regulatory process that works for everybody involved.

Industry must shoulder its responsibility, of course – paying its dues, keeping environmental liabilities to a minimum and providing a maximum number of jobs to territorial residents. All of this will help lead us toward “a path forward for the strategic management of Arctic offshore oil and gas resources in collaboration with partners,” as LeBlanc stated in Parliament.

The post Regulatory superboard was a bad idea appeared first on NNSL.COM.



Preliminary inquiry underway for accused murderer

A preliminary inquiry for accused murderer Levi Cayen began in a Yellowknife courtroom last week. Cayen, 20, faces charges of first-degree murder and robbery in connection with the death of 25-year-old Alexander Norwegian. Norwegian’s body was found inside a vehicle on the access road to Sandy Creek on the Hay River Reserve on Dec. 28,... The post Preliminary inquiry underway for accused murderer appeared first on...

A preliminary inquiry for accused murderer Levi Cayen began in a Yellowknife courtroom last week.

Cayen, 20, faces charges of first-degree murder and robbery in connection with the death of 25-year-old Alexander Norwegian.

Norwegian’s body was found inside a vehicle on the access road to Sandy Creek on the Hay River Reserve on Dec. 28, 2017.

Preliminary hearings are used to measure the strength of the Crown’s case before going to trial. A ban prevents the publication of evidence presented during the hearing.

Levi Cayen, along with three other Hay River residents – Tyler Cayen, 32, Sasha Cayen, 25, and James Thomas, 26 – were charged in the months that followed Norwegian’s death.

In May, both Sasha Cayen and Tyler Cayen’s charges were downgraded. Subsequently, the pair reached plea deals with prosecutors, with Sasha pleading guilty to manslaughter and Tyler pleading guilty to being an accessory to manslaughter.

James Thomas is also charged with first-degree murder and robbery. Thomas has also opted for a preliminary hearing.

Five witnesses, including RCMP officers and a medical examiner, were expected to testify at the hearing.

Prosecutors expect the hearing to wrap up tomorrow.

Sasha Cayen is due to be sentenced on Jan. 18, 2019.

The post Preliminary inquiry underway for accused murderer appeared first on NNSL.COM.



Great Slave Helicopters set to be sold

Documents filed in an Ontario court show that Great Slave Helicopters (GSH) has reached a deal to be sold. The deal was overseen by third party monitoring company KSV Advisory Ltd. who had helped GSH file for bankruptcy protection earlier this year. The company will now be sold to a numbered company simply labeled as 11088211... The post Great Slave Helicopters set to be sold appeared first on...

Documents filed in an Ontario court show that Great Slave Helicopters (GSH) has reached a deal to be sold.

The deal was overseen by third party monitoring company KSV Advisory Ltd. who had helped GSH file for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

Great Slave Helicopters has reached a deal to sell it's assests. NNSL file photo
Great Slave Helicopters has reached a deal to sell its assests. NNSL file photo

The company will now be sold to a numbered company simply labeled as 11088211 Canada Corp, also referred to as the purchaser.

Yellowknifer erroneously reported that Westwind Aviation, based out of Saskatchewan, was buying GSH. In fact, the company’s former CEO Patrick Campling Jr. is listed as the president of the purchaser. Campling was CEO of Westwind from April to October of this year, according to company news release from Oct. 3.

In a sworn affidavit attached to the motion of sale Al Martin, President of Great Slave Helicopters, states that he was advised that there were a number of bids to purchase the company. That same affidavit claims that the purchaser had the highest bid and would ensure “the continuation of substantially all of the business.”

“the offer set out. . . was the highest or best offer and provides for the acquisition of the majority of the Applicant’s assets (although it excludes the Aircraft),” states the affidavit.

The deal is set to be finalized next Thursday, Nov. 23. Once finalized the purchaser will take responsibility for 86 contracts and 24 aircraft owned by Great Slave Helicopters. According to GSH’s website, the company currently employees over 250 employees

Owners of both companies involved could not be immediately reached for comment.

The post Great Slave Helicopters set to be sold appeared first on NNSL.COM.



Inuvik wind project to offer high source of energy

The Town of Inuvik has the highest dependency on diesel fuel in the NWT but the Inuvik Wind Generation Project is now well on the way to providing an alternative. The Government of Canada and territorial government announced a joint funding announcement of $40 million for the project Nov. 13, which is seen as a... The post Inuvik wind project to offer high source of energy appeared first on...

The Town of Inuvik has the highest dependency on diesel fuel in the NWT but the Inuvik Wind Generation Project is now well on the way to providing an alternative.

The Government of Canada and territorial government announced a joint funding announcement of $40 million for the project Nov. 13, which is seen as a major stepping stone in the GNWT’s 2030 Energy Strategy.

The GNWT hopes over the next decade to offer more affordable, sustainable and cleaner sources of energy, especially for those communities dependent on diesel. With the Inuvik project, the GNWT estimates 3 million litres of diesel fuel will be displaced and up to 7,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced.

Simon Whitehouse/NNSL photo
The Inuvik Drummers and Dancers led dignitaries in traditional dancing exercises before a crowd at the Midnight Sun Complex, Nov. 13. GNWT and federal politicians were on hand to make a joint funding announce of $40 million for the Inuvik Wind Generation project which will see wind turbines erected at High Point, near town.

About 22 communities in the NWT remain dependent on the fuel.

Andrew Stewart, director of energy at the GNWT Department of Infrastructure, said the Inuvik Wind project announcement was a milestone in getting alternative energy sources in the North and was a long time coming.

“We have been talking a wind project in the NWT since our 2008 energy plan,” Stewart said, adding there were hurdles to getting the wind project off the ground.

“We pleased was this project was able to come at the right time when federal funding leveraged.”

Two years of construction
Stewart said he expects the construction project to take two years but in the end, it will be the source of 30 per cent of Inuvik’s energy use. The specific location, Inuvik High Point, is 13 km outside of town and near the Inuvik (Mike Zubko) Airport. Based on wind monitoring tests in recent years, the location has speeds of 6.8 metres per second at 74 metres above ground — beyond the considered six-metre minimum for a wind turbine to be feasible.

The single unit, which will include a grid controller and a large battery storage system, is expected to have two to 3.7 megawatt output and work is underway to choose the model. His department has also applied for a permit with the Gwich’in Land and Water Board to begin the five km road construction needed to reach the High Point site in the new year.
Completing transmission lines, towering, foundation work, underground conductor cable upgrades, and battery storage system are other aspects that will be part of the process. Getting the turbine into the area will be the most complicated component, Stewart said.

“The lowest cost supply chain will be by barge because of the size and lengthy and weight of these things,” Stewart said. “That means having this thing built and up by the fall of 2020.”
Natasha Kulikowski, who was elected mayor in October, welcomed guests and joked about being a new mayor and enjoying a $40 million investment from the GNWT and federal governments.
“It is pretty quiet in the downtown and the costs keep going higher and higher for fuel and energy needs,” Kulikowski said. “I don’t think it will have direct effect right away but it opens the gate to the future for costs reduced on power and energy.”

Alfred Moses, GNWT minister of Education and local MLA for Inuvik-Boot Lake, was optimistic about the funding for his region of the North. He said he sees the investment as a sign of continued strong leadership among partnering governments including the Inuvialuit, Gwich’in Tribal Council, GNWT and federal government. He hopes it will help improve a slow economy for local businesses and Indigenous peoples and build on infrastructure investments in recent years that have included a fibre optic network and the Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk Highway..
“Inuvik has always been a boom and bust economy as a government and resource town” he said. “When things are going good, things are great. But when things are bad, it isn’t always good and it is important to have partnerships like this (wind project).”

The wind energy announcement by the GNWT and federal government was one of three made last week. The others included $20 million for the Canyon Creek all-season access road in Norman Wells as well as $26.4 million for upgrades to two generators at the Snare Forks Hydroelectricity facility northwest of Yellowknife, which powers the four North Slave communities of Yellowknife, Behchoko, Dettah and Ndilo.

The post Inuvik wind project to offer high source of energy appeared first on NNSL.COM.



Caribou facing multiple threats across Canada

Logging and climate change present more of a threat to woodland caribou than mineral and petroleum development say both federal government scientists and industry, but seismic lines, or “highways for wolves”, remain a pervasive threat. According to research presented at the North American Caribou Workshop held in Ottawa earlier this month; seismic lines are deemed... The post Caribou facing multiple threats across Canada appeared first on...

Logging and climate change present more of a threat to woodland caribou than mineral and petroleum development say both federal government scientists and industry, but seismic lines, or “highways for wolves”, remain a pervasive threat.

According to research presented at the North American Caribou Workshop held in Ottawa earlier this month; seismic lines are deemed “highways for wolves” that increase pressure on an already stressed species. Logging and increased forest fires due to climate change, however, remain the overriding determinants.

 

file photo 

“Regardless of the climate change scenario we’re looking at, (logging) will be the most important change in caribou habitat quality,” Yan Boulanger, a forest ecologist with NRCan, told journalists, politicos and lobbyists at the workshop. “(Woodland caribou) need the forest to live and hide from predators.”

Research program coordinator Katalijn MacAfee noted seismic lines “really create highways for wolves, as I like to say,” but that the industry attempting to mitigate that with “innovative techniques to reduce the impact”; narrower, low-impact lines for example.

Though resource development and wildlife protection are often at odds, the chamber of mines, Natural Resources Canada and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers appear to be on the same page, when it comes to understanding the impacts.

Studying the resource development’s on the plight of the caribou is “nothing new” says Tom Hoefer, executive director of the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of mines.

“But, I’m not used to seeing NRCan work on wildlife matters as Environment Canada is the usual researcher. Perhaps it’s linked to their responsibilities for forestry,” he said. “The idea that seismic lines are highways for caribou and predators is nothing new.”

Hoefer said Boreal caribou in the NWT are “somewhat healthy in numbers in the Mackenzie Valley.”

“But we know Boreal caribou are declining and we know in the North that climate change poses a more immediate threat than development,” he added.

Krista Philipps, CAPP manager of oil sands, called the science on the recovery of caribou “incredibly complex” and that industry was working closely with government and local stakeholders to find solutions.

The post Caribou facing multiple threats across Canada appeared first on NNSL.COM.



Nuclear reactors for the North?

Economics, geography and “unknown” regulatory complexities makes proliferation of small modular reactors (SMRs) very unlikely in the Northwest Territories says the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA). According to John Stewart, CNA president, 10 years is the soonest any such device could be employed anywhere in Canada, more likely in places where the primary power source remains... The post Nuclear reactors for the North? appeared first on...

Economics, geography and “unknown” regulatory complexities makes proliferation of small modular reactors (SMRs) very unlikely in the Northwest Territories says the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA).

According to John Stewart, CNA president, 10 years is the soonest any such device could be employed anywhere in Canada, more likely in places where the primary power source remains coal.

“If you owned plants like New Brunswick or Saskatchewan and are currently burning icky stuff into the air, what you really don’t want to do is complicate the project by having to change the transmission structure,” Stewart told News/North. “You want the new generators to go in exactly where those coal plants were.” 

Outside of currently hydro-serviced regions North of 60, potential customers are diesel dependent communities and mines, but Peter Lang, president of Dunedin Energy Systems – which has built a six megawatt, self-contained reactor – said a smaller device can make the economic sense more elusive.

“Technically, it’s not terribly difficult to build a one megawatt reactor, but that will only generate so much of a revenue stream – you’ve got to staff it then decommission it after 20 or 30 years,” said Lang. “Whereas a 10 MegaWatt (MW) design is only incrementally more expensive, but offers ten times the revenue stream.”

Dunedin Energy has built a six-MW, self-contained configuration that Lang said is best-suited for smaller, long-term demands of a mine or community beholden to diesel. Large mines like those at Lac de Gras burn more power in a year than all of Nunavut.

“So, a 10-MegaWatt reactor would fit nicely into a place like Iqaluit, economically and in terms of base load (electricity demand),” said Lang adding that “district heating is something that could be introduced too.”

Tuktoyaktuk mayor Merven Gruben said “we’ve been throwing that around for years, but we usually get laughed out the door.”

“It’s the size of a trailer, these mini-reactors, and you can put it there for 20 years and makes so much sense to me,” said Gruben. “Nowadays, it’s used all over the place so I would not be worried.”

Attempts to tapping a new natural gas source for Tuktoyaktuk’s electric generator continue, said Gruben who called the $40 million granted to Inuvik for windmills “ridiculous.”

“They should spend that money to help us build a natural gas connection,” he said. “The status quo is trucking fuel up the highway and you’ll burn a hell of a lot of diesel doing that than natural gas or nuclear. The whole thing is ridiculous.”

According to Stewart, time frames for bringing SMR technology into the commercial realm tend to favour larger utilities that “can leverage capital” in a process still wrought with unknowns.

“We don’t really know that, because the regulatory model for SMRs hasn’t been fully shaped yet and also because the regulatory regime – Bill C-69 – is currently being changed,” he said. “Depending on how that applied to nuclear projects could really change the time frame.”

Markets like Iqaluit might be problematic, smaller communities even more so, according to Stewart.

“The hardest market to serve is the small community, 1,000 or 2,000 citizens,” said Stewart. “The complexity, the different encampments and associations, there are different local environmentalist constituencies … you’d have to spend a lot of time.”

Small reactors have been around for a while; about a half-dozen Canadian SLOWPOKE (safe low power critical experiment) reactors are used for research by places such as the University of Alberta and McMaster University. Built in the 70s by Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) these were roughly the size of a cinder block and just powerful enough to heat a bathtub full of water – AECL tried to build more powerful versions in the 1980s, but these got little traction because natural gas was cheap.

While military submariner applications have been around for decades, mini-reactors for commercial electricity have not been employed in Canada. The biggest ones, of the 900 MW variety, are in use at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario.

A myriad of countries are now in the race to bring the first reactors online and Canada’s regulatory regime is anticipated to serve as a model for future SMR project approvals. Five years ago, AECL were offering sales pitches to municipal politicos at the Chalk River nuclear site just outside of Ottawa.

But the technology has improved since then – relatively portable self-contained mini reactors or VSMRS and the “scaled down versions” of the 900 MW variety at Darlington Nuclear Generating Station in Ontario.

Scaled versions of the 50MW variety will likely replace the dirtiest emitters first, like coal “if you’re going to close them down,” said Stewart.

Both Lang and Stewart noted the value of a willing mine partner whose adoption of SMR technology could serve a dual purpose as an education platform.

“A demonstration effect would be valuable and you might have it at a Northern mine site where you could bring people and show them that it works and it’s clean,” said Stewart. “They wouldn’t see that blanket of particle emissions (as you would see) from the diesel.”

The post Nuclear reactors for the North? appeared first on NNSL.COM.



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