I support continuing to draw our water from the Yellowknife river, therefore going with the submarine replacement line.
The two big factors that set the Yellowknife River source above the YK Bay source are: susceptibility to raw water quality changes – with the particular focus on arsenic – and reliability of water supply. And in looking at all of the different criteria (cost of the capital project, O&M, etc.), I’d say these are the two most important factors. We want to make sure that we have clean, safe water and having a back-up source (the YK Bay) are the reasons that I support moving ahead of with the submarine line replacement. The only score that the YK Bay really beat the YK River is in the price category – but can we really put a price on clean, safe water? Yes, it’ll technically cost less, but in the case of a catastrophic failure at Giant, it could cost up to $10 million which means the YK Bay turns into a $28 million dollar project and the YK River is just $5 million more. Spread out over 50 years, I think it’s a good investment. Again, it’s based on a worst case scenario, but I think we shouldn’t gamble.
I think that we should go with the Yellowknife River option, but the next time that the submarine line has to be replaced, it’ll be in the long-term care and maintenance phase after remediation, and if the Council of the day re-does a water source study, they may see that the numbers have changed and that the Yellowknife Bay is now the better option. But for right now, I think we need to take the major Upset Condition due to a berm failure at Giant Mine into consideration and proceed with the Yellowknife River.