Image: Dempster Fibre Project: 800-km fibre optic line

Sustainability2 min read

Dempster Fibre Project: 800-km fibre optic line

Dawson City, Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Government of Yukon, Department of Highways and Public Works
December 2018 – Ongoing

Ausenco led the regulatory support for the project which included submissions in two jurisdictions and a focus on identification, effects, and mitigation for wetlands along this 800km long project.

Project Description

The Dempster Fibre project is an approximately 800km fibre optic line proposed to be installed from Dawson City, Yukon (YT), to Inuvik, Northwest Territories (NT). The line will connect YT to the existing Mackenzie Valley fibre link in NT, creating a continuous network running through YT, NT and Northern BC. This new line will ensure YT, NT, and other northern communities will have access to a secondary fibre network in the event of a service disruption. It will also benefit the northern communities that tie into the line through satellite by providing redundancy. This is a linear project, related to a road, in the NT, in more than one First Nation traditional territory, requiring an assessment under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act (MVRMA).

Scope of Work

Ausenco is the lead Assessment and Permitting Consultant for the project. We are responsible for identifying strategy, supporting engagement, developing the assessment documentation, and navigating the dual assessment processes in YT and NT. This role is ongoing and is responsible for obtaining all regulatory approvals required for project construction. Our EA team engaged regulatory agencies to identify project-specific permitting requirements. We then coordinated with more than half a dozen technical specialists, engineering, and construction firms (reporting to the Yukon Government) as well as the project engineer to identify the information necessary for the regulatory processes. We developed the approach and components of the project proposal submitted to the Dawson City designated office of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board. Similarly, a land use permit (Type A) and water licence (Type B) application were prepared and submitted to the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board (MVLWB) under the MVRMA. The MVLWB submittal proceeded to screen in less than one week, with no additional information requested. Our team coordinated a multi-disciplinary team of specialists and integrated consultation/engagement information into MVRMA documentation and effectively managed the process.