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Bruno Pereira, the president and CEO of the Qulliq Energy Corporation says a new $13-million headquarters in Baker Lake, Nunavut, is the only viable option for the energy provider. (Alex Brockman/CBC) Nunavut’s Qulliq Energy Corporation has applied to the territorial government for approval to build a new $13-million headquarters for staff in Baker Lake.

The new building would replace three that Qulliq Energy currently leases in Baker Lake, and bring the 45 staff members working there together under one roof. Qulliq Energy Corporation is the sole power utility in Nunavut, and is owned by the territorial government.

The largest building Qulliq Energy uses in Baker Lake is leased from the Nunavut government. That lease is set to expire at the end of August 2020, leaving 27 Qulliq Energy employees without a space to work, explained Bruno Pereira, the corporation’s president and CEO.

"We have our headquarters in Baker Lake, but there’s a shortage of space. We want to keep those people in Baker Lake," he said. "If there’s no office for those people, we can’t have those bodies in Baker Lake.

"There is no other facility [in Baker Lake] that can accommodate 27 people," he said. "This gives us an opportunity to bring everybody together, people who were working in makeshift offices."

One of those makeshift offices is a renovated three-bedroom home, which isn’t really suitable for the corporation’s needs, Pereira said. This renovated three-bedroom house is one of the Qulliq Energy Corporation’s offices in Baker Lake. (Qulliq Energy Corporation) Qulliq Energy’s application lays out four options for the future of the corporation’s head offices, with the new building owned by Qulliq Energy listed as the best of the four.

The headquarters would be for staff already based in Baker Lake, and no one working for Qulliq Energy in Iqaluit will be transferred to the new facility, Pereira said.

If approved, the planning and design process for the building would begin this April, with construction starting in the summer of 2020 and be complete in 2021.

Since the project costs more than $5 million, it needs ministerial approval before it can go ahead.

If approved, it would likely add an extra 0.35 cents per kilowatt hour to power bills for customers throughout the territory beginning in 2021/22.

But ultimately, owning the building will lead to savings for ratepayers in the long run, since it will cost less to buy than to lease the buildings, Pereira said.

In a media release issued Wednesday, Jeannie Ehaloak, the minister responsible for the energy corporation, said she’d make her decision after reviewing the application and consulting with the territory’s Utility Rates Review Council.

That approval process is expected to take about 90 days.

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