Boaters will continue to have access to Great Slave Lake near the Giant Mine site while cleanup efforts continue.

After the City of Yellowknife raised concerns about public access during the remediation project — with work set to begin in 2021 and cost nearly a billion dollars — an agreement was struck between Yellowknife, GNWT and the federal government.

The agreement has been two years in the making and included collaboration between the three levels of government and the public, according to a press release.

“We are really pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that ensures Yellowknifers will be able to access Great Slave Lake and maximize enjoyment of our spectacular boating season throughout remediation,” said Mayor Rebecca Alty in a statement.

The GNWT will be responsible for the maintenance, access and management of the townsite, when it is not required for remediation purposes. 

The agreement depends on a balance between ensuring remediation can continue uninterrupted, while public access to the area remains open.

Maintaining public access was important to the MacKenzie Valley Land and Water Board, with a condition included in the water license that the project must submit a Public Access Plan.

The plan includes how access to a public boat launch at the Giant Mine Town Site will be maintained at all times during the open water season.

The water licence was issued on September 18, and its approval allows for more active planning of the remediation work to begin.