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Resolution Island (Nunavut): Map

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Closeup of Resolution Island and neighbouring area
Resolution Island is one of the many uninhabited Canadian arctic islandsmarker in Qikiqtaaluk Regionmarker, Nunavutmarker. It is a Baffin Islandmarker offshore island located in Hudson Straitmarker. It has an area of . The Lower Savage Islandsmarker lie between Resolution Island and Baffin Island, while Graves Strait separates Resolution Island from the more northern Edgell Islandmarker.

History

English explorer Martin Frobisher landed on the island on July 28, 1576, while on a voyage to discover the fabled Northwest Passage.

The island was home to an American military base that became operational in 1954 as part of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line. The base was vacated in 1973 and turned over to the Canadian government in 1974.

It was during site investigations between 1987 and 1990 that contamination at the site was first discovered. The contamination originates largely from spills from the radar equipment, which used polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as insulators. Other pollutants include unused transformer fluids, hydrocarbons, asbestos and heavy metals in the buildings and sprinkled throughout the site. Resolution Island has been identified as having the highest level of PCB contamination of all former military sites that fall under Indian and Northern Affairs Canada’s (INAC) responsibility in the North.

In 1993 and 1994, an environmental site assessment of the area was completed. As a result, temporary barriers were placed across drainage paths to stop the migration of PCBs into the water. Further investigations were done and, in 1997, INAC initiated remediation work with Qikiqtaaluk Corporation (QC). A large-scale remediation plan was developed, in cooperation with Environment Canada, QC and Queen’s Universitymarker. Steps were taken at that time to ensure that the contaminants were not posing a risk to humans and wildlife.

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