Kwijika M-59 Post Impact Heritage Survey

Michelle Wickham (NWT Archaeologist’s Permit 2010-019)

On August 10th, 2010, on behalf of Suncor Energy, at the request of MWH, Bison Historical Services Ltd. carried out a post impact survey for heritage sites south west of Great Bear Lake in the NWT. Investigations were aimed at satisfying two objectives: a post-impact examination of a portion of the access road leading to the airstrip, west of the M-59 lease area, and to ensure that no heritage sites were damaged during construction.

Investigations were carried out by Michelle Wickham and Joe Moravetz of Bison Historical Services Ltd., assisted by Morris Modeste of Deline, who acted as wildlife monitor and local advisor. Fieldwork was based out of Deline and carried out by helicopter and on foot. Investigations were centered inland west of the existing M-59 lease.

Post-impact examination of the access road from the M-59 location to the airstrip (Lake 17) was successful in achieving the planned objectives. Examination of the access road identified no new heritage concerns, and no existing heritage resources were impacted during development. Several subsurface tests were excavated during this investigation, no previously unidentified heritage resource sites were recorded and no known heritage resource sites occur within 150 m of the project area.
The access road from the M-59 lease to the airstrip (Lake 17) is located on an open peat plateau. The focus of this investigation was centered within the access road along the relict beach ridge associated with Lake 17 (the airstrip), all subsurface tests yielded negative results. An extensive pedestrian survey was conducted along this ridge on both sides of the access road. Cultural material was not observed on the surface of this ridge.

Post impact archaeological field investigations of the small portion of the access road leading to the airstrip, west of the M-59 lease area identified no new heritage resource sites. As such, there are no further heritage concerns regarding the Suncor Energy M-59 access road. It is the assessment of Bison Historical Services Ltd. that Suncor Energy has now fulfilled all outstanding heritage concerns related to this project.

(Edited by Shelley Crouch, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre)