The Giant Mine Remediation Project is a multi-party government initiative to remediate one of the most contaminated sites in North America, which sits in the heart of Yellowknife and Yellowknives Dene traditional territory. Since 1999, communications and engagement around the project had been focused on understanding the scope of the challenge, assessing remediation options and proceeding through the regulatory process. This was a challenging environment within which to establish a positive and constructive public and stakeholder dialogue. In 2012, as it began to plan to start remediating the site, the Giant Mine Team needed to take a critical look at the current public environment and its existing communications and engagement approach.
The GMRP team contracted Tait Communications and Consulting to take a critical look at existing communications and engagement plans, processes and activities in order to develop this five-year strategy. As a first step, Tait undertook a critical analysis through four streams of inquiry:
- A detailed and critical review of existing tools and practices
- In-depth interviews with 13 individuals representing a cross-section of stakeholders and residents
- A review of best practices and lessons learned of three projects that shared some characteristics and challenges, and
- Discussions with project team members about existing plans, internal governance and capacity, timelines and processes.
Based on this research and in-house communications experience, Tait developed a range of interim analysis reports. The final deliverable was a comprehensives draft strategy that described research findings, stakeholder mapping, recommended approaches and a detailed five-year action plan.