• Sonar image of the wreck of the HMS Erebus on the seafloor of the Queen Maud Gulf. (Photo courtesy of Parks Canada)

Parks Canada has announced it will work together with the Inuit of the Kitikmeot region to develop a National Historic Site in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut dedicated to Sir John Franklin's ill-fated expedition.

The federal government has committed $16.9 million over five years to continue investigating the wreck of the HMS Erebus and searching for the HMS Terror, as well as explore options for a facility in Gjoa Haven to house artefacts from the lost expedition and serve as a research and presentation centre.

An interim committee comprised of members of the local community, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, the Government of Nunavut, the Inuit Heritage Trust, Nunavut Tourism and Parks Canada will advise the government on the management of the National Historic Site until an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement (IIBA) is finalized. (IIBAs are required for any development within the territory under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.)

The Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site will be the first cooperatively-managed national historic site in Nunavut, said federal fisheries minister Hunter Tootoo.

"The recent discovery of HMS Erebus would not have been possible without Inuit knowledge and this is something I am very proud of," he said. "The collaboration between the Government of Canada and Inuit will guide the development of this site and allow the story of the Franklin Expedition, along with Inuit oral history and cultural traditions, to be shared in new and exciting ways."