The long-awaited small craft harbour in the community of Pangnirtung, in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut officially opened on Wednesday .
The federal government spent $40.5 million on the project.
Nunavut’s federal member of Parliament Leona Aglukkaq and Federal Fisheries minister Gail Shea travelled to the hamlet for the opening.
“There was a great crowd on hand; it was a beautiful day in Pangnirtung and some very excited and some very happy people in Pang,” said Shea.
It’s the first small craft harbour in Nunavut. It includes a fixed wharf, breakwater and marshalling area. There is also a sea lift ramp and a dredged channel and basin.
Now larger vessels can dock in Pangnirtung, which means it’ll be faster to off-load catches.
“Most of the fish across the country is landed at small craft harbours so it’s a vital part of the infrastructure to grow that part of the economy,” said Shea.
The harbour will also provide protection from the extreme wind and tides.
Construction on the harbour started in 2009. Elder Peterloosie Qappik said it’s been more than 30 years of hard work by the community to get the harbour.
“We used to have to manoeuvre in the dark and low tides. Not anymore. This will be beneficial for hunters, the fishing industry, tourism and overall as long as we can maintain it, it is definitely worth it,” said Qappik.
The community’s mayor said it’s taken a while, but it was worth the wait.
“It will be good especially for our hunters, the fishermen, people who go out and get food for us. They’ve been wanting this for so long. We worked together to make this happen. We are very happy about today,” said Mayor Sakiasie Sowdluapik.