New Pond Inlet harbor expected to provide safety, economic benefits

The new $41 million facility was needed because Pond Inlet’s shoreline offered no natural shelter for launching vessels.

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An aerial view of the new community harbor in Pond Inlet. (Courtesy of Dennis Patterson via Nunatsiaq News)

Pond Inlet’s new community harbor has officially opened.

Funded with $30 million from the federal government and $11 million from the Government of Nunavut, the harbor “plays a key role in providing food, supplies and tourism opportunities for the Northern Qikiqtani region,” federal minister Dominic LeBlanc said in a news release on the July 25 opening.

“This transformational asset will provide economic benefits and improve the overall safety of marine activities in the region.”

In a background document, the GN said the new harbor was needed because Pond Inlet’s shoreline offered no natural shelter for boat launching and docking facilities.

The construction contract was awarded in spring 2018, to allow the harbor to accommodate 130 vessels, plus moorage space for deeper-draft fishing vessels.

Also, two breakwater arms, a fixed dock, sealift barge ramp and floating docks.

Nunavut Sen. Dennis Patterson, who attended the opening, said the new harbor will help improve safety within the community.

“It’s not only going to be of assistance to hunters and fishers who are very active in Pond Inlet … it’s going to save lives and provide a safe haven that hasn’t been there [for community members] before,” he said.

He said the opening of the harbor also strengthens the hamlet’s local economy.

“I think the future for Pond Inlet and other Nunavut communities is to diversify its economy beyond government and service sector jobs,” he told Nunatsiaq News.

He said the new harbor will help Pond Inlet grow its tourism and fishing industries.

“Pond Inlet has been a major beneficiary of employment in the mining sector, but its potential for tourism and the fishery has yet to be tapped,” he said.

“I see the small craft harbor as the key support to developing our renewable resource economy, including the fishery and tourism.”