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Breakwaters to bring economic gain: study

Brent Reaney
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Mar 07/05) - Seven Nunavut communities would benefit economically from the construction of breakwater facilities, says a new study.

The study was completed as part of an investigation into a $23-million Government of Nunavut request for funding which could see breakwaters built in Clyde River, Qikiqtarjuaq, Pond Inlet, Pangnirtung, Repulse Bay, Chesterfield Inlet and Kugaaruk.

Completing the work is expected to provide 198 years of consecutive employment, the report says.

But it remains to be seen whether the breakwaters will be built. This influx of work could decrease the unemployment rate in the affected communities by 25 per cent.

"The study showed what I would consider positive socio-economic benefits," said Alan Kathan, a senior official with DFO.

Without proper docking facilities, boats have been destroyed and the potential to develop commercial fisheries has been limited.

After two consultation sessions, a draft recommendation has been completed, but Kathan could not say what was included.

A final report will not be delivered to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Geoff Regan before April. It is not clear when a decision could be announced.

After waiting for more than 20 years, Pond Inlet residents are still eager to hear if the proposals will be approved.

"We've had so many meetings about it, but nothing ever came of (them)," said Colin Saunders, the community's economic development officer. "We're getting a little anxious to get a response. If they can understand the passion this community has for getting a breakwater, they might kick up their heels a little bit quicker."

Kathan said he plans to provide each community with copies of finalized portions of the reports, as well as the socio-economic impact survey.