Sept-Îles, May 21, 2010 – Tuesday, May 25, 2010, marks the start of the second season of welcoming international cruise ships in Sept-Îles. The three partners of Destination Sept-Îles Nakauinanu—the City of Sept-Îles, the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM) Band Council, and the Port of Sept-Îles—are thrilled to kick off this second season with the arrival of the Maasdam, carrying over 1,200 passengers and 500 crew. Again this year some 7,500 passengers and crew will transit through the Bay of Sept-Îles during three port visits, two of which are scheduled for October.
International cruise industry development at Sept-Îles generates major investment and significant spinoffs. The overall project is estimated at nearly $30 million and includes various components slated for completion over the next three years. Construction of the pier will cost slightly over $20 million. Work will be finished on schedule for the official inauguration, when a big public celebration will mark the docking of the second ship of the season, the majestic Norwegian Spirit, on October 4.
Another early highlight of the season is the federal government’s confirmation of $2.3 million in funding for work by the City of Sept-Îles and ITUM. This work totaling over $6.5 million will enhance the overall project, two-thirds of which is funded through provincial and federal programs to develop additional ports of call on the St. Lawrence River.
Not only will this investment enhance tourism options, it will also provide an opportunity to leave a rich legacy for area residents. This will include development of a reception area near the pier to be completed in the coming months, as well as renovation of the Old Dock boardwalk, rebuilding of the launching ramp, construction of an additional stretch of sidewalk on Avenue Arnaud, and revitalization of Le Vieux-Poste.
This initiative by the three partners will also have a leveraging effect for our communities, particularly the Innu community, by creating jobs to operate the panoramic train tour of a traditional site on the shores of Rivière Moisie. This is the spark that will ignite aboriginal tourism and promote the treasured culture of the Innu of Uashat and Mani-Utenam. Upgrading of the Shaputuan museum will make this objective even more attainable.
According to data gathered in 2009 by Cruise the St. Lawrence Association and Ministère du Tourisme du Québec, economic benefits in ports of call could reach up to $100 per day per disembarking passenger. It is foreseeable that sustained tourism opportunities will help generate up to a half million dollars in spinoffs in our communities with a season like the one expected in 2010.