SEPT-ÎLES, October 4, 2010 – The Port of Sept-Îles, the City of Sept-Îles, and the Innu Takuaikan Uashat mak Mani-Utenam (ITUM) Band Council—the three pioneering partners involved in promoting the region’s development as an international cruise ship port of call—proudly inaugurated a brand new cruise ship dock today.
Attending the inaugural ceremony were Nicole Ménard, Québec’s Minister of Tourism, accompanied by Serge Simard, Minister responsible for the North Shore region and Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife, along with numerous distinguished guests and representatives from area communities. The dignitaries took part in a symbolic ribbon cutting to open the new dock, which marked the historic occasion by receiving its first ship, the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Spirit.
It was a case of “mission accomplished” for the Pomerleau company, whose dedicated employees helped deliver this new gem of regional strategic infrastructure on time, on budget, and, most importantly, without workplace accidents.
It also should be noted that the financial partnership between the federal and provincial governments was made possible by Canada Economic Development’s Support Initiative for International Cruise Development and Tourisme Québec’s Programme d’aide à la stratégie des croisières, which covered two-thirds of the costs, while local partners took on equal one-third shares of the remaining investment, which totaled $20.6 million.
“We are thrilled to welcome this first cruise ship to our dock,” said Carol Soucy, Chairman of the Board of the Port of Sept-Îles. “We hope that ‘the locals’ will come out to share this memorable event, seeing the Norwegian Spirit off and making this new development tool for our beautiful region their own.”
“The vitality of these partners enabled us to seize the opportunity to benefit from significant aid programs that will also improve our tourist infrastructure and facilities,” said Sept-Îles mayor Serge Lévesque, adding that to date, significant economic spinoffs of nearly $1.5 million will have been generated for the first two seasons.
The Innu community sees the project as the ideal springboard to promote and enhance its singular and distinctive touristic offering. “This is a wonderful chance to showcase our culture and our traditions. In addition, we are extremely proud to greet those traveling by water, which recalls the days when our ancestors welcomed the first Europeans to our lands,” said Innu chief Georges-Ernest Grégoire.