A sealift shipment delivered over $2 million worth of materials and goods that will help to further develop the community of Pond Inlet and provide essential services.
Pond Inlet’s first ambulance was among the many needed items that arrived to the remote community on August 28.
David Stockley, Pond Inlet’s chief administrative officer (CAO), managed to get a donated ambulance for his community. If the ambulance was purchased, it would have cost $160,000, explained Stockley.
“All we had to pay for was the shipping,” he added.
“We were extremely lucky,” said the CAO, noting the ambulance is in “beautiful condition.”
About 12 volunteers, who have been trained and certified in ambulance services, are excited to drive the vehicle and provide the needed service to the community.
Pond Inlet also received its first power crusher. This machine, which costs about $650 000, will be used to help repair roads.
“Roads in Pond Inlet are deteriorating really bad,” said Stockley.
In the Salmon Creek area, a regular destination of cruise ship passengers, the road needs substantial upgrading to accommodate a bus. Other planned projects include developing the land for building new housing units, said the CAO. He hopes the community will have at least 6 five-plex units built in 2021. There is also a plan to install a rock floor within an existing parking garage using the crusher.
Other equipment brought in by the sealift included a water truck, sewage truck, garbage truck, Foreman pickup and an Olympia electric ice cleaner.
A lot of the equipment was “very old” and “pretty rough shape,” said Stockley, who moved to Pond Inlet in November 2018. Instead of spending money on repairs, it was worth replacing the items, he explained.
The old Zamboni had become a health concern due to its fumes and was not operational half the time.
The seven-year-old garbage truck required “major repairs” and was “very small” for a growing community of about 1700 people, he said.
Besides vehicles and machinery, materials to renovate a 3,000 sq. ft. building have arrived. Within the next two or three months the renovated building will serve as Pond Inlet’s first Wellness Centre.
“Next year, we’ll probably do a little bit extra work on the exterior of the building,” added Stockley.
At least $250,000 will be invested in building the Wellness Centre.
The centre will be equipped with stoves and fridges and staff will host cooking classes for moms and some other programs for elders and pregnant women.
The Wellness Centre will also include Tower Gardens. “Basically, anything that grows above ground can be grown in these tower gardens. You don’t need any soil,” said Stockley.
Using LED lights and water, these Tower Gardens can grow food such as peppers, spinach, lettuce, peas, beans and strawberries, explained the CAO.
The plan is to start off with 12 Tower Gardens.
Lastly, telehealth services will also be provided to community members at the centre. People will be able to have access to mental health and general counselling services. Additionally, individuals will be able to choose a long-term counsellor from a waiting list.
“They can use that counsellor for a year or two years,” said the CAO, adding one of the “biggest” problems in the North is not having a consistent counsellor.
He added, “It’s not easy to get counsellors all the time. So that will take care of a huge need for a lot of people.”
The hamlet has already received $30,000 for counselling services and has plans to apply for more funding.
“We’ve come a long way since a year and a half, two years,” said Stockley, referring to all the improvements made in Pond Inlet.
“And we still got a ways to go, obviously. There are still things to be done in the community, but we’re gonna get there.”