A good and efficient infrastructure is a necessity for developing society. Airports especially play a key role, but regarding both the extension of Ilulissat and any establishment of new regional airfields are awaiting a decision at the Parliament of Greenland's spring session in 2016. The Sector Plan for Roads and Traffic is being prepared.
To Qaasuitsup Municipality, infrastructure plays a particularly important role. Airports and good port facilities are prerequisites to continuing growth and to securing good, reliable supplies in the municipality. The necessary infrastructure investments we are facing are simply a prerequisite for developing the municipality in the years to come.
A major international airport would have a massive impact on the municipality as a whole, in terms of both increasing tourism and securing new business possibilities, more newcomers and new tax revenue.
At the Parliament of Greenland's autumn session in 2015, a decision in principle was made to construct an international airport in Ilulissat with a 2,200-metre runway. Attracting more tourists to Greenland and achieving cheaper domestic flights are the targets of the political agreement to expand and construct airports.
As part of the decision in principle, it was decided to have Naalakkersuisut look into the possibility of constructing regional airports – with gravel runways – in Kangaatsiaq, Qasigiannguit and Qeqertarsuaq to increase regularity and transport reliability to these three towns. The expansion would affect traffic among towns across the municipality.
Infrastructure changes, and especially changes to the airport structure, will affect people's choice of transport and how we travel and will lead to savings in terms of travel time and costs.
Expanding airports would secure a great basis for developing tourism – in Ilulissat and in the other towns. To support the opportunities, an industrial development plan is to be prepared for the entire municipality, based on Naalakkersuisut's plans to expand Ilulissat airport.
The airport expansion would support several ongoing projects such as the Ilulissat Isfjord Centre, the Ilimanaq project and the Eqi expansion. The project will call for an expansion of the remaining infrastructure in and around Ilulissat. At the same time, there would be a vast development potential for expanding urban areas between Ilulissat and the airport.
Planning has already kicked off for a holistic development of Nordre Næs and the other areas between Ilulissat and the airport, the airport expansion and the areas north of it by Bredebugt.
The future revision of the town plan is to contain an elaboration of this masterplan as well as preliminary planning to establish regional airports in Kangaatsiaq, Qasigiannguit and Qeqertarsuaq and expand the related infrastructure. To increase export of our different products, it is vital to invest in new port facilities.
Each year, the municipality is visited by many cruisers, and the facilities that we are able to offer the wealth of tourists do not meet their standards and expectations. New port facilities and good infrastructure are important in order to continue to develop cruise tourism.
In the future, we must be good at finding simple, long-term development strategies to ensure an effective and rational utilisation of both new and existing infrastructure in Qaasuitsup Municipality. This is to be done by preparing a municipal sector plan for roads and traffic, which can help coordinate initiatives.
In several places across the municipality, for instance in Uummannaq, breakwaters can considerable improve local conditions for dinghy fishermen. In general, such solutions should be considered carried out in places with similar needs.
Sewer installations, water supply and roads and expensive and, once installed, they are even more expensive to remove. Good planning is to help secure the best infrastructure in our towns and settlements at the lowest costs.
The way we design out towns and settlements also influences our daily level of activity. Children need to have access to safe roads and paths to and from school, so they can walk to school themselves.
Good recreational opportunities close to or near residential areas – playgrounds, ski trails, benches – determine whether citizens are active in their leisure time.
Accessibility is to be considered when designing the physical surroundings in both towns and settlements.
The disabled, senior citizens etc. must be given better conditions and possibilities for moving about towns. Projects involving construction of senior homes, dormitories etc. would benefit from integrating sustainability considerations right from the start.
The buildings owned by the municipality, municipal offices, schools, village halls etc. should meet tighter requirements for accessibility and consideration for disabled and senior citizens. In this way, the municipality can be a driver and set a good example.
Whatever solutions we identify should be sustainable in the long term and utilise the fact that we are a large municipality and the opportunities that affords us.
Qaasuitsup Municipality focuses on safe, sustainable waste management. Fresh thinking and innovation will be important elements in the coming action plan for safe waste management in the municipality.
Climate change is leading to a number of new challenges in the municipality. Our roads in particular are vulnerable to the decreasing permafrost, causing many problems. Qaasuitsup Municipality is involved in an international research project that focuses on permafrost and new solutions in terms of roads and infrastructure in areas with permafrost.
In the future, the municipality will work actively to develop such collaborations on development projects that can help solve the problems the municipality is facing. New knowledge and research are essential to develop viable solutions.