Qeqertat

Qeqertat is located by a small bay at the westernmost part of Harward Island, in the inmost part of Inglefield Broad (Kangerlussuaq) – some 65 km east of Qaanaaq. The settlement belongs to the area formerly known as Orqordlit: the lee-side dwellers in the Whale Sound area. The settlement’s name means “the islands”.

The settlement is very much a sealing and whaling community, which offers great sealing and whaling conditions. Qeqertat’s role and future have been and remain uncertain, since it numbers few permanent residents and lacks basic utilities. At peak periods, many people visit the settlement to hunt or fish, so the population itself is not the only factor worth considering when assessing the settlement’s role and importance.

When the fiord is ice-free in the summer, large schools of narwhals enter the fiord to feed and breed. The north- and east sides of the island offer views to gigantic icebergs and the large glaciers that extend from the inland ice some 16 km from Qeqertat.

Settlement objectives (priority areas, development goals etc.)

The aim is to maintain the settlement’s current functions and housing, but no urban development per se is to be launched, other than ongoing trade initiatives relating to the Greenland halibut. Depending on the settlement’s actual potential in fishing, production facilities and a trading spot should be established. In that case, supplies and infrastructure are to be improved considerably, but the main focus is to be on running new facilities and maintaining housing and service functions. No matter what, priority should be given to initiatives regarding housing standards, supply and the environment, to the benefit of the citizens and the area as a whole, including clean-up of solar fuel drums. Furthermore, the settlement’s functions are to increase its interplay with Qaanaaq.

 (In the long term, the settlement may play a role as an active industrial area in the open country due to the difficult access conditions in periods with unsafe sea ice.)

Population and housing

On 1 February 2013, Qeqertat had 29 inhabitants. Compared to 1980 figures, the population of Qeqertat has gone by 37 per cent, typically ranging from 20 to 30 inhabitants. In recent years, population has increased significantly, going up by 16 per cent since 2008 (25). The population may be considerably larger in the summer, when the settlement is a starting point for narwhaling, and in the winter, visitors may be plentiful thanks to the good conditions for fishing the Greenland halibut near the settlement. The age group 10-14 years is relatively large, just as there are many young men in the age group 10-24 years.

The three settlements in the Qaanaaq area number 45 households and a total of 145 inhabitants. The average household size is 3.2 persons, which is slightly more than in Qaanaaq (2.7 persons).

On 1 January 2010, there were a total of 119 houses in the three settlements. 117 were detached single-family houses, whereas two houses were unaccounted for. In other words, the settlements exclusively offer single-family houses. The settlements have no dormitories or senior housing, and several houses are in need of redevelopment or rehabilitation.

The population – i.e. the number of permanent residents – is not expected to increase in the years to come, and the planning period primarily calls for replacement buildings in connection with redevelopment. The settlement has available space for 40 homes, which covers the demand in the planning period up until 2026.

Industry and port facilities

The key income source is sealing and whaling. Narwhaling takes place from August to September at the bottom of the Inglefield Fiord or Kangerlussuaq (the great fiord). Tourists are offered trips to the settlement to experience traditional narwhaling.

Occurrences of the Greenland halibut have been found near the settlement, and currently efforts are made to start up fishing Greenland halibut. However, the settlement does not have any production facility, freezing store or trading place, so the fish is transported to Qaanaaq for trading.

Other than fishing, sealing and whaling, only the school and the shop offer jobs in the settlement.

The town plan includes some 500 m2 of available space for industry and port purposes.

The employment rate in the three settlements belonging to Qaanaaq is 30 per cent, which is somewhat below the municipal average (42 per cent) and slightly below the Qaanaaq figure (34 per cent) (2010 figures). The unemployment rate is two per cent, well under the municipal average (six per cent).  

Infrastructure and service

In the summer, the settlement is reachable by ship, and a supply ships calls on the settlement once a year. There is no port and loading/unloading takes place on the beach. For the rest of the year, transport is by helicopter, and the settlement has a helistop. The settlement is not part of the settlement aircraft services.

The settlement has no real system of roads, merely paths built by local materials. There is a definite need for an actual road to the dump. Dog sledges, snowmobiles, cars (on sea ice) and power boats are the primary means of transport.

There is no power plant in the settlement. The school, among other buildings, has a generator to produce power. There is no filling station in the settlement, which is supplied by means of drums of gasoline, solar and paraffin oil.

There is no sewerage and grey wastewater is discharged above ground. There is no organised day-time refuse or night-soil collection. The dump is located in E2, but lacks a road connection. Water supply consists of everyone collecting water or ice. Heat is produced by means of paraffin heaters or oil-fired burners.

The settlement features a battery-powered aerial network and a radiophone belonging to the municipality. There is neither cell phone nor Internet coverage.

The settlement features a small shop/store and a nursing station/settlement consultation post, but no settlement office, service house or fire shed.

Education

Qeqertat Atuarfiat school numbers but two to four pupils and offers up to form 6, after which pupils are sent to Qaanaaq. Teaching takes place at pupils’ homes with temporary teachers, or at the school room, which also acts at the settlement’s church. The school was rehabilitated in 2013, including new windows, ship heaters, floor insulation and IT equipment.

Cultural and leisure activities

The church (school chapel) was constructed in 1962 (1973). The school room includes a small library. The settlement offers no day-care facilities.

Qeqertat offers no leisure activities.

There are no listed or preservation-worthy buildings in Qeqertat.

 

Qaasuitsup Kommunia · Postboks 1023 · 3952 Ilulissat · Grønland · www.qaasuitsup.gl · E-mail: plan@qaasuitsup.gl · Tlf.: +299 947800
Last edited 29-3-2017