Savissivik

Savissivik is the southernmost settlement in the Qaanaaq area – some 185 km south of Qaanaaq – on the Meteorite Island in Melville Bay. The settlement is part of the area formerly known as Nigerdlit: Those living closest to the south-west winds and the warm Foehn winds. Nigerdlit included different dwellings around Cape York, and Savissivik is the only remaining dwelling.

Savissivik was established as a trading station in 1934, and its name means “The place made of meteorite iron”, referring to the large number of meteorites found in the area. 

Melville Bay is 200 km wide and opens up towards Baffin Bay. Abounding in game as few other places in Greenland, much of Melville Bay is zoned as national park and protected area, being a breeding ground for the narwhal. The area holds gigantic glaciers, and due to the bay’s size, winter ice comes early and melts slowly, meaning that some years, dog sledging is possible all year around.

Settlement objectives (priority areas, development goals etc.)

The aim is to seek to maintain the settlement’s current service and housing level. New building and conversion is to take place within the existing plan area. The primary business development is to target fishing, sealing and whaling and is to include improvements of the trading possibilities, the production of Greenlandic provisions as well as products for tourism. Consequently, trade functions are to be strengthened such as boat hauling. Furthermore, housing, utilities and the conditions for children and young people should be improved, e.g. via social initiatives, drop-in centres and leisure facilities.

Population and housing

On 1 February 2013, there were 59 inhabitants in Savissivik. The population has decreased for a long time, and in the past five years by almost 24 per cent (down from 78 inhabitants in 2008). Since 1980 (123 inhabitants), the population has more than halved. The settlement’s population is characterised by many girls and young women as well as many seniors of working age.

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 15 homes, which covers the demand in the planning period up until 2026. 

Industry and port facilities

The coast section at Melville Bay has been a key sealing and whaling site, offering rich bird cliffs and currents that allow for sealing and whaling at the ice edge or at cracks and holes in the ice, even during the coldest months. Inhabitants primarily live off hunting and fishing to some extent (Greenland halibut). The vast bird cliff holds large colonies of little auks, and bird catching along with sealing makes up the key source of income, but the inhabitants also catch narwhals, polar bears and other animals. In the Cape York area, an average of 30-50 polar bears is caught every year.

Royal Greenland operates a small trading facility in the settlement, handling, e.g., Greenland halibut and mattak. Unfortunately, the facility is currently closed, and no opening time is scheduled. In addition to a production plant, there are a freezing store and a workshop. Seal skins are sold to a certain extent.

The town plans includes some 7,000 m2 of available space for industry and port facilities.

In addition to sealing, whaling and fishing, the inhabitants earn a living on domestic industry. The shop, the school and the municipal activities also generate a limited number of jobs.

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

The settlement has no actual system of roads, merely paths made of local materials. Dog sledges and power boats are the primary means of transport.

The settlement has a helistop located on a small foreland. It is operated all year, transporting passengers, mail and goods. In the winter, the weather may mean weeks without contact to the outside world. Since Moriusaq closed, the inhabitants have had problems tanking fuel for hunting trips or trips to Qaanaaq.

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.

There is a power plant in the settlement, and the water supply relies on water collection from two lakes in the summer and on melting ice in the winter. Heat is produced by means of paraffin heaters or oil-fired burners.

There is no sewerage and grey wastewater is discharged above ground. Day-time refuse is collected and deposited at the dump north of the settlement, where it is burnt. The lack of road to the dump poses a problem. There is no organised night-soil collection. 

TELE Greenland handles telecommunications in the settlement via satellite dish coverage. There are also satellite-based radio and TV.

There are two areas for centre and public functions in the settlement. Farthest to the west is an area featuring a shop, warehouse, freezing store, school chapel, settlement school and a skin processing facility. Towards the east are a service house, a settlement office, a workshop and a production facility as well as a power plant. The settlement also features a nursing station.

Education

The settlement school, Piitaaaqqap Atuarfia, offers forms 1 through 9. Numbering around 15 pupils, the school was extended in 1998-99 with new rooms and a library.

Cultural and leisure activities

The church (school chapel) was constructed in 1962 and seats 75. The service house holds numerous functions: municipal office, assembly hall, child-care facilities, village hall, common shower facilities, laundry and skin processing facilities. Near the school are a library and club activities.

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

 

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