By Mark Cardwell
As a Canadian Port Authority responsible for a facility that generates an estimated $1 billion in local economic activity and provides some 4,000 direct and indirect jobs in a city of 30,000 on Quebec’s rugged and remote North Shore, Port of Sept-Îles continues to use the funds it generates for the benefit of the community and its partners.
Last fall, for example, just weeks after it made the largest donation ever to the regional local hospital foundation – $250,000 that is being used to fund a laboratory modernization project and the development of better breast and ovarian cancer screening, among other things – the port helped raise $115,000 at the third annual ‘5 à Huitres Maritime’ event it organized in conjunction with Club Richelieu and the HMCS Jolliet Naval Reserve unit, proceeds of which go to l’Élyme des sables, a palliative care centre.
In addition to the hospital and the palliative care centre, the port continues to provide donations and sponsorships to more that 80 other community organizations working in the fields of education, health, cultural, social, and sports and recreation, including the local business development agency, CATE Côte-Nord, the local tourism development office, Destination Sept-Îles, the Seamen’s Centre, and the local Chamber of commerce. “We are committed to being an involved and vibrant citizen in the community of Sept-Îles,” said Port President and CEO, Pierre Gagnon. “It’s a big part of both our mission and our mandate.”
According to Gagnon, the Port follows a three-pronged approach to community involvement: direct financial or technical assistance to community groups, participation in the development and management of community organizations, and opening its facilities to anyone interested in knowing more about the goings-on at the port. Next summer, for example, Port of Sept-Îles will host its second Maritime Week. First held in 2012, the seven-day event offered a myriad of public activities intended to attract people to the port, which is in the heart of the city’s downtown. Activities included an open house with kiosks and exhibits, diving demonstrations, harbour rides on local Naval Reserve unit vessels, and guided tours of Port facilities. Other highlights of the week were the presence of HMCS Ville de Québec, CCGS Louisbourg, CCGS Louis M. Lauzier, cruise ship Crystal Symphony, and a charity hockey game between the Ville de Québec’s crew members and the local senior men’s hockey team (for the benefit of local minor hockey).