Something I often hear from people is that Inuvik used to be a booming town, full of life and a steady stream of new residents and businesses. Now, they say, it’s much quieter, nearly dead.

Inuvik expanded in the 1970s with natural gas discoveries in the Mackenzie Delta. Oil companies set up shop in Inuvik and oil patch activities grew. Inuvik became a hub for scientific and environmental research, and a Northern centre for the Canadian Forces.

These industries fell apart and came back together several times thanks to the collapse of the price of oil and government moratoriums and decisions, among other things.

The town has seen several periods of business boom and bust since the late ’70s, and from what I’ve heard, many would argue that we’re now in a bust.

Whether Inuvik is in a period of bust or not is debatable. Depending on who you talk to, we’re either doing alright or we’re in a crisis.

I think the most reasonable assertion I’ve heard from anyone about the state of Inuvik’s economy came from an elder I spoke to recently.

She told me that she remembers listening to elders in the ’70s talk about how the boom and busyness of Inuvik wouldn’t last because it was too much for our small town to handle, but that it would be okay.

She said they predicted the busts and slower pace of things nowadays, but also that Inuvik’s economy would eventually figure out a way to move at a reasonable pace.

She said we aren’t in a boom or a bust, we’re in a middle ground and we’re trying to plant seeds that we can harvest on an ongoing basis down the line.

With the growth of the Inuvik Satellite Station Facility, a promising increase in tourism and the installation of the Mackenzie Valley fibre optic line, Inuvik is poised for success.

With some more smart planning and continued persistence, I think Inuvik is on track for the sustainable, bright future those elders predicted 50 years ago.

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