Pond Inlet Mayor Charlie Inuarak says many people in his community have been concerned about the breaking of sea ice in Nunavut's North Baffin region.
The remark comes after the Nunavut Planning Commission nixed Baffinland Iron Mines' plan to increase the time it can ship iron ore from the Mary River mine site to 10 months a year. It had previously agreed to ship only during the summer season.
The commission said the spike in shipping would disrupt harvesting areas and community transportation routes.
Inuarak says many residents of Pond Inlet, located 160 kilometres north of the Mary River site, shared the same concern.
"Sea mammals seem to no longer fear ships — actually, they trail the ships from a distance," Inuarak said in Inuktitut. "This has effects on both animals and hunters. It has been witnessed by hunters."
Inuarak adds that although he has concerns about the mine's environmental impacts, he supports the operation because of the jobs it will provide Pond Inlet.
He says he wants the community to come out with a united voice that more strongly supports either environmental protection or economic development.
The planning commission rejected Baffinland's shipping plan because it said the plan doesn't align with the North Baffin region's land use plan.
Baffinland can still apply for an exemption from the federal government or revise its project plans.