Attu is the southernmost settlement in the municipality, located on the small western island of Attu by the Davis Strait. Attu is located some 40 km south of Kangaatsiaq and some 100 km south of Aasiaat. The settlement’s name means “the one that is affected”. The settlement was founded in 1818 as a net fishing test station.
The settlement is located on a small peninsula with a north-facing port by an inlet. The landscape is relatively flat with scattered wetlands. South of the port lies the settlement’s centre, which is surrounded by residential areas to almost all sides. Farthest to the west lies an unbuilt area which features a helistop, among other things.
The relatively scattered houses are painted in typical Greenlandic colours. The largest, most distinctive buildings are the church, the fish production plant by the port, and the school and the shop.
Provisions and subareas
The general provisions apply to all subareas of the municipalities in towns, settlements and open country areas. The provisions are general and do not consider the local conditions in the subareas.
The overall provisions for each subarea are the basis for the municipality"s granting of area allotments and building permits.
The aim is to maintain Attu’s current service level and range of housing. All further development is to take place within the existing settlement zone. Given the settlement’s size, initiatives should be launched to develop business, especially within fishing, sealing, whaling and possibly tourism, and these should be included in the town plan. Housing conditions, common facilities and waste management are to be improved in order to avoid migration, and redevelopment is also necessary.
On 1 January 2017, Attu numbered 202 inhabitants. Previously, the settlement was one of the largest in Greenland, but the population has increased significantly for a longer period of time. From 1980 to now, the population has gone down by 34 per cent (349 inhabitants in 1980).
Housing in Attu mainly consists of detached single-family houses. Since no significant increase in population is expected, the planning period primarily calls for replacement buildings in connection with redevelopment – e.g. in the shape of family houses and possibly more senior-friendly homes. The settlement holds available space for some 15 houses, which covers the need during the planning period.
The settlement fishermen sell their fish and lumpsuckers to the Royal Greenland fish factory in Kangaatsiaq, which operates a branch in Attu (B-70). Sealing and bird hunting also take place. In addition to fishing, sealing and whaling, most of the jobs in the settlements relate to municipal activities – e.g., the school – and service trades.
Attu features a small natural harbour with a jetty, fishing bridge, pontoon bridge and slip. It is navigable from February/March to December, because the settlement is located so close to open sea.
The unemployment rate in the four settlements in Kangaatsiaq district as a whole (18,2%) is slightly larger than Kangaatsiaq (17.1%), and almost twice as large as the other districts in the municipality (8.2-10.9%). It is thus also far higher than both the municipal average (10.7%) and the national average (9.1%).
The town plan includes no available space for industry.
Attu features a helistop, which is operated by Air Greenland during the winter, connecting the settlement to Aasiaat and Kangaatsiaq. In the summer and autumn, from May to October, Diskoline sails passengers and goods to and from Aasiaat and Kangaatsiaq. The port is navigable from May to December. From January to April, the port is navigable depending on ice conditions. The schooner quay is used for goods, passengers and trading. Naalakkersuisut has designated a port authority area around quay.
The settlement’s system of roads and paths is limited, consisting of small gravel paths or wheel tracks.
Attu has a power plant and an all-year water pipeline. However, the supply does not cover the need since, e.g., the fish factory is not connected to the pipeline. The settlement offers no central district heating. Day-time refuse and night soil are taken to the dump, where chemical waste and metal are also deposited. The settlement has no sewerage facilities and several houses discharge wastewater directly onto the mountain. The settlement also includes a non-functional/incomplete incineration plant.
Telecommunications is handled by TELE Greenland.
Centre functions and public service are primarily located centrally in the settlement towards the port. The range of services includes a small supermarket, a municipal office (B-493), a nursing station (B-416) and a service house (B-776). The eastern part of the settlement features a newer church which was inaugurated in 1974. There is a kindergarten with room for 12 (B-933).
The school has nine grades and has approx. 50 pupils.
Attu’s village hall (B-427) is in need of a complete overhaul. The soccer field is located north of the school, and the school buildings are also used for social and recreational activities. No buildings or areas in the settlement have preservation value or are listed.